The Model Prayer: Developing a Relationship With God

Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV)

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today 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 the evil one.

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:9-15(NIV)

In Matthew 5 and the first part of Matthew 6, Jesus has just talked to the people about sins against others: murder, adultery, divorce, promises, vengeance, loving our enemies and giving to the poor. Jesus is attempting to teach his disciples about their relationships to their ‘neighbors’.

After these instructions, the disciples ask how they are to pray. So Jesus gave them a model to use in their prayers.

In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus gives us a model for prayer.

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today 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 the evil one.Matthew 6:9-13(NIV)

First, Jesus tells us to honor God, Our Heavenly Father for who he is, what he has done, and will do. He is talking about our relationship with God. In Christ’s ministry, He taught that the Greatest Commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37(NIV))

Second, Jesus is addressing the second greatest commandment. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39(NIV))  Just as God loved us enough to forgive our sins, we must also love our neighbor enough to forgive them of their sins against us.

It should also be noted that in the model prayer, the act of forgiving our neighbor is in the past tense. It is not something that needs to happen in the future but rather something that has already taken place prior to praying. We cannot properly worship God if we have not forgiven our neighbor.

Just prior to Jesus giving the disciples the model prayer, Jesus was talking about forgiving others, which is an act of worship, he said:

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24(NIV)

Immediately after giving the model prayer, in verse 14 and 15, Jesus emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. It needs to be noted that in these verses when Jesus is talking about forgiveness, he is talking about the forgiveness of the sins (debts) between us and other people. If we want God to answer our prayer, we need to forgive others.

Jesus  goes on to say that if you don’t forgive others, God will not forgive your sin. In other words, He will not hear our prayer if we have not forgiven others.  We cannot expect God to forgive our sins if we are unable to forgive others of their sin against us. We cannot demonstrate our love for others until we can forgive others.

In the model prayer, we are asking God to forgive us just as we have already forgiven others. In other words, if we haven’t forgiven others, we are asking that God not forgive us. When we continue to live in sin, our relationship with God is weakened.

God also knows that we are going to be tempted not to forgive others. Therefore in the model prayer, Jesus says that we are to ask for God’s help in protecting us from those situations that cause sin; those situations where Satan would interfere with our relationship with God.

The model prayer was not given to everyone, it was given to the disciples and, followers of Jesus. It was given because the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Because they were followers they already had a relationship with God, the reference about forgiveness is not talking about a prayer of salvation but a prayer of a believer or person that is already a follower of Christ. In other words, this prayer is not about losing one’s salvation if they don’t forgive others. But rather it is a prayer about maintaining a closer relationship with God by forgiving others.

The Lord’s prayer takes us in a complete circle. The goal is to have a relationship with God. For us to have a relationship with God, we must (1) worship him. For us to worship God, we must first (2) forgive others. Because we have difficulty forgiving others, we must (3) trust God to keep us from sin. When he keeps us free from sin, we are free to worship him.

 

Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIV unless otherwise noted.

 

6 thoughts on “The Model Prayer: Developing a Relationship With God”

  1. The Model Prayer and Today’s Application of it
    In discussing the so called “Lord’s Prayer,” let’s begin with a quick review of hermeneutics.

    Hermeneutics

    Hermeneutics – (noun) method by which one interprets scriptural text.

    • Literal Principle – Assume that in the Bible God is talking to us in ordinary daily use.

    • Historical Principle – Find its meaning in its historical setting (in context).

    • Grammatical Principle (syntax – relationship of words) – Understand the grammatical construction of the words used.

    • Synthesis Principle – Use the scripture as its own interpreter (compare scripture with scripture). Scripture was inspired by a single author. The Holy Spirit will not contradict the Holy Spirit.

    • Practical Principle – How does it apply to me? (So What?)

    • Principle of the Holy Spirit and Illumination (I Jn 2:27) – We can discern truth from error.

    See also How to Interpret the Bible by Dick Mahew.

    These Principles of Hermeneutics are from John MacArthur at the following link.

    http://www.gty.org/Blog/B100202

    With these principles in mind, let’s begin by looking at the broader context of the Scriptures as a whole.

