and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12, ESV)
Jesus calls for his followers to pray daily for forgiveness. But some may wonder why. Doesn't scripture make it clear that we have already been forgiven through Christ (Eph 1:7-8; Col 2:13-15; 1 John 2:1-2)? So why should we daily pray for forgiveness?
The words of J.I. Packer are helpful:
A problem arises here. If Christ’s death atoned for all sins, past, present, and future (as it did), and if God’s verdict justifying the believer (“I accept you as righteous for Jesus’ sake”) is eternally valid (as it is), why need the Christian mention his daily sins to God at all? The answer lies in distinguishing between God as Judge and as Father, and between being a justified sinner and an adopted son. The Lord’s Prayer is the family prayer, in which God’s adopted children address their Father, and though their daily failures do not overthrow their justification, things will not be right between them and their Father till they have said “sorry” and asked him to overlook the ways they have let him down. Unless Christians come to God each time as returning prodigals, their prayer will be as unreal as was that of the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable. (Growing in Christ. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994.)
When we daily come to God broken and humble repent of our sins, we have the confidence of His forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and the joy of renewed fellowship with him.
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