Friday, July 22, 2016

The God Who Forgives

Matthew 6:9-13

“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’ 
 NIV from

   Jesus gave his followers a pattern for prayer that includes seeking forgiveness every day. The invitation to regular repentance is not a means of renewing our salvation, but rather a maintenance plan for our fellowship with the Lord.
   The Lord's substitutionary payment for our transgressions means that we can look forward to an eternity spent in God's presence instead of getting the punishment we deserve. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, our sins are forgiven forever - the stains from our past, present, and future wrongs are wiped from our record. The tendency to sin, however, remains part of the human experience, though its influence decreases the more we're conformed to Christ's image.
   With the exception of Jesus Christ no person is perfect, so while on earth, we will all continue to deal with sin and its consequences. The Lord's admonition to seek daily forgiveness is a reminder to confess our sins and turn away from them because we are forgiven.
   God's grace is not a license to sin; instead, it's a reason to continuously pursue righteousness.  Bad attitudes, thoughtless actions, and unkind speech do not fit who we are as children of God. We're new creatures in Christ; we were bought for a price and set free to live as partakers of His grace.
   Salvation makes a way for us to enter God's presence, while regular confession and repentance keep the pathway well maintained and free of obstruction (1John 1:9). The 'sinner's prayer" need be said only once, but a saint will tap into God's forgiveness every day of his or her life. 
Stanley, Charles F. "The God Who Forgives." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living. April 2016. page 14.

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