January 1, 2017
Matthew 6:9ff. – THE BLESSING OF FORGIVENESS
By Hunter Jackson
Jesus taught believers to address God daily as our Father – and Jesus is the Mediator who hears our prayers. In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for bread and forgiveness: bread for our bodies and forgiveness for our souls.
Too often we pray more about our earthly needs than the needs of our souls. Many people today have great financial success but leave their souls in a poor state. But believers have the unique blessing of being forgiven our sins, which are heinous in God’s sight.
In Psalm 32, we see that our real blessing is forgiveness, not food. Forgiving and being forgiven are not mere formalities like paying taxes or checking in somewhere. Christians need to ADMIT our sins to God and others instead of trying to ignore them and move on. If we keep silent, we will groan inside as God convicts us – perhaps even disciplining us as a loving Father.
So if we feel ourselves under His heavy hand, we must remember that He chastises us because He loves us. Sin is a big deal, so we need to speak up and repent. 1 Peter 2:11 warns us that the passions of the flesh wage war against the soul.
We should check ourselves against the list of sinful deeds in Galatians 5:19-21. It is too easy to brush sin off, but anger, envy, etc. wage war against our souls and can keep us out of the Kingdom of God. If we can read this list in Galatians and think that it doesn’t refer to us, we need to look at 1 John 1:8&9 – we are sinners, but Christ will cleanse us. Cleansing is more than mere pardon; it is answering the call to come into the light and be conformed to the image of Jesus.