“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.” Matthew 6:9-13
Q 178: What is prayer?
A: Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.
The paradox/conundrum: If the cross has decisively and forever brought forgiveness of sin then why pray “forgive us our debts”?
Westminster Confession of Faith 15.4-5
As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation, so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.
Mat 12:36; Rom 5:12, 6:23; Isa 1:16, 18; 55:7; Rom 8:1.
Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins particularly.
Psa 19:13; Luke 19:8; 1 Tim 1:13, 15.
The Confession of Sin
1. A repentance that rejoices in the glory of the gospel and flees from sin.
2. It removes the inevitable obstacles that obscures our relationship with Jesus.
When we quit trying to make our dysfunction work and embrace the life giving alternative that God offers.
“There is no misery of mind or spirit to compare with estrangement from God through sin and the refusal to confess it in penitence; and there is no joy like fellowship with God through repentance, confession, and forgiveness.” John Stott, Confess Your Sins: The Way of Reconciliation
1. I acknowledge I am a sinner.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-8
2. I rest in the complete gospel. (“the gospel of done”)
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:3-5
3. I resolutely resolve to not take sin lightly.
“Such confessing and forsaking, immediate and detailed, are required of every Christian. It is a question of honesty versus hypocrisy. The uncovering of sins is painful and humiliating. It brings us to our knees in lowliness before God. But if we want to receive mercy, both forgiveness for the past and power for the future there is no other way. Let it never be said of us that we take sin lightly or presume in the mercy of God.” John Stott, Confess Your Sins
4. I diligently embrace the responsibility/calling of community with other believers.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15
“A great deal of tension in Christian congregations would be eased if we obeyed this plain command of Jesus: 'Go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.' Instead of having the courage to face a person with his fault, frankly but privately, we whisper behind his back and poison other people’s minds against him. The whole atmosphere of the church becomes foul. The best way to open the windows and let in some fresh air is to do what our Lord commanded: to go and tell him his fault privately, and otherwise to keep our lips sealed. If he listens to us, we shall have “gained” him; a real victory will have been won for Christ and his cause.” John Stott, Confess Your Sins
1. Do you agree that “it is every man’s duty to repent of his particular sins particularly?” How do we do this on a daily basis?
2. Why are believers in Jesus miserable in unconfessed and unforsaken sin?
3. How does the “gospel of done” bring refreshment and rest to Christians?