Monday, April 8, 2013

The Lord’s Prayer

The Confession, a spiritual good.--->
<---The abandonment of Jesus on the Cross


The Lord's Prayer is one of the best loved and most spoken prayers on the planet. At easter sunday 2007, it is thought that over 2 billion people worldwide recited this prayer. It is used in church services, schools, in small groups and in many individual private times with God.
There are numerous different versions of the prayer. The traditional Lords Prayer is based on the Authorised Version of the scriptures in 1611. Other versions in common use are from the New English Version (adopted by the Church of England in 1977), and the Catholic version of the "Our Father" (in latin ).
The Lord's prayer differs in length - the Catholic Church omits the doxology at the end ("For thine is the kingdom, the power, etc). All these popular versions base the text on Matthew 6:9-11, rather than as it appears in Luke 11:2-4.

It is possible for us to learn the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer without understanding or even considering their meaning. More than great literature, each statement in God’s Word is rich with meaning.
The Lord’s Prayer is no exception. Each segment–each phrase–is important in how we see God and increases our understanding of Him.
Many people misunderstand the Lord’s Prayer to be a prayer we are supposed to recite word for word. Some people treat the Lord’s Prayer as a magic formula, as if the words themselves have some specific power or influence with God.
"What is the Lord's prayer and how should we pray it?"

The context for the prayer is the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus discussing how we should pray. We are not to pray to impress God or others, or to think that we might be able to manipulate Him in order to get what we want.(Matthew 6:5-7, The Message) Rather, we are to come simply, as a child would to his father, and honestly, being real about our failures and need of God.

Some christians see the prayer as a model for how we should pray, rather than a definitive set of words that we should recite. This view is especially common in modern day evangelical and charismatic churches, where there is an emphasis on praying spontaneously from the heart. However, in other church traditions, such as the anglican and orthodox church, daily ritual in prayer is seen to be important in keeping close to God. There is also seen to be benefit from praying the same words together, as this helps unity of heart in worship.

The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer the Lord Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4,
says, “This, then, is how you should pray.
The prayer as it occurs in Matthew 6:9–13

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

(For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.)
Amen.”

The prayer as it occurs in Luke 11:2–4

Father,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
.
.
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.

Verses 11: 2-4. This passage contains the Lord's prayer, a composition unequalled for comprehensiveness and for beauty. It is supposed that some of these petitions were taken from those in common use among the Jews. Indeed, some of them are still to be found in Jewish writings, but they did not exist in this beautiful combination.
This prayer is given as a model. It is designed to express the manner in which we are to pray, evidently not the precise words or petitions which we are to use. The substance of the prayer is recorded by Lk 11:2-4.
It, however, varies from the form given in Matthew, showing that he intended not to prescribe this as a form of prayer to be used always, but to express the substance of our petitions, to specify to his disciples what petitions it would be proper to present to God.

That he did not intend to prescribe this as a form to be invariably used is farther evident from the fact, that there is no proof that either he or his disciples ever used exactly this form of prayer, but clear evidence that they prayed often in other language. See Mt 26:39-42,44, Lk 22:42, Jn 17:1-26, Acts 1:24.

PREFACE

God is far more interested in our hearts when we pray than He is in our words. In prayer, we are to pour out our hearts to God (Philippians 4:6-7), not simply recite memorized words to God.
The Lord’s Prayer should be understood as an example, a pattern, of how to pray. It gives us the “ingredients” that should go into prayer. Here is how it breaks down.

“Our Father who art in heaven” is teaching us whom to address our prayers to the Father.

“Hallowed be thy name” is telling us to worship God, and to praise Him for who He is.

The phrase “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder to us that we are to pray for God’s plan in our lives and the world, not our own plan.

We are to pray for God’s will to be done, not for our desires. We are encouraged to ask God for the things we need in “give us this day our daily bread.”

“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” reminds us to confess our sins to God and to turn from them, and also to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” is a plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil.

So, the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and repeat it without any reason. We must not repeat it as a parrot, we have to pray it thinking in what it is saying. We are speaking to God, asking for his help, being humble above all in asking for. This is only an example of how we should be praying.

Is there anything wrong with memorizing the Lord’s Prayer?

Of course not!

Is there anything wrong with praying the Lord’s Prayer back to God?

Not if your heart is in it and you truly mean the words you say. Remember, in prayer, God is far more interested in our communicating with Him and speaking from our hearts than He is in the specific words we use.
Philippians 4:6-7 declares, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity also commonly known as Our Father and in the Latin tongue as the Pater Noster. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew[6:9–13] as part of the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke,[11:1–4] which records Jesus being approached by "one of his disciples" with a request to teach them "to pray as John taught his disciples."

The prayer concludes with "deliver us from evil" in Matthew, and with "lead us not into temptation" in Luke. The first three of the seven petitions address God; the second four are prayers related to our needs and concerns. The liturgical form is Matthean. Some Christians, particularly Protestants, conclude the prayer with a doxology, an addendum appearing in some manuscripts of Matthew.

ANALYSIS OF THE LORD´S PRAYER

The Lord's Prayer line-by-line. Introduction.

Jesus took time to teach us how we should pray. He cautioned us against “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7), told us to avoid praying to impress others (see Matthew 6:5-6), and gave an outline to follow.
Before we look at the individual statements that comprise this outline–or the Lord’s Prayer–let’s take a moment and read it in its entirety.

The Lord's prayer has been broken down into separate sentences and then analysed by the writings of famous biblical theologians and scholars. The section begins with introductory comments and summaries of the prayer, followed by an exploration of the phrase "Our Father, which art in heaven".

