Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Forgive us our debts!
Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV)
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
What are our debts? Not the mortgage, not the credit card, but our sins.
Isn’t it finished?
It could be easy to take this verse wrong – why on earth are we praying daily for our sins to be forgiven over again, when they were forgiven on the cross? Why do we need to come to God daily if the work is already finished?
It is not that our sins are not or were not forgiven. It is not that we need to continually bring all of our old sins before God once again, over and over. What we are doing is bringing ourselves back into perfect fellowship with God. We are bringing the sins, known and unknown, in our lives back to God, because everyone of us is still mired in sin in our nature, and we have to struggle daily to escape it. (Romans 7 is a great read on this topic!)
What we are also doing is reminding ourselves, daily, of the work of the cross.
The cross is not a nice thing! Many people seem to see the cross as something beautiful, which I guess from a certain perspective the work done on the cross is. But in reality it was an ugly, horrific price to pay for sin. Jesus died naked, publicly humiliated, bleeding and suffocating in intense pain on the cross, not because He needed to for Him, but because the love of God was so great that He suffered the cross for our sake.
Forgive us our Debts
So as we daily remember the cross, and daily bring before God our sins, don’t look on the cross as a beautiful wall ornament or necklace charm, but as a horrific price. Remember that the cross signifies the terrible suffering that our sin has caused. With that as the perspective, how much more will our motivation be to not sin!