Now there is just one other point that comes to us from this great text in Matthew, and it comes from this word "debts." In this context, the word refers to our sin, and the verse is a prayer for forgiveness. In this sense, we cease to become debtors to sin by means of confession and of God's forgiveness.

Is it not true that God has assured us in advance of this full forgiveness precisely to keep us from sinning? Certainly it is. For no sooner has John written, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," than he goes on to say, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." In other words, God says that the truth that will most keep us from sinning is the promise that we will be forgiven by God even if we do. 

Now we cannot go on to consider other parts of the Lord's Prayer without pausing to see one other great truth about this matter of forgiveness. When a person comes to God through Jesus Christ, confessing his sin and asking for forgiveness, he need not be uncertain of the outcome. Instead, he can be absolutely certain that God will provide the forgiveness that he asks for. 

Most Christians will immediately see the need for the distinction between the two types of forgiveness. Unfortunately, there have always been some Christians who have felt that sin could be eradicated in the Christian during this life. And since they generally apply this to themselves, they therefore come to believe erroneously that they at least no longer need this forgiveness. This is wrong, of course, and the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ directed all of His disciples to ask for forgiveness refutes it. 

The second area of requests for themselves that Jesus Christ urges upon His followers in the Lord’s Prayer concerns forgiveness. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” This is the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and it introduces us to a most important subject.