This is followed by the seven petitions that we find in the Lord's prayer. The first three are addressed to God and are about His character ("Hallowed be thy name") and concerns ("Thy Kingdom Come", "Thy will be done"). The next four are about man, his physical needs ("Give us this day"), relational needs ("forgive us" etc) and mental and spiritual needs ("lead us not into temptation" and "deliver us from evil").

The prayer concludes with a doxology (omitted in the catholic tradition), its three-fold aspect ("Yours is the kingdom", "power and the glory") mirroring the nature of the Trinity. Finally, we have the declaration "Forever and ever. Amen".
It is considers the word "Amen" as a useful tying together of all the petitions and requests that have gone before.

Christ had condemned to the Jews the manner that they prayed, he directs to do it better; for his are reproofs of instruction. Because we know not what to pray for as we ought, he here helps our infirmities, by putting words into our mouths; after this manner therefore pray ye, Mt 6:9. So many were the corruptions that had crept into this duty of prayer among the Jews, that Christ saw it needful to give a new directory for prayer, to show his disciples what must ordinarily be the matter and method of their prayer, which he gives in words that may very well be used as a form; as the summary or contents of the several particulars of our prayers.

Not that we are tied up to the use of this form only, or of this always, as if this were necessary to the consecrating of our other prayers; we are here bid to pray after this manner, with these words, or to this effect. That in Luke differs from this; we do not find it used by the apostles; we are not here taught to pray in the name of Christ, as we are afterward; we are here taught to pray that the kingdom might come which did come when the Spirit was poured out: yet, without doubt, it is very good to use it as a form, and it is a pledge of the communion of saints, it having been used by the church in all ages, at least from the third century.

It is our Lord's prayer, it is of his composing, of his appointing; it is very compendious, yet very comprehensive, in compassion to our infirmities in praying. The matter is choice and necessary, the method instructive, and the expression very concise. It has much in a little, and it is requisite that we acquaint ourselves with the sense and meaning of it, for it is used acceptably no further than it is used with understanding and without vain repetition.

Many times we do not have sufficiently consider the value of this prayer; the respect and attention which it requires; the preference to be given to it; its fulness and perfection: the frequent use we should make of it; and the spirit which we should bring with it. "Lord, teach us how to pray!" is a prayer necessary to prayer; for unless we are divinely instructed in the manner, and influenced by the spirit of true devotion, even the prayer taught us by Jesus Christ may be repeated without profit to our souls.

"OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN"

Do I understand what I am praying when I repeat the Lord’s Prayer?

How does that statement make me feel?

What emotions are evoked when I relate to God as Father?

This phrase explores the extraordinary revelation that God is "Our Father", and what this shows us about prayer. There is both a vertical and horizontal relationship to this prayer. Vertically - we are to understand God as our loving parent, and horizontally - God is "our" Father - not just "my" Father, and so it is that this prayer connects us with other believers across the world and through history.

In this Scripture are two things observable: the introduction to the prayer, and the prayer itself.
Sadly, in our society today, many fathers do not fulfill the role God intended. Many people grow up without a father, with one who was distant, or abusive. Pain, shame, rejection, and fear can fill our hearts and minds if we were raised in a home where the father was unkind.

It is critical that we understand that God is not like any earthly father. Regardless of our natural father’s good qualities, no man compares with God–our Father. If you are a parent, consider for a moment the kind of parent you desire to be. God is better than what you can even imagine!

Although it seems that we are the ones who come to God, it was in truth His idea. He made all the arrangements for us to be in close, intimate relationship with Him. With birth into the Kingdom of God, we enter into a special relationship with God. It is a privilege to be His child. Many benefits are inherent with this amazing kinship.

“HALLOWED BE THY NAME”

According to the Living Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, “hallow” means: to consecrate; to honor as sacred.
Isaiah told of a vision. In it, he saw God, surrounded by celestial beings who cried, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord” (Isaiah 6:3).
It is important that we understand that God is holy, and everything about Him is holy. “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

This phrase as a petition that people may look upon God's name (which is his word, his presence) as holy, as something that inspires awe and reverence, and that they may not trivialize it by making God a tool for their purposes, to put others down or make themselves feel safe.
It is sum up the meaning of the phrase "Hallowed be thy name": We must understand what it is said when we're talking about God, this is serious, this is the most wonderful and frightening reality that we could imagine, more wonderful and frightening than we can imagine."

There is an important balance that is created when we grasp that God is both our Father and He is a holy God. He is loving, yet fair and just. Knowing these basic truths about God gives us assurance as we continue praying the Lord’s Prayer.

“THY KINGDOM COME”

How do we pray that God’s kingdom come on earth?

What impact is this prayer going to have on my life?

A soul truly devoted to God, joins heartily in this petition, adveniat regnum tuum, ‘thy kingdom come.’ In these words it is implied that God is a king, for he who has a kingdom, can be no less than a king. ‘God is the King of all the earth.’ Psa 47: 7.

He is a King upon his throne. ‘God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.’ Psa 47: 8. He has a regal title, high and mighty. ‘Thus saith the high and lofty One.’ Isa 57: 15.
He has the ensigns of royalty. He has his sword. ‘If I whet my glittering sword.’ Deut 32: 41.
He has his sceptre. ‘A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.’ Heb 1: 8.

He has his crown royal. "On his head were many crowns." Rev 19: 12.
He has his jura regalia, his kingly prerogatives. He has power to make laws, to seal pardons, which are the flowers and jewels belonging to his crown. Thus the Lord is King.

Further, he is a great King. "A great King above all gods." Psa 95: 3. He is great in and of himself; and not like other kings, who are made great by their subjects.
That he is so great a King appears by the immensity of his being.
"Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." Jer 23: 24.