    One does not have to spend a lot of time in the study of the Holy Bible to realize, that God is the same throughout all of the Bible (Mal. 3:6 and Heb. 13:8).

    However, when we look at how God dealt with and deals with man, one soon realizes that this was not the same. He did not administer things the same. In a sense, we might say that God did not always use the same administration which frequently gives rise to the word “dispensation.” Several Bible scholars identify seven different ways in which God dealt with man throughout the scriptural record. These are identified as Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and the Millennial Kingdom. Not all scholars agree necessarily on the number of and names of these “dispensations.” In any case, this provides a backdrop for the following discussion.

    Many people have objections to the idea of the dispensations but almost all true believers (Christians in the biblical sense) are dispensational. That is they carry out their actions on the basis of being dispensational whether they realize it or not. How many true believers that you know today offer a wave offering, release a Judas goat at appropriate times, center their major day of worship around Saturday, celebrate the Holy feast days, use Holy anointing oil and a multitude of other such requirements, and cancel all debt obligations due them every 49th year (50th year as interpreted by some)?

    One of the most obvious differences is in the observance of Sunday as the day around which major worship focuses rather than on Saturday. This is usually done in accordance with honoring the day of Christ’s Resurrection which was Sunday (Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:1-2, and Rev. 1:10).

    So obviously, God deals with man differently today than under the Old Testament Law. Contrast Exo. 19:3-6 with Gal. 3:24, Matt. 5:17-20, and Rom. 6 and 7, for example.

    From these passages and others, we arrive at the expression, “I am not under Law. I am under Grace.”

    So with the whole of the Scripture under consideration we find that we generally make the distinction that we are not under the administration of the Law but under the administration of Grace.

    The next logical question, again within the context of the entire Scripture, is to address the issue of when did the Age of the Law end and when did the Age of Grace begin? This is, perhaps, the more difficult issue to address.

    Let’s address this in general and not specific. When did Christ fulfill the Law? It would seem like He finished the fulfillment of the Law when on the Cross he said, “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30). It would seem to this author that the Age of the Law ended at this point and the Age of Grace began. Some hold that it was the Day of Resurrection with whom this author would not wish to quarrel. Some hold that it was the Day of Pentecost. While others hold that it was a gradual transition from the Age of Law to the Age of Grace, or some other similar but different conclusion.

    Suffice it to say, the Age of the Law ended and the Age of Grace began and it seems to have hinged around the events of the Crucifixion and/or Resurrection.

    It appears that the Disciples and Jesus observe the Law by several of their actions during the time of Christ’s ministry on earth prior to the Resurrection.

    Note that it is within this context that Jesus answered the directive of the Disciples to teach them how to pray. Notice that it was a model like ‘in this manner’ (Matt. 6:9 and Luke 11:2). The concept(s) of the Age of Grace and the Church Age were not even on the horizon in their thinking and understanding. This was a mystery to them and not made known to them until made known by the Apostle Paul (Rom. 16:25-26).

    In the Model Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4), we see several things dealing with God, who He is, His attributes, etc. that are still true today. God has not changed.

    Some of the Model Prayer, however, is conditional. This leads the author to ask ‘conditional’ requirements are like Law or are they like Grace?

    Wherever the people under the Law failed to do as they were told by God to do, there was a means of attribution by which they could still be considered to have met the conditions – sacrifices, works, all kinds of things to do – things with the effect of satisfaction of the conditional requirements.

    In the passage of Matt. 6, especially vss. 12, 14-15, we find a portion of the Model Prayer that is definitely and specifically conditional. Sorry, but this author fails to see any other way that this can be read and understood. Yet, what do we do? We try to bend it all kinds of ways to make it not say what it said.

    For example, in the notes of the Lutheran Study Bible [English Standard Version. (2009). Concordia Publishing House. St. Louis, MO] [Note the author of this discussion is not particularly of a Lutheran persuasion but enjoys Martin Luther’s writings about grace (this in spite of Luther’s human shortcomings)] “He (Jesus) does not mean that forgiveness is somehow earned.” Just a minute! If Jesus did not mean it, why in the world did he say it?

    Does the reader also believe that when Jesus spoke out against adultery, including looking on another person with lust, what He meant was that you should not do this if it culminates in a pregnancy; otherwise, it is OK?

