Christians all over the world recite the LORD’s prayer faithfully and regularly but was this prayer specific to the Old Covenant? Let’s find out:
Matthew 6 “9 Pray like this:“‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’ 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Asking for God’s will, daily bread, avoiding temptation, deliverance from evil and looking forward to God’s kingdom are all wonderful things. But the main focus of the prayer was about receiving the Forgiveness of sins only by forgiving others first.
Jesus clearly told the Jews that God would only forgive those who forgave others. If they didn’t forgive others then God will not forgive them!
But that goes against the GOSPEL where we are saved only by grace through faith in Christ and not by our works. Why is that???
The LORD’s prayer was given by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount, where He also commanded the Jews to keep the Law to be saved as follows:
- to sell everything to the poor, forsake everything, to enter the kingdom (Luke 12, Luke 14, Matthew 19)
- to not lust or even get angry otherwise they would go to hell (Matthew 5).
- to not judge others otherwise they would be condemned (Matthew 7).
- to be perfect like God and love both neighbor & enemies to become God’s children (Matthew 5)…..etc.
The Lord’s prayer and many of Christ’s demands before the cross were about works-based salvation.
Why did Jesus command Israel to DO so many works (be perfect) to be saved?
It’s because Jesus was preaching the LAW to Israel BEFORE the cross.
The purpose of the Law is NOT to save but to show them that they are sinners
Romans 3 “19 Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. 20 Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight; for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.”
The LAW demands man to DO ALL the works to be saved
Romans 10 “5 For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, “The one who does them will live by them.””
James 2 “10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. “
When Jesus came in His earthