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Bible Question

What is the Lord’s prayer and should we pray it?


Clarifying the Lord’s Prayer and Forgiveness Under the New Covenant

The “Lord’s Prayer”, found in Matthew 6:9-13, was delivered by Jesus to His disciples during the Sermon on the Mount, and it reflects Old Covenant teachings. Many Christians in churches continue to recite this prayer weekly, often mistakenly believing that it is essential for seeking forgiveness. This practice, along with the frequent misinterpretation of 1 John 1:9, has led some believers to feel unsure about their complete forgiveness in Christ.

To understand the context and application of the “Lord’s Prayer”, it is crucial to also consider the 2 verses following the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:14-15, which states:

“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.”

This passage aligns with the Old Covenant’s conditional forgiveness based on one’s actions. However, as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:19, under the New Covenant, “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

It is surprising that these two verses are never read following the Lord’s Prayer.

When Did the Old Covenant end and the New Covenant Begin?

The New Covenant began with Jesus’ death on the cross, not with the events of Jesus’s birth in Matthew 1. Hebrews 9:16-17 clarifies this: “In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it; because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.”

Jesus, who was alive during the Sermon on the Mount and the instruction to the disciples of praying the “Lord’s Prayer”, was speaking under the Old Covenant, which ended at His crucifixion (Romans 10:4).

Forgiveness Under the 2 Covenants
  • Old Covenant: Forgiveness was ongoing and conditional, based on human actions (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • New Covenant: Forgiveness is final and complete, based on Jesus’ sacrifice (Ephesians 4:32).
Jesus’s One Time Sacrifice For Sins-Key Scriptural Insights:
  • Hebrews 10:17-18: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”
  • John 1:29: John the Baptist identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
  • 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”
  • Colossians 2:13-14: “When you were dead in your sins… God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”
What Should We Do After Sin?
  1. Agree with God’s Ways: Recognize that His ways are best. We don’t confess to be forgiven; we are already forgiven.
  2. Confess to One Another (James 5:16).
  3. Pray for Renewal: Ask God to renew your mind with His Word and to assist you in your needs (Romans 12:1-2).
  4. Thank God for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.
Recommended Reading:

Consider reading Classic Christianity by Bob George, a transformative resource on understanding God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. The study guide can also enhance your learning experience.