His centre is everywhere; he is nowhere included, yet nowhere excluded, he is so immensely great, that "the heaven of heavens cannot contain him". 1 Kings 8: 27. His greatness appears by the effects of his power. He "made heaven and earth," and can unmake it. Psa 124: 8.

With a breath he can crumble us to dust; with a word he can unpin the world, and break the axle-tree of it in pieces. "He pours contempt upon princes." Job 12: 21.
"He shall cut off the spirit of princes." Psa 76: 12.
He is Lord paramount, who does whatever he will. Psa 115: 3. He weighs "the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance." Psa 40: 12.

God is a glorious King. "Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory." Psa 24: 10.
He has internal glory. ‘The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty.’ Psa 93: 1.
Other kings have royal and sumptuous apparel to make them appear glorious to beholders, but all their magnificence is borrowed; God is clothed with his own majesty; his own glorious essence is instead of royal robes, and "he has girded himself with strength."

Kings have their guard about them to defend their person, because they are not able to defend themselves; but God needs no guard or assistance from others. "He has girded himself with strength." His own power is his lifeguard.
"Who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?’ Psa 89: 6.

He has a pre-eminence above all other kings for majesty. ‘He has on his vesture a name written, Rex Regum, KING OF KINGS.’ Rev 19: 16. He has the highest throne, the richest crown, the largest dominions, and the longest possession. "The Lord sitteth King for ever." Psa 29: 10.

Though he has many heirs, yet no successors. He sets up his throne where no other king does; he rules the will and affections; his power binds the conscience. Angels serve him, all the kings of the earth hold their crowns and diadems by immediate tenure from this great King.

"By me kings reign," Prov 8: 15. To this Lord Jehovah all kings must give account, and from his tribunal there is no appeal.

This simple phrase is actually a submission of our will to God’s.
Because of His authority, power, greatness, we must pray what for His kingdom come to our lifes and reigns on earth. But since He is more than sovereign Lord, He is also still our Father.
He is safe; we can willingly submit to His will. Our future, desires, needs, and life are safe with Him. Pray ye that God’s will be done in:

· Our life (friends, neighbours, partner, coworker)
· Our family (spouse, children, other family members
) · Our church (priest, nuns, clergy, Pope, bishop)
· Government (our country, city, state, and national/judicial, legislative, and executive)

THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

We come next to the third petition, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
This petition consists of two parts: the matter, "Doing God’s will;" and the manner, "As it is in heaven."

What is meant by the will of God?

There is a twofold will. (1) Voluntas decreti, God’s secret will, or ‘the will of his decree’. We pray not that God’s secret will may be done by us. This secret will cannot be known, it is locked up in God’s own breast, and neither man nor angel has a key to open it.

(2) Voluntas revelata, God’s ‘revealed will.’ This will is written in the book of Scripture, which is a declaration of God’s will, and discovers what he would have us do in order to our salvation.

What do we pray for in these words, "Thy will be done?"
We pray for two things; 1: For active obedience; that we may do God’s will actively in what he commands.
2. For passive obedience; that we may submit to God’s will patiently in what he inflicts.

We pray that we may do God’s will actively, subscribe to all his commands, believe in Jesus, which is the cardinal grace, and lead holy lives.
So Augustine, upon this petition: Nobis a Deo precamur obedientiam; we pray that we may actively obey God’s will. This is the sum of all religion, the two tables epitomised, the doing God’s will. "Thy will be done." We must know his will before we can do it; knowledge is the eye which must direct the foot of obedience.
At Athens there was an altar set up, "To the unknown God." Acts 17: 23. It is as bad to offer the blind to God as the dead. Knowledge is the pillar of fire to give light to practice; but though knowledge is requisite, yet the knowledge of God’s will is not enough without doing it.

If one had a system of divinity in his head; if he had "all knowledge," yet, if obedience were wanting, his knowledge were lame, and would not carry him to heaven. 1 Cor 13: 2. Knowing God’s will may make a man admired, but it is doing it that makes him blessed. Knowing God’s will without doing it, will not crown us with happiness.

The bare knowledge of God’s will is inefficacious, it does not better the heart. Knowledge alone is like a winter-sun, which has no heat or influence; it does not warm the affections, or purify the conscience. Judas was a great luminary, he knew God’s will, but he was a traitor.

[2] Knowing without doing God’s will, will make the case worse. It will heat hell the hotter. ‘That servant which knew his Lord’s will,’ and did it not, ’shall be beaten with many stripes.’ Luke 12: 47. Many a man’s knowledge is a torch to light him to hell.

Thou who hast knowledge of God’s will but does not do it, wherein does thou excel a hypocrite? Nay, wherein does thou excel the devil, who transforms himself into an angel of light? It is improper to call such Christians, who are knowers of God’s will but not doers of it.
It is improper to call him a tradesman who never wrought in his trade; so to call him a Christian, who never wrought in the trade of religion. Let us not rest till knowing God’s will. Let it not be said of us, as Plutarch speaks of the Grecians, "They knew what was just, but did it not." Let us set upon the doing God’s will.
Let us repeat inside us "Lord Thy will be done."

“GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD”

The natural man seeks his own secular interest before God’s glory. He is ‘of the earth, earthly.’ John 3: 31. Let him have peace and trading, let the rock pour out rivers of oil, and let God’s glory go which way it will, he minds it not.
A worm cannot fly and sing as a lark; so a natural man, whose heart creeps upon the earth, cannot admire God, or advance his glory, as a man elevated by grace does.

