Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday, August 16th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Galatians 2; Psalm 143; Job 13-14.
Today's scripture focus is Luke 11:3-4.

Luke 11:3-4

English Standard Version (ESV)
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

Accompanying Matt Chandler sermon: Ask
Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: The Lord's Prayer
Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: Forgive Us Our Sins Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Lead Us Not Into Temptation

I find it so interesting how there can be so many different takes on the same verses.  So many different viewpoints or ways of looking at things, with different people emphasizing different aspects of what it means.

Definitely none more so than these four verses!

I love Chandler's emphasis that Jesus shows in this prayer that even our prayer life is all about Him.  We are to magnify His name in everything.  We are to desire our needs to be met just enough so that we can glorify Him today.  And we are to recognize our consistently continual need to be reconciled to our holy God.  Progressive sanctification is slow indeed.  We will continue to sin, and continue to need God's forgiveness in order for our relationship with Him to be restored. And then....

He’s acknowledging that when grace has taken root in the person’s heart, they become able to extend grace. 

And that we still need His help in order to overcome temptation.  His protection, His covering, His guidance.  It's all about Him

MacArthur continues this focus on God as well.....
When we say "Father," we acknowledge Him as source. When we say "Hallowed be Thy name," we acknowledge Him as sacred. When we say, "Thy Kingdom come," we acknowledge Him as sovereign. When we say, "Thy will be done," we acknowledge Him as superior. When we say, "Give us this day our daily bread," we acknowledge Him as supplier. When we say, "Forgive us our sins," we acknowledge Him as Savior. And finally we come to the last petition, and when we say, "Lead us not into temptation," we acknowledge Him as shelter.....

This is just instinctive praying just as out of our heart comes, "O God, I want Your name to be hallowed, I look at the world all around me and it's not, and You're...there's a terrible reproach that falls on You and the reproach that falls on You falls on me and I feel your pain and I suffer when Your name is dishonored." We know in the end that God will exalt His name, but in the process of getting to the end, we feel the pain of God's reproach, or the reproach that falls on Him and we cry out for God's name to be hallowed. We collect ourselves under the altar with those in the book of Revelation, we say, "How long, O Lord, how long, how long?" We know that God is building His Kingdom and He will build His Kingdom and it's an inexorable process that He is working out according to His perfect plan, and yet we look at the world around us and we see what appears to be a weak time in the Kingdom and we see the shallowness and the triviality and the superficiality and the marginal character of those that identify themselves as Christian and we see Christianity a hodgepodge of all kinds of things true and false and our hearts cry out, "Your Kingdom come, Your Kingdom come," and again, "Lord, can't Your Kingdom be all that You want it to be? And when will Jesus come and establish the glory of His millennial Kingdom?" And we know God will do His will and yet we look at a world where His will is flaunted and denied and rejected and scoffed and mocked. We know He's going to give us bread and yet every day, Lord, we say, "You need to provide my bread, my physical well-being, everything I have comes from You." And we know He will forgive our sins and yet it comes out of our heart that cry of repentance and a desire to be cleansed day in and day out to have our feet washed.
And it's the same here. This general reality that we live in a very volatile, very destructive, very dangerous world and we have seen the long sad tale of Christians whose lives were scandalized, who became shameful, disgraceful, lost their ministry, lost their effectiveness because they fell into some sin. And we know this is a very dangerous environment. We know that the Lord Jesus said, "Whoever the Father gives to Me will come to Me and I have lost none of them but will raise him at the last day." We know that "He who began a good work in us will finish it in the day of Christ." We know that He is able to keep us from stumbling and present us faultless before the Lord," in the end. We know that eschatologically, we know that ultimately we're going to be there, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus...nothing, nothing in heaven, nothing in earth and nothing in hell. But at the same time, in the process we don't want to be dumped, as it were, out of the category of usefulness, we don't want to bring shame on the Lord. We know God isn't going to lead us into sin, but we do know He's going to put us through trials. And let me tell you something, folks, trials put you on the edge of temptation, don't they? It's the same word in the Greek...we'll say more about that later...peirasmos, same word for temptation as trial. And we live close to the edge and in a dangerous world.
This then becomes a general prayer of humility.

There is so much more that could be said about forgiveness itself.

Driscoll describes forgiveness but also goes over what forgiveness is NOT.
Forgiveness is NOT.....
1) approving or diminishing sin
2) enabling sin
3) denying a wrongdoing
4) waiting for an apology
5) forgetting
6) ceasing to feel pain
7) a one-time event
8) neglecting justice
9) trusting
10) reconciling
Repentance takes one, forgiveness takes one, reconciliation takes two.

I've heard a lot of talk recently about whether or not we can truly forgive someone if they are unrepentant.  I'm not sure if it's semantics or whether we need some extra terms or what, but there is some truth to that.  God's love is unconditional.  His offer of forgiveness is unconditional. But His granting of forgiveness is conditional upon our confession, remorse and repentance.  We are to forgive as He forgives.  I can see that true forgiveness and the fullest embodiment of what that means can only happen when there is repentance.  But we have to have the attitude of forgiveness and be willing to extend the offer of forgiveness, anyway.  Maybe it's all semantics on that one.

I found a couple of articles that explore those thoughts.....
Forgiving Without Repentance
The Mystery of Forgiveness

Monday's scripture focus: Luke 11:5-10
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Job 15-16
Sunday's passage: Job 17-18
Monday's passage:  Job 19-20, Psalm 144, Galatians 3

1 comment:

tammi said...

It is totally possible to forgive an unrepentant person ~ it's just harder! Because it means letting go of what I'd like to hold against them for the rest of all time.