    This is even more frustrating when one believes, as did one of this author’s dear grandmothers, that the Model Prayer is a prayer of salvation. Whenever she hit dangerous time, she would have us all say the “Lord’s prayer” so that if death resulted from these circumstances, we would be granted salvation. This was much like what was done with dying soldiers during times of war.

    The Apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that our salvation is not dependent upon our works (Eph. 2:8-9). No amount of satisfaction of conditions gains our salvation. Eph. 4:32 makes this clear when it states in the past tense “hath forgiven you” (KJV). [Note Martin Luther’s claim of grace alone as his reason for the post of “Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen” (http://www.lutheran-resources.org/who_was_martin_luther.htm).]
    [Furthermore it is generally agreed that this was because of Luther’s conviction that salvation was “by grace alone.”]

    [“These words concluded Luther’s address to the representative of the papacy when he was asked to recant his writings on salvation by grace alone and the authority of Scripture alone or face excommunication, a virtual death sentence” (http://www.lutheran-resources.org/who_was_martin_luther.htm). Emphasis added.]
    Under Grace, we see here that the sequence is God forgives and then man forgives. Contrast that with the statement in the Model Prayer where man forgives and then God forgives.
    So what do we do about the Model Prayer? The answer appears to this author to be quite simple, relegate it to the Age of the Law for which it was given and don’t try to ‘talk around it’ to make it fit the Age of Grace.

    I believe that what Jesus meant, when he told the people under Law, was that if one did not forgive another, God would not forgive the one just as He stated in His remarks about the prayer. Jesus meant what he said.

    In fact, Jesus even emphasized it to the extreme in Matt. 5:23-24 when He indicated that if someone should be coming to you for forgiveness, give that person the opportunity to ask you for forgiveness by going to them so that they could do so before your leaving of your offering at the altar.

    An Age of Grace Model Prayer might be something like the following.

    “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.”
    Convict me of my sins, including those sins which involve my inappropriate treatment of another or others, so that I can appropriately confess them before You.
    “And do not lead us into temptation,
    But deliver us from the evil one.
    For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” [Matt. 6:9-13 (NKJV)].” [Also make changes from the plural (our and us) to the singular (my and me)].

    Finally, this author would suggest that this prayer be made not in the public arena but “go into your room, and when you have shut your door …” [Matt. 6:6 (NKJV)].

    1. I would like to say that the Model prayer was given to the followers in preparation for the time when Jesus would no longer be with them. It was preparation for a time of Grace and not Law.
      The forgiveness of others mentioned in the Lord’s pray is in the past tense in every translation except the KJV. Rather than a condition, the phrase is being used as a comparison to illustrate how we want to be forgiven.
      Regarding the reference to Matt. 6:6. If this is true of the model prayer, then it must apply to all prayer. However, we find many times when Jesus prayed in public. In fact, in many cases it was about forgiveness of sins.

  2. This probably needs some more proofing but I have to move on to some other things.
    RE: Par 1
    “I would like to say that the Model prayer was given to the followers in preparation for the time when Jesus would no longer be with them. It was preparation for a time of Grace and not Law.”

    In a sense, the whole Bible was given in preparation for the Age of Grace, with a passage in one place supporting a passage in another place, Jesus fortifying the claims of the Old Testament (marriage, creation, original sin, etc.)

    However, specifics were not necessarily intended for all time. Otherwise we would still need to do the specifics. Offered any sacrifices of dove, lamb or oxen lately?

    But the specifics of the preparation that you mention did not begin until after Matt. 23:37 (Luke 13:34) did they? There were some specifics clearly given for the end times but I believe that these were so identified in their specific contexts.

    Furthermore, “In ordinary daily use” (hermeneutics), it seems that we would have to conclude that in the context (see Luke’s Gospel) the disciples saw John’s disciples praying. It appears that they wanted a prayer that they could pray now just as John’s disciples prayed now. They seem not to be asking for a prayer that they can use three years later.

    RE: Par 2

    “The forgiveness of others mentioned in the Lord’s pray is in the past tense in every translation except the KJV. Rather than a condition, the phrase is being used as a comparison to illustrate how we want to be forgiven.” – I would respectfully disagree.