The second thing in the petition is, the matter of it. "Give us this day our daily bread." The sum of this petition is, that God would give us such a competency in outward things as he sees most excellent for us.

It is much like that prayer of Augur, "Feed me with food convenient for me;"
give me a viaticum, a bait by the way, enough to bear my charges till I come to heaven, and it suffices. Prov 30: 8. Let me explain the words, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’

The good things of this life are the gifts of God; he is the donor of all our blessings. ‘Give us.’ Not faith only, but food is the gift of God; not daily grace only is from God, but ‘daily bread;’ every good thing comes from God.

"Every good gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." James 1: 17. Wisdom is the gift of God.
‘His God does instruct him to discretion.’ Isa 28: 26. Riches are the gift of God. ‘I will give thee riches.’ 2 Chron 1: 12. Peace is the gift of God. ‘He maketh peace in thy borders.’ Psa 147: 14.
Health, which is the cream of life, is the gift of God. ‘I will restore health unto thee.’ Jer 30: 17. Rain is the gift of God. ‘Who giveth rain upon the earth.’ Job 5: 10.
All comes from God; he makes the corn to grow, and the herbs to flourish.

See our own poverty and indigence. We all live upon alms and upon free gifts — ‘Give us this day.’ All we have is from the hand of God’s royal bounty; we have nothing but what he gives us out of his storehouse; we cannot have one bit of bread but from God.
The devil persuaded our first parents, that by disobeying God, they should ‘be as gods;’ but we may now see what goodly gods we are, that we have not a bit of bread to put in our mouths unless God give it us. Gen 3: 5. That is a humbling consideration.

Is all a gift? Then we are to seek every mercy from God by prayer. ‘Give us this day.’ The tree of mercy will not drop its fruit unless shaken by the hand of prayer. Whatever we have, if it do not come in the way of prayer, it does not come in the way of love; it is given, as Israel’s quails, in anger.

If everything be a gift, we do not deserve it, we are not fit for this alms. And must we go to God for every mercy? How wicked are they, who, instead of going to God for food when they want, go to the devil, and make a compact with him; and if he will help them to a livelihood, they will give him their souls? Better starve than go to the devil for provender.

I wish there were none in our age guilty of this, who, when they are in want, use indirect means for a livelihood; they consult with witches, who are the devil’s oracles, whose end will be fearful, as that of Saul was, whom the Lord is said to have killed, because he asked counsel at a familiar spirit.

God gives all, our eye-sight, our food, our clothing, let us sacrifice a moment of our life for him; let not be a loser by his mercies. Praise is a more illustrious part of God’s worship.
Our wants may send us to prayer, nature may make us beg daily bread; but it shows a heart full of ingenuity and grace to be rendering praises to God.

What is meant by bread?

Bread here, by a synecdoche, species pro genere [the particular for the whole class], is put for all the temporal blessings of this life, food, fuel, clothing, &c. Quicquid nobis condicut ad bene esse [Whatever serves for our well-being]. Augustine. Whatever may serve for necessity or sober delight.

Learn to be contented with the allowance God gives. If we have bread and a competence of outward things, let us rest satisfied. We pray but for bread, ‘Give us our daily bread;’ we do not pray for superfluities, nor for quails or venison, but for bread which may support life. Eat everyday a plain food plate.

In petition we act like men, in praise we act like angels.
God sows seeds of mercy in those that love him and trust in him.
Let thankfulness to God be the crop of our life.

AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US

There are two things we must remark: that in this prayer there are two petitions for the soul, "Forgive us our trespasses, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Observe hence, that we are to be more careful for our souls than for our bodies, more careful for grace than for daily bread; and more desirous to have our souls saved than our bodies fed.
In the law, the weight of the sanctuary was twice as big as the common weight, to typify that spiritual things must be of far greater weight with us than earthly. The excellency of the soul may challenge our chief care about it.

The soul is an immaterial substance; it is a heavenly spark, lighted by the breath of God. It is the more refined and spiritual part of man; it is of an angelic nature; it has some faint resemblance to God.
The body is the more humble part, it is the cabinet only, though curiously wrought, but the soul is the jewel; it is near akin to angels; it is "capax beatitudinis", capable of communion with God in glory.

It is immortal; it never expires. It can act without the body. Though the body dissolve into dust, the soul lives. Luke 12: 4. The essence of the soul is eternal; it has a beginning but no end. Surely, then, if the soul be so ennobled and dignified, more care should be taken about it than the body.
Hence, we make but one petition for the body, but two petitions for the soul.

If our sins be not pardoned, we can take but little comfort in our food. As a man that is condemned takes little comfort from the meat you bring him in prison, without a pardon; so, though we have daily bread, yet it will do us no good unless sin be forgiven.
What though we should have manna, which was called angels’ food, though the rock should pour out rivers of oil, all is nothing unless sin be done away.
When Christ had said, ‘Give us our daily bread,’ he presently added, and ‘forgive us our trespasses.’ The daily bread may satisfy the appetite, but forgiveness of sin satisfies the conscience and soul.

Let us pray that God pardon our sins. A drop of Christ’s blood, or a dram of forgiving mercy, is infinitely more valuable than all the delights of this world. The daily bread may make us live comfortably, but forgiveness of sins will make us die comfortably and will make us see the glory of God.

Here is a term given to sin, it is a trespass; the confession of the trespass, "our trespasses", a prayer, "forgive us", and a condition on which we desire forgiveness, "as we forgive those who trespasses against us."

The first thing is the term given to sin; it is a debt. That which is here called a debt is called sin.
"Forgive us our sins." Luke 11: 4. So, then, sin is a debt, and every sinner is a debtor. Sin is compared to a debt of ten thousand talents. Matt 18:24.

