February 16, 2021

Forgive Us . . .

Psalm 51:1-7

Have mercy on me, O God. . . . Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

—  Psalm 51:1-2

This petition of the Lord’s Prayer has two versions. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, “Forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12), and Luke quotes him as saying, “Forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4). Either way, “debts” and “sins”—and also “trespasses”—describe how seriously we fall short before God and how much we need his grace.

The good news, thankfully, is that Jesus paid our debt of sin for us, and when we confess our sins in Jesus’ name, God forgives us.

So we might wonder, “If we have been forgiven, why does Jesus teach us to keep asking God for forgiveness?”

Well, the problem is that we still struggle with sin. Ultimately we are forgiven. But, like wayward children, we continue to make offenses each day—against God and against people.

So we must turn daily to our heavenly Father, seeking his compassion and nurturing care so that we can keep growing to become like his Son, Jesus Christ.

When we daily ask God to forgive us our sins, we are seeking to grow in honoring and serving him in the world.

Father in heaven, we are so grateful that, by your grace and mercy, Jesus has paid the debt of all our sins. Help us in our daily struggles to live more and more for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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