    Yes, the forgiveness that others had granted was in the past tense and the forgiveness that they were seeking was in the present tense. This is precisely the point that I thought I was making – the one praying has forgiven in the past and the prayer wants forgiveness from God for their sins in the present. The sequence under the Law – forgive in order to be forgiven. After the Law was fulfilled, the sequence – forgive others because God’s forgiveness has already been given.

    RE: Par 3

    “Regarding the reference to Matt. 6:6. If this is true of the model prayer, then it must apply to all prayer. However, we find many times when Jesus prayed in public. In fact, in many cases it was about forgiveness of sins.”

    The context in which the Model Prayer was given was in the context of Jesus and his discussion of public prayer and in this context one needs to consider the use of the Model Prayer. It would seem that this would be a reasonable point to consider. Dr. John McArthur claims that, based on his research, throughout the early church there is no supporting evidence that the Model Prayer was used very much in public prayer. I’ll have to research again to find where he makes this claim. Keep in mind that in the context of the Matt. Passage Jesus was talking about praying in one’s closet as contrasted with praying in public.

    “Literal Principle – Assume that in the Bible God is talking to us in ordinary daily use.”

    “’Apoluo’ is another word used in the original Greek New Testament for forgiveness or pardon. ‘Apoluo’ means ‘set free, release, pardon a prisoner…release a debtor’.” (
    http://internetbiblecollege.net/lessons/hebrew%20and%20greek%20words%20for%20forgiveness%20or%20pardon.htm). This word is used in Luke 6:37: “…Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

    Matt. 6 (TNB)
    “14. For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins” (TNB).

    Luke 11 (TNB) “1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ 2 So he said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
    “Father, may your name be honored; may your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And do not lead us into temptation”.”
    Sequence: the on praying forgives on which basis the one praying asks for forgiveness.

    Sins were not forgiven until a condition was satisfied. Literal sense – wash my car and I’ll buy your dinner. More about this later.

    Luke 5 (RSV)
    20 “And when he saw their faith he said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’ 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, ‘Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?’ 22 When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, ‘Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 “But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—‘I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home.’ 25 And immediately he rose before them, and took up that on which he lay, and went home, glorifying God.”

    Some action in the past resulted in forgiveness in the present.

    The “Lord’s Prayer”
    Luke 11 (RSV)
    “1. He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ 2. And he said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
    “Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread; 4. and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation”.”

    Forgiveness in the present asked for based on something (forgiveness) in the past.

    Matthew 6 (RSV) “9 Pray then like this: ‘Our Father who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread;12 And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; 13 And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

    So, which came first, God’s forgiveness or the forgiveness previously given to our debtors? They are asking for forgiveness from God now based on the one’s forgiveness of others in the past.
    Matthew 6 (ASV) ”9 After this manner therefore pray ye. ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

    Forgiveness is to come but debtors already forgiven.

    Matthew 6:9-15 (PHILLIPS)
    5-13 “And then, when you pray, don’t be like the play-actors. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at street-corners so that people may see them at it. Believe me, they have had all the reward they are going to get. But when you pray, go into your own room, shut your door and pray to your Father privately. Your Father who sees all private things will reward you. And when you pray don’t rattle off long prayers like the pagans who think they will be heard because they use so many words. Don’t be like them. After all, God, who is your Father, knows your needs before you ask him. Pray then like this—‘Our Heavenly Father, may your name be honoured; May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread we need, Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil’.”
    Forgiveness of fellow-man is essential
    14-15 “For if you forgive other people their failures, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you will not forgive other people, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you your failures.”

    Matthew 6:9-15
    Amplified Bible (AMP)
    9 Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.
    10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    11 Give us this day our daily bread.
    12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven ([a]left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have [b]given up resentment against) our debtors.
    13 And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
    14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [c]reckless and willful sins, [d]leaving them, letting them go, and [e]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
    15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their [f]reckless and willful sins, [g]leaving them, letting them go, and [h]giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

    Matthew 6:9-15
    New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
    9 “Pray then in this way:
    Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    10 Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    11 Give us this day our daily bread.[a]
    12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13 And do not bring us to the time of trial,[b]
    but rescue us from the evil one.[c]
    14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    Matthew 6:9-15
    New International Version (NIV)
    9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
    “‘Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    10 your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    11 Give us today our daily bread.
    12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’
    14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    Get chart in context from http://ppl.ug/VBTWspQZS4s/

    When in the above sequence are man’s sins forgiven? Sin required a perfect sacrifice – the debt needed to be paid in full. When was the debt paid in full? Was it not when Christ exclaimed “It is finished!”? Or, for sure when the tomb was empty?