Why is called sin to a debt?

Because it fitly resembles it. A debt arises upon non- payment of money, or the not paying that which is one’s due. We owe to God exact obedience, and not paying what is due, we are in debt.
In case of non-payment, the debtor goes to prison; so, by our sins, we become guilty, and we are exposed to God’s curse of damnation.
Though God grants a sinner a reprieve for a short time (all our life on earth), yet it remains bound to eternal death if the debt is not forgiven, and the only one that pardons the debt is God, through the confession or the repent heart of all our sins.

Sin is the worst debt, because it is against an infinite majesty. An offence against the person of a king, it is a crimen "laesae majestatis" [the crime of high treason], it enhances and aggravates the crime.
All sin not forgiven is an infinite offence. The schoolmen says, "omne peccatum contra conscientiam est quasi deicidium", i.e., every sin strikes the Godhead of God. The sinner with his sin, not only unthrone God, but has a infinite debt with God.

Sin is the worst debt, because it carries men, in case of non-payment, to a worse prison than any upon earth, even to a fiery prison; and the sinner is laid in worse chains, chains of darkness, where he is bound under wrath of God for ever.

The second thing in this petition is confession. Let us confess our debt. Let us acknowledge that we are in arrears with God, and deserve that he should enforce the law upon us, and throw us into hell-prison.
By confession we give glory to God. "My son, give glory to the God of Israel, and make confession unto him." Josh 7: 19. Say that God would be righteous if he should distrain upon all we have. If we confess the debt, God will forgive it.
"If we confess our sins, he is just to forgive." 1 John 1: 9.
Confess the debt (sin), God crosses out from the book of life all our sins.
‘I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.’ Psa 32: 5.

Let us confess merely our sins to get our spiritual debts paid, by Christ the Surety. Say, "Lord, have patience with me, and Christ shall pay thee all. He has laid down an infinite price."
This privilege of forgiving, we have it by the gospel, which is a hopeful to relieves us. If we have nothing to pay, God will accept a surety. Always believe in Christ’s blood, cleans all your sins, and the debt is paid.

What is forgiveness of sin?

It is God’s passing by sin, wiping off the score and giving us a discharge. Micah 7: 18.
The nature of forgiveness will more clearly appear, by opening some Scripture phrases; and by laying down some propositions.

To forgive sin, is to take away iniquity. ‘Why dost thou not take away mine iniquity?’ Job 7: 21. Hebrew, lift off. It is a metaphor taken from a man that carries a heavy burden which is ready to sink him, and another comes, and lifts it off, so when the heavy burden of sin is on us, God in pardoning, lifts it off from the conscience, and lays it upon Christ.
‘He has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ Isa 53: 6.
To forgive sin, is to cover it. ‘Thou hast covered all their sin.’ Psa 85: 2.
This was typified by,the mercy-seat covering the ark, to show God’s covering of sin through Christ. God does not cover sin in the Antinomian sense, so as he sees it not, but he so covers it, that he will not impute it.

To forgive sin, is to blot it out. ‘I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.’ Isa 43: 25. The Hebrew word, to blot out, alludes to a creditor who, when his debtor has paid him, blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance; so when God forgives sin, he blots out the debt, he draws the red lines of Christ’s blood over it, and so crosses the debt-book.

To forgive sin is for God to scatter our sins as a cloud. ‘I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions.’
Isa 44: 22. Sin is the cloud, an interposing cloud, which disperses, that the light of is countenance may break forth. To forgive sin, is for God to cast our sins into the depths of the sea, which implies burying them out of sight, that they shall not rise up in judgement against us. ‘Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.’ Micah 7: 19. God will throw them in, not as cork that rises again, but as lead that sinks to the bottom.

The nature of forgiveness will further appear by laying down some propositions respecting it.
Every sin deserves death, and therefore needs forgiveness. The Papes distinguishes between mortal sins and venial sins. Some are "ex surreptione" [surreptitious], they creep unawares into the mind, as vain thoughts, sudden motions of anger and revenge, which Bellarmine says, are in their own nature venial.

It is true that the greatest sins are in one sense venial, that is, God is able to forgive them; but the least sin is not in its own nature venial, but deserves damnation. We read of the lusts of the flesh, and the works of the flesh. Rom 13: 14; Gal 5: 19.
The lusts of the flesh are sinful, as well as the works of the flesh. That which is a transgression of the law merits damnation; but the first stirrings of corruption are a breach of the royal law, and therefore merit damnation. Rom 7: 7, Prov 24: 9. So that the least sin is mortal, and needs forgiveness.

Forgiveness of sin is purely an act of God’s free grace. There are some acts of God which declare his power, as making and governing the world; others that declare his justice, as punishing the guilty; others that declare his free-grace, as pardoning sinners. ‘I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake.’ Isa 43: 25. He forgives as when a creditor freely forgives a debtor. ‘I obtained mercy.’ 1 Tim 1: 16.

I was all over besprinkled with mercy. When God pardonsa sin, he does not pay a debt, but gives a legacy. Forgiveness is spun out of the bowels of God’s mercy; there is nothing we can do that can deserve it; not our prayers, or tears, or good deeds can purchase pardon.

When Simon Magus would have bought the gift of the Holy Ghost with money, ‘Thy money,’ said Peter, ‘perish with thee.’ Acts 8: 20. So if men think they can buy pardon of sin with their duties and alms, let their money perish with them. Forgiveness is an act of God’s free When Simon Magus would have bought the gift of the Holy Ghost with money, ‘Thy money,’ said Peter, ‘perish with thee.’ Acts 8: 20. So if men think they can buy pardon of sin with their duties and alms, let their money perish with them. Forgiveness is an act of God’s free grace, in which he displays the banner of love.

