THE SECRET SIN
(THAT CAN KEEP US FROM HEAVEN)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not
forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)
||Truly therefore, verily as the case stands, for
It adduces the cause or gives the reason of a preceding statement or
(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003,
2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)
So what was Jesus referring to when He began with "For?"
He had just given the disciples the blueprint for prayer:
He chooses that one phrase in what we call "The Lord's Prayer" to focus
|This, then, is how you should pray:
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
|"'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.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'
According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, it is an act of God's grace to
|| Forgive, forsake, lay aside
What are we to forgive?
||An unintentional error or willful transgression or
He shows cause and effect:
||you forgive men when they sin
||your heavenly Father will also forgive
||you do not forgive men their
||your Father will not forgive your
Jesus enlarged on this concept in
Matthew 18:21-35 with the parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
The 1st servant was forgiven 10,000 talents.
The 2nd servant owed the 1st servant 100 denarii, which the 1st servant
refused to forgive.
|In Roman times one talent equaled 6,000 denarii, a
denarius being roughly a day's wages for a common laborer. If a
day's wages today is in the neighborhood of $50, 10,000 talents
would be $3 billion! In the
Tanakh a talent weighs 75.6 avoirdupois pounds. This amount of
gold, at $350/troy ounce, is worth nearly $4 billion; the
same amount of silver, at $4/troy ounce, comes to over $40
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H.
|Literally, ďa hundred denarii,Ē about $5,000 today.
A relatively small sum in relation to the amount he was forgiven.
Jesus then brings the lesson home in verse 35
|Because the 1st servant refused to forgive he was
thrown into jail and tortured until his full debt was paid, which
would be well beyond his natural lifetime.
|"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each
of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
Bishop Chrysostom AD 400
(From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 10, PC Study Bible
formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.)
|Seest thou surpassing mercy? After taking away so great evils, and after
the unspeakable greatness of His gift, if men sin again, He counts them
such as may be forgiven. For that this prayer belongs to believers, is
taught us both by the laws of the church, and by the beginning of the
prayer. For the uninitiated could not call God Father. If then the prayer
belongs to believers, and they pray, entreating that sins may be forgiven
them, it is clear that not even after the prayer is the profit of
repentance taken away. Since, had He not meant to signify this, He would
not have made a law that we should so pray.
|Now He who both brings sins to remembrance, and bids us ask forgiveness,
and teaches how we may obtain remission and so makes the way easy; it is
perfectly clear that He introduced this rule of supplication, as knowing,
and signifying, that it is possible even after the font to wash ourselves
from our offenses; by reminding us of our sins, persuading us to be
modest; by the command to forgive others, setting us free from all
revengeful passion; while by promising in return for this to pardon us
also, He holds out good hopes, and instructs us to have high views
concerning the unspeakable mercy of God toward man.
|But what we should most observe is this, that whereas in each of the
clauses He had made mention of the whole of virtue, and in this way had
included also the forgetfulness of injuries (for so, that "His name be
hallowed," is the exactness of a perfect conversation; and that "His will
be done," declares the same thing again: and to be able to call God
"Father," is the profession of a blameless life; in all which things had
been comprehended also the duty of remitting our anger against them that
have transgressed): still He was not satisfied with these, but meaning to
signify how earnest He is in the matter, He sets it down also in
particular, and after the prayer, He makes mention of no other commandment
than this, saying thus:
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will
|So that the beginning is of us, and we ourselves have control over the
judgment that is to be passed upon us. For in order that no one, even of
the senseless, might have any complaint to make, either great or small,
when brought to judgment; on thee, who art to give account, He causes the
sentence to depend; and "in what way so ever thou hast judged for thyself,
in the same," saith He, "do I also judge thee." And if thou forgive thy
fellow servant, thou shalt obtain the same favor from me; though indeed
the one be not equal to the other. For thou forgives in thy need, but God,
having need of none: thou, thy fellow slave; God, His slave: thou liable
to unnumbered charges; God, being without sin. But yet even thus doth He
show forth His lovingkindness towards man.
|Since He might indeed, even without this, forgive thee all thine offenses;
but He wills thee hereby also to receive a benefit; affording thee on all
sides innumerable occasions of gentleness and love to man, casting out
what is brutish in thee, and quenching wrath, and in all ways cementing
thee to him who is thine own member. For what canst thou have to say? that
thou hast wrongfully endured some ill of thy neighbor? (For these only are
trespasses, since if it be done with justice, the act is not a trespass.)
But thou too art drawing near to receive forgiveness for such things, and
for much greater. And even before the forgiveness, thou hast received no
small gift, in being taught to have a human soul, and in being trained to
all gentleness. And herewith a great reward shall also be laid up for thee
elsewhere, even to be called to account for none of thine offenses.
|What sort of punishment then do we not deserve,
when after having received the privilege, we betray our salvation?
And how shall we claim to be heard in the rest of our matters, if we
will not, in those which depend on us, spare our own selves?
Jesus through His life taught us to forgive others, and if we are to be
like Him then we need to practice forgiveness throughout our life.
[Donít be angry with your brother without a cause or you could
face the judgment and maybe even Hell fire.]
[There is a proper way to resolve a dispute between your brother
[Jesus gives the figure of 70 times meaning forgiving
continually and holding no ill will.]
[Jesus give us an example of forgiveness or of not forgiving,
with the warning "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto
you, if you from your hearts forgive not every one his
brother their trespasses."]
Two great examples of forgiveness:
||On the cross He forgave those who
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Luke 23:34 (NIV)
||When he was being stoned He forgave those
who stoned him:
"Lord, do not hold this sin against them." Acts 7:60 (NIV)
We may say, "But I am not Jesus, so I can't forgive like He does."
However, that Spirit that filled Jesus when He forgave, and that same
Spirit that filled Stephen when he forgave can fill us and give us the
power to choose forgiveness. With the Spirit of Christ, we can do anything
(I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV))
If our choice is to keep hate in our hearts because of some injustice
that we have experienced, remember that this hate is a poison that could
indeed keep us from entering into heaven, where there is nothing impure.
(See also "What