As I'm reading through commentaries on this petition I've been noticing
that virtually everyone who unpacks it holds a hidden assumption -- that
when Jesus gives his disciples the “forgiveness” request, he views them
as sinners who are in need of God’s forgiveness.
But is there really anything here that actually indicates this?
Unless I'm missing something, there's nothing in the closest OT parallel
to Matt. 6:12//lk.11:4 -- Sir. 28:1-7 -- that indicates that the one to
whom the advice on forgiveness is given has sinned or is in the process
of sinning. It's just wisdom advice for anyone who wants to be forgiven
should they sin.
[Anger and wrath, these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds on to
them]. 28 The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance, for he keeps a
strict account of all their sins. 2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong he
has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. 3 Does
anyone harbor anger against another, and expect healing from the Lord. 4
If one has no mercy toward another like himself, can he then seek pardon
for his own sins? 5 If a mere mortal harbors wrath, who will make an
atoning sacrifice for his sins? 6 Remember the end of your life, and set
enmity aside; remember corruption and death, and be true to the
commandments. 7 Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your
neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.
So shouldn't we view Matt. 6:12/Lk. 11:4 likewise?
Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. Oxon.
1500 W. Pratt Blvd
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