Closing the Gap 7.9.18

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Week 27 Day 1

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Matt. 6:9-13 This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Reflect:

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  In the passage which immediately follows the Lord’s model prayer, we see this idea repeated. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matt. 6:14-15).  Does this mean that we must earn our own forgiveness by forgiving others? No, it doesn’t. Clearly the Gospel indicates that we cannot earn forgiveness, we can only receive it. In that case, then what are we to do with these passages? You see in Jesus’ prayer both an assumption and a confidence.  The assumption is that we will forgive those who sin against us. The confidence is that God will likewise forgive us. This is not about earning forgiveness; it is about the fruit of having been forgiven. Jesus ministered to a woman who was said to have “lived a sinful life.” Of course everyone sins, so the implication is that she “sinned for a living.”  This broken woman came to Jesus in repentance, weeping so profusely that her tears splashed on his feet as she washed and anointed them with perfume. The people around Jesus failed to understand what they were seeing. They believed Jesus didn’t know “what kind of woman this was.” They assumed if Jesus knew how much of a sinner she was, then he would send her away.  Jesus knew who she was and he also knew what was in the hearts of those who condemned her. He told the story of two men who both had debts that were forgiven. One debt was much larger than the other. He asked, “Which one would love more?” The answer was obvious, the one who had been forgiven more. Jesus then said to those with hard hearts, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47).  How does this story speak to this verse in the Lord’s Prayer? It shows us the heart behind the simple phrase, “Forgive our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” There is the assumption that those who have been forgiven much will have hearts to forgive. There is the confidence that those who have hearts to forgive have been and will continue to be forgiven. Close the gap on gratitude for having been forgiven much. Close the gap on readiness to continually forgive those who sin against you.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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