If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liarb and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-9)
This petition can be puzzling. Is God’s forgiveness of us based on our forgiveness of others? What happened to grace?
We know that sin is a real problem in our lives. We have sinned against God and stand in his debt.
There are two types of forgiveness. The first is judicial forgiveness where all our sins – past, present, and future – are forgiven through Jesus Christ. Such a person is no longer under the wrath of God.
The second type of forgiveness is parental forgiveness. This is the day to day forgiveness that comes as we walk with God and confess our sins to him.
Nothing can change God’s judicial forgiveness of us. However, if we fail to confess our sins before God as his children our intimacy with God is hindered.
Jesus is talking about parental forgiveness. Our relationship with God is hindered if we are not willing to forgive others. We must be willing to extend forgiveness to others as God has shown mercy to us.
If I do not forgive others then my relationship with God becomes strained and I carry out the burden of grudges and resentment.
I must accept God’s forgiveness for me, and be willing to extend forgiveness to others. This is the truth in this petition of the Lord’s Prayer.