This will raise trophies of God’s glory, and cause the saints’ triumph in heaven, that when there was no worthiness in them, when they lay in their blood, God took pity on them, and held forth the golden sceptre of love in forgiving. Forgiveness is a golden thread spun out of the bowels of free-grace from infinite love of God.

Forgiveness is through the blood of Christ. Free grace is the inward moving cause. Christ’s blood is the outward cause of meriting pardon. ‘In whom we have redemption through his blood.’ Eph 1: 7.
All pardons are sealed in Christ’s blood. The guilt of sin was infinite, and nothing but that blood which was of infinite value could procure forgiveness.

In forgiveness of sin, God remits the guilt and penalty. "Remissa culpa, remittitur poena" [On remission of guilt, the punishment is also remitted].
Guilt is an obligation to punishment, clamors for justice.
God in forgiving indulges the sinner as to the penalty. He seems to say to him, "Though thou art fallen into the hands of my justice, and deserves to die, yet I will take off the penalty; whatever is charged upon thee shall be discharged." When God pardons a soul, he will not reckon with him in a purely vindictive way; he stops the execution of justice.

By virtue of this pardon, God will no more call sin to remembrance. "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Heb 8: 12. He will pass an act of oblivion, and He will not remember any more forgiven sins. When you fear that God will call your sins again to remembrance after pardon, look into this act of indemnity, "Their iniquities will I remember no more."

God is said therefore to "I blot all out your sins." A man does not say is very glad when the debt that is owed him, was paid him. God much more: when God pardons a man, his displeasure ceases for ever. "Mine anger is turned away." Hos 14: 4.

But is God angry with his pardoned ones?

Though a child of God, after pardon, may incur his fatherly displeasure yet his judicial wrath is removed. Though he may lay on the rod, yet he has taken away the curse. Correction is good, the saints took advantages of it. ‘My lovingkindness will I not take from him.’ Psa 89: 33.

Sin is not forgiven till it be repented of. Therefore they are put together: ‘Repentance and remission.’ Luke 24: 47. "Domine, da poenitentiam, et postea indulgentiam" [Grant repentance, Lord, and afterwards pardon]. Fulgentius. In repentance there are three main ingredients, all which must be before forgiveness. They are contrition, confession, and conversion.

Contrition, or brokenness of heart. ‘They shall be like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.’ Ezek 7: 16.
This contrition or rending of the heart, is expressed sometimes by smiting on the breast; Luke 18: 13; sometimes by plucking off the hair; Ezra 9: 3; and sometimes by watering the couch; Psa 6: 6.
But all humiliation is not contrition; some have only pretended sorrow for sin, and so have missed the forgiveness; as Ahab that is humbled himself, whose garments were rent, but not his heart, was far away from God.

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

This petition consists of two parts. First, an act of imploring "Lead us not into temptation." Secondly, Petitionary, "But deliver us from evil."

"Lead us not into temptation." Does God lead into temptation? God tempts no man to sin. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." James 1: 13.
He permits sin, but does not promote it. He who is an encourager of holiness cannot be a pattern of sin. God does not tempt to that to which he has an antipathy.

What king will tempt his subjects to break laws which he himself has established?

But is it not said, God tempted Abraham? Gen 22: 1.
Tempting there was no more than trying. He tried Abraham’s faith, as a goldsmith tries gold in the fire; but there is a great deal of difference between trying his people’s grace and exciting their corruption; he tries their grace, but does not excite their corruption.
Man’s sin cannot be justly fathered on God. God tempts no man.

What then is the meaning of "Lead us not into temptation"?

The meaning is, that God would not permit us to be overcome by temptation; God never will not abandon us to the power of temptation, because it will finish being sin.

God allows man to be tempted, but man must overcome the temptation, always resorting to the help of God.
Man without God's help, can not overcome the temptation, even the most small temptation.
It is God who gives man the power to overcome all kind of temptations.

Whence do temptations come?

"Ab intra" [From within], from ourselves. The heart is "fomes peccati" [the kindling of sin], the breeder of all evil. Our own hearts are the greatest tempters: "quisque sibi Satan est" [everyone is Satan to himself]. "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust." The heart is a perfect decoy. James 1: 14.

Temptations come "ab extra" [from without], from Satan. He is called the Tempter. Matt 4: 3. He lies in ambush to do us mischief: "stat in procinctu diabolus" [the devil stands girded for battle], the devil lays on us of temptation to blow up the fort of our grace. He is not yet fully cast into prison of hell, but is like a prisoner under bail.

The world is his diocese, where he finds place for making his maleficent plan, where he is sure to find men who follows him, unfortunately, some are doing it.
He lives inside the heart of man, where man find reading, praying, or meditating, ask for God´s helping. We find him within, but how he came there we know not; we are sure of his company, though uncertain how we came by it. A saint’s whole life, says Augustine, "is temptation till his death"
. Elias, who had power to shut heaven through prayer, could not shut his heart from temptation of satan.

This is a great molestation to a child of God; as it is a hard trouble to a men to have her chastity daily to saved.
The more we are feared to be tempted from evil, the more we are hindered from being good. We are in great danger everyday of our life of losing to the "Prince of the air;"(Jesus) and we need often pray, unceasingly everyday, make a humble pledge of praying to God to overcome triumphant to satan, "Lead us not into temptation." That we may see in what danger we are from Satan’s temptations:

Consider: His malice in tempting. This hellish serpent is swelled with the poison of malice. Satan envies man’s happiness. He sees to man as a handful of dirty dust so near to God, and himself, was once a glorious angel, full of brillant light and with much power over all angels, but was cast out of the heavenly paradise, he pursues to the mankind and make them feel all his hatred, wickedness, hatred to God, and finally the lost of man´s soul.

