Sunday, November 15, 2009

Depends on what the definition of "as" is

We have all recited the model prayer in Matthew 6 generally referred to as "The Lord's Prayer" but there is one word that carries with it a meaning that overshadows its size. The word is "as" and more specifically, the word "as" in verse 12.
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Matt 6:9-13
(9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

(10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
(11) Give us this day our daily bread.
(12) And forgive us our debts (trespasses), as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us).
(13) 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.

Often we say these words without the depth of the phrase, "as we forgive our debtors" registering fully on our minds. Generally, we consider it to mean, forgive us our debts "like" we forgive our debtors. In other words, You forgive us our trespasses, and as you've instructed us, of course we forgive our trespassers also.

The true meaning of the phrase "as we forgive our debtors" is revealed in the next two verses and elsewhere in the bible.

Matt 6:14-15
(14) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
(15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

This forgiveness is conditional. If we forgive others, then the Father will forgive us.

Matt 18:21-35 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (23) Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. (24) And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. (25) But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. (26) The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. (27) Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. (28) But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. (29) And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. (30) And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. (31) So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. (32) Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: (33) Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? (34) And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. (35) So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

This is clearly illustrated for us in Matt 18:21-35 capped off by verse 35 -
"So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

Matt 7:1-2
(1) Judge not, that ye be not judged.
(2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The little word "as" carries much more weight than it may first appear. Our Father will forgive us our trespasses "in the same manner" and "to the extent that" we forgive others. We cannot come to the throne of God and expect His blessings without first clearing our conscience of the ill will we hold in our heart against our brother. (Matt 5:23-23)

Each and every word of the bible is God inspired and worthy of our full attention and reverence.
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2Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
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