    So in practical terms, under the Law, sins were forgiven when the appropriate blood sacrifices were made (obedience required). So for the Jew under the Law their standing (position) was ‘forgiven’ but experientially, it was not yet accomplished. It is akin to hope – “an event certain but not yet realized” (anonymous).

    Under the Age of Grace our standing (position) is ‘forgiven’ and experientially we are also ‘forgiven’ at the time when we comply with Rom 10:9-10 – the time of our salvation experience.

    http://www.biblegateway.com unless otherwise noted.

    1. The Law that the Jews lived by included what we call the Ten Commandments. In Jesus teaching, he frequently referred to the Law and more specifically about the ten commandments. He also taught that the Law could be summarized in two commandments: One, love God and two, love others.
      In the model pray, he also includes those two commandments. The first part of the pray is about our relationship with God and the second is about our relationship with others. Included in our relationship with others is the need to forgive them. This is a very important element in loving our neighbors.
      In the model prayer, Jesus talked about sin (debts, trespasses). In this passage, Jesus is not talking about the sins that He forgives at the time of our salvation experience. In 1 John 5:15 the writer says there are two types of sin. There was sin that lead to spiritual death and sin not unto spiritual death. The type of sin in the model prayer is the second type of sin.
      In the model prayer Jesus was talking about forgiving others for sins ‘not unto death’. When our fellow man has sinned against us, we are told in the Bible to forgive them. This does not mean we wait until they come to us to ask forgiveness. In other words, our forgiveness of others is not contingent on the them asking us to forgive them.

      Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2(NIV)

      If we are separated from God because of the sin cause by the lack of forgiveness, how can he hear us when our sins have ‘hidden his face’?
      Regarding the ‘Age of Grace’ and the ‘Age of Law’, they are man’s way of indicating whether the people lived under the Jewish Law or if they live during a period where they were under God’s grace. Because they are manmade indicators, date when they started or ended is an arbitrary date.
      When Jesus healed sinners by forgiving their sin, was it by the law or by grace? When Jesus told the man on the cross that his sins were forgiven, was it by law or by grace?
      Whether they lived under the law or under grace, their salvation was the result of the same thing, their faith. It was not because they never sinned. I believe that Grace took place at the time the Gentiles became included in God’s redemptive plan.
      You said in the second to the last paragraph that “… under the Law, sins were forgiven when the appropriate blood sacrifices were made (obedience required). When the children of Israel sinned, did the that change the fact that they were God’s children?
      The same thing is true under grace. The difference is that Jesus became that blood sacrifice. This is what fulfilled the Law. So, just as the Jews remained Jews even if they sinned, we also remain God’s children even when we sin.
      I respect you as an elder brother and fellow believer, I appreciate your comments but… I will stand by my original blog regarding the Model Prayer and I will continue to use it as a model for my prayers.

  3. You are welcome.

    I think that it is very important to distinguish between what was said and what was not said. But, first, in regard to the following “I respect you as an elder brother and fellow believer, I appreciate your comments but…”. Sorry, but you are stuck with me, but I will claim you, gladly!

    I don’t remember, but did we both hold to the same brand of tractor as being the best? (smiley face) 

    Nothing was said to argue that we should not use the guidelines of the Model Prayer for all of the parts of the Model Prayer specific to us (those under the Age of Grace).

    For people under the Law, ultimately all of the components of salvation, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, etc. put us all in the same final location salvation-wise. Under the Age of Grace, we are reminded that even for us, the process is not yet complete (Phil. 2:12 and Rom. 13:11, for example).

    I would like to be sure that it was clear that works do not save us. Ultimately, if we are saved, we are all saved because of the completed work of Christ on the cross, some elements of which are not yet realized.
    God made it very clear that He expected His people to be obedient and when/if they were disobedient, they had to deal with it according to the requirements of the Law.