The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath.’ Rev 12: 12. If there be anything this infernal spirit can delight in, it is to ruin souls, and to bring them into the same condemnation with himself. This malice of Satan in tempting must needs be great, if we consider three things:

That Satan, though full of torment, should tempt others. One would think that he would scarcely have a thought but of his own misery; and yet such is his rage and malice that, while God is punishing him, he is tempting others. (2) His malice is great, because he will tempt where he knows he cannot prevail; he will put forth his sting, though he cannot hurt. He tempted Christ. "If thou be the Son of God." Matt 4: 3. But he could not with Jesus, because He is the Lord of the Heaven.

He knew well enough Christ was God as well as man, the same time, yet he would tempt him. Such was his malice against Jesus that he would put an affront on him, though he knew he should be conquered by Jesus.
He tempts the elect of Jesus to blasphemy; he knows he cannot prevail against them; and yet such is his malice, that though he cannot storm the thought of their hearts, he plants the doubt in their heart against Jesus.

To conclude: let us often make this prayer always at any time, "Lead us not into temptation."
If Satan woo us by a temptation, let us not give consent. In case a Christian has through weakness or cheating, yielded to temptation, let him not "cast away his anchor;" but take heed of despair, which is worse than the fall itself.

Christian, be alert and have present of repentance before God. Repentance gives the soul a relief. Christ loved Peter after his denial of him, and sent the first news of his resurrection to him — "Go tell the disciples and Peter."
It is an error to think that one act of sin can destroy the habit of grace.
It is a wrong to God’s mercy and to a Christian’s comfort, to make the despairing conclusion, that after one has fallen by temptation, his estate is irrecoverable.
Therefore, Christian, if thou hast fallen with Peter, repent with Peter, and God will be ready to seal thy pardon.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

There is more in this petition than is expressed. The thing expressed is, that we may be kept from evil: the thing further intended is, that we may make progress in piety.
‘Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts;’ there is being delivered from evil; ‘we should live soberly, righteously, and godly;’ there is progress in piety. Titus 2: 12.

In general, when we pray, ‘Deliver us from evil,’ we pray to be delivered from the evil of sin. Not that we pray to be delivered immediately from the presence and in being of sin, for that cannot be in this life, we cannot shake off this viper, but we pray that God would deliver us more and more from the power and practice, from the scandalous acts of sin which cast a reflection upon the gospel.

Sin is the deadly evil we pray against. With what pencil shall I be able to draw the deformed face of sin? The devil would baptise sin with the name of virtue. It is easy to lay fair colours on a black face. I shall endeavour to show you what a prodigious monster sin is, and that there is great reason that we should pray, "Deliver us from evil."

Sin is the deadly evil that we pray to not fall in satan´s temptation .
With what pencil shall I be able to draw the deformed face of sin?
The devil would baptise sin with the name of virtue. It is easy to lay fair colours on a black face. It shall endeavour to show what a sin is, a prodigious monster, and that there is a great reason, wich always we should pray, "Deliver us from evil."

Sin, as the apostle says, is exceeding sinful. Rom 7: 13. It is the very spirits of mischief distilled; it is called ‘an accursed thing.’ Josh 7: 13. That sin is the most execrable evil, appears several ways:
(1) Look upon sin in its origin.
(2) Look upon sin in its nature.
(3) Look upon sin in the judgement and opinion of the godly.
(4) Look upon sin by comparison.
(5)Look upon sin in the manner of its cure.
(6) Look upon sin in its direful effects.

When you have seen all these, you will apprehend what a horrid evil sin is, and what great reason we have to pray,
O Lord "Deliver us from evil."
(1) Look upon sin in its origin.

It fetches its pedigree from hell. It is of the devil. John 8: 44. It calls the devil father. It is "serpentis venenum", as Augustine says; it is the poison which the old serpent has spit into our virgin nature.

(2) Look upon sin in its nature, and it is evil.

See what the Scripture compares it to. It has got a bad name. It is compared to the vomit of dogs (2 Pet 2: 22); to a menstruous cloth (Isa 30: 22); which, as Jerome says, was the most unclean thing under the law; it is compared to the plague (1 Kings 8: 38); and to a gangrene (2 Tim 2: 17). Persons under these diseases we should be loth to eat and drink with.

(3) Look upon sin in the judgement and opinion of the godly, and it will appear to be the most prodigious evil.

It is so great an evil that the godly will rather do anything than sin. Moses chose ‘rather to suffer with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin.’ Heb 11: 24. The primitive Christians said, "ad leonem potius quam lenonem" [to the lion rather than to the bawdy house], they chose rather to be devoured by lions without than lusts within.

Irenaeus was carried to a place where a cross was on one side and an idol on the other, and he was put to his choice either to bow to the idol or suffer on the cross, and he chose the latter. A wise man will choose rather to have a rent in his coat than in his flesh; and the godly will rather endure outward sufferings than a rent in their conscience.

So great evil is sin that the godly did not say the most minimum lie; though they were tempted to do it.

The godly testify sin to be a great evil, in that they desire to die upon no account more than this, that they may be rid of sin. They are desirous to put off the clothing of the flesh, that they may be unclothed of sin. It is their greatest grief that they are troubled with such inmates as the stirrings of pride, lust, and envy.
It was a cruel torment of Mezentius who tied a dead man to a living.

Thus a child of God has corruption joined with grace; a dead man tied to a living. So hateful is this, that a believer desires to die for no reason more than this, that death shall free him from sin. Sin brought death into the world, and death shall carry sin out of the world.

(4) Judge of sin by comparison, and it will appear to be the most deadly evil.

Compare what you will with it — afflictions, death, or hell, and still sin is worse.
First compare sin with affliction. There is more evil in a drop of sin than in a sea of affliction. Sin is the cause of affliction, and the cause is more than the effect. Sin brings all mischief: it has sickness, sword, famine, and all judgements in its womb. It rots the name, consumes the estate, and wastes the body.

As the poets feigned of Pandora’s box, that when opened it filled the world full of diseases, so when Adam broke the box of original righteousness, it caused all the penal evils in the world. Sin is the Phaeton that sets the world on fire.
It turned the angels out of heaven, and Adam out of paradise. It causes mutinies, divisions, and massacres. ‘O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet?’ Jer 47: 6.

The sword of God’s justice lies quietly in the scabbard till sin draws it out and whets it against a nation. So that sin is worse than affliction, being the cause of it: and the cause is more than the effect.

(5) Look upon sin in the manner of its cure.

It cost much to be done away; the guilt of sin could not be removed but by the blood of Christ; he who was God must die and be made a curse for us before sin could be remitted.
How horrid is sin, that no angel or archangel, nor all the powers of heaven, could procure its pardon, but the blood of God only!
If a man should commit an offence, and all the nobles should kneel before the king for him, but no pardon could be had, unless the king’s son be arraigned and suffer death for him, all would conceive it to be a horrible thing that was the cause of this.

Such is the case here, the Son of God must die to satisfy God’s justice for our sins. Oh, the agonies and sufferings of Christ! In his body: his head crowned with thorns, his face spit upon, his side pierced with the spear, his hands and feet nailed. "Totum pro vulnere corpus" [His whole body as one wound].
He suffered in his soul. "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Matt 26: 38. He drank a bitter cup, mingled with curses, which made him, though sanctified by the Spirit, supported by the Deity, and comforted by angels, sweat drops of blood, and cry out upon the cross, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me!" All this was to do away with our sin. View sin in Christ’s blood, and it will appear of a crimson colour.

(6) Look upon sin in its dismal effects, and it will appear the most horrid and prodigious evil.

"The wages of sin is death," that is, "the second death." Rom 6: 23. Rev 21: 8. Sin has shame for its companion, and death for its wages.
A wicked man knows what sin is in the pleasure of it, but does not know what sin is in the punishment of it.

Sin is "scorpio pungens" [a stinging scorpion], it draws hell at the heels of it. This hellish torment consists of two parts: "Poena damni", the punishment of loss. ‘Depart from me.’ Matt 7: 23.
It was a great trouble to Absalom that he might not see the king’s face; but to lose God’s smiles, to be banished from his presence, in whose presence is fulness of joy, how sad and tremendous! That word, ‘Depart,’ said Chrysostom, is worse than the fire.
Sure sin must be the greatest evil, which separates us from the greatest good.

"Poena senses", the punishment of sense. ‘Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.’ Matt 25: 41.
Why, sinners might plead, ‘Lord, if we must depart from thee, let us have thy blessing.’ ‘No; go, ye cursed.’ ‘If we must depart from thee, let it be into some place of ease and rest.’ ‘No; go into fire.’ ‘If we must go into fire, let it be for a little time; let the fire be quickly put out.’
‘No; go into everlasting fire.’ ‘If it be so, that we must be there, let us be with good company.’ ‘No; with the devil and his angels.’ Oh, what an evil is sin! All the torments of this life are but lubidrium et risus [mockery and ridicule], a kind of sport to hell torments.

What is a burning fever to the burning in hell! It is called, the "wrath of Almighty God." Rev 19: 15. The Almighty God inflicts the punishment, therefore it will be heavy. A child cannot strike very hard, but if a giant strike, he kills with a blow; but to have the almighty God lay on the stroke, will be intolerable.
Hell is the emphasis of misery. The body and soul, which have sinned together, shall suffer together; and those torments shall have no period put to them. They ’shall seek death, and shall not find it.’ Rev 9: 6.

"The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever." Rev 14: 11. Here the wicked thought a prayer long, a Sabbath long; but how long will it be to lie upon beds of flames for ever!
That word, ever, breaks the heart. Surely, then, sin is the most deadly and execrable evil.
Look upon it in its original, in its nature, in the judgement and estimate of the wise; look upon it comparatively, it is worse than affliction, death, and hell; look upon it in the manner of cure, and in the dismal effect, it brings eternal damnation.
Is there not, then, a great reason that we should make always this prayer asking for God´s helping, "Deliver us from evil"?

We pray that God will either prevent temporal evils or deliver us out of them.
We pray that God will prevent temporal evils; that he will be our screen, to stand between us and danger.
"Save me from them that persecute me." Psa 7: 1.
We may lawfully pray against the plots of the wicked, that they may prove abortive, that, though they have a design upon us, they may not have their desire upon us. "Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me." Psa 141: 9.

We pray that God will deliver us out of temporal evils; that he will remove his judgements from us, whether famine, sword, or pestilence. ‘Remove thy stroke away from me.’ Psa 39: 10. Yet may we pray to be delivered from temporal evils, only so far as God sees it good for us.

We may pray to be delivered from the evil of sin absolutely, but we must pray to be delivered from temporal evils conditionally, so far as God sees fit for us, and may stand with his glory.

Thanks to: Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer.


The Lord´s Prayer sung.


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