    The Ten Commandments and the working out of the Ten Commandments – the Jewish Law has some very specific times that were set for various things – observing the Passover, the Year of Jubilee, etc. Also note that we seem, as a general statement, to have no difficulty in altering the command about the Sabbath Day. (Even though Ray Comfort in his God blessed personal evangelism, frequently starts his ‘testimonial’ exchange with questions about the other’s, abiding by the Ten Commandments. i.e. “Have you ever told a lie?” To which the other person usually replies something like, “Yes, I suppose.” “Have you ever looked at a person of the opposite sex with lust? The reply is something like, “Well, who hasn’t?” “Have you ever used God’s name in vain?” “Well, yes.” “Then by your own admission, you are a lying, adulterous, blasphemous person. Can you give a single reason why God should let you into his heaven?” There is a bit more in the exchange but omitted here because of space.)

    Yes, the playing out of the Ten Commandments for us today reduces to what you said. We do it because He loved us and with that emotion we love others even though some of their actions break God’s and our hearts.

    In my remarks about, coming to make an offering and leaving it to go seek out the person who has something against us – not because our forgiveness depends on the other person’s asking for our forgiveness but because of the other person’s relationship to God. The other person needs to ask for God’s forgiveness.

    In your statement, “This does not mean we wait until they … us to forgive them.” We forgive them because God first forgave us.

    I am not quite sure what was to be the connection in regard to the verse from I Jn. and my or your comments, but I would offer the following comments in regard to this verse.

    I Jn. 5:16 (NKJV) “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death” (http://www.biblegateway.com).

    The Net Bible offers the following (blocked text in my original):

    5:16 If anyone sees his fellow Christian committing a sin not resulting in death, he should ask, and God will grant life to the person who commits a sin not resulting in death.50 There is a sin resulting in death.51 I do not say that he should ask about that. 5:17 All unrighteousness52 is sin, but there is sin not resulting in death.53
    50tn Grk “a sin not to death.”
    51tn Grk “a sin to death.”
    52tn The meaning of ἀδικία (adikia) here is “unrighteousness” (BDAG 20 s.v. 2). It refers to the opposite of that which is δίκαιος (dikaios, “right, just, righteous”) which is used by the author to describe both God and Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9; 2:2, 29). Here, having implied that sins committed by believers (sins “not to death”) may be prayed for and forgiven, the author does not want to leave the impression that such sin is insignificant, because this could be viewed as a concession to the views of the opponents (who as moral indifferentists have downplayed the significance of sin in the Christian’s life).
    53tn Grk “a sin not to death.”
    The “sin unto death” would appear to be the unpardonable sin – frequently relegated to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. So, yes, they were the same kinds of sins committed by Jews under the people, as the kinds of sin under the Age of Grace.
    You state the following, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face…” …Because they are manmade indicators, date when they started or ended is an arbitrary date.”

    Yes, we can only use the context to arrive at some approximate time but we do have to apply Galatians 3, for example. We also have to recognize that, in the early days of the Christian Church, one of the difficulties with which they had to deal was getting believers, those from under the Law, to realize that they were no longer under the Law but under Grace. (That must have been a very real challenge.) This applies to many churches today and frequently they try to move the Book of James to a time under the Law.

    You state that “When Jesus healed sinners by forgiving their sin, was it by the law or by grace?” Ultimately, all sinners are saved by the same grace and are granted the same son-ship when this world of sin comes to a an end.

    “When Jesus told the man on the cross that his sins were forgiven, was it by law or by grace?” See above. As to whether or not he was obedient to the Law, I would have to say, “Yes” and he was thereby not required to follow the Law’s requirements of sacrifice for sin. Or, better yet, he followed the Law’s requirements by his obedience – he had no time to disobey. To the extent that he was able he kept the Law just as King David’s son who died in infancy also kept the Law – he kept it to the extent that he was physically able.

    If the question was “did the Age of Grace start while the thief was dying on the cross or after the thief died on the cross? By definition of “Age of Grace,” one would have to say that he died before the Age of Grace, but ultimately he was extended the same grace that I have been extended (see above).

    Anyway, all of this and the previous remarks sort of ‘sum up’ my point of view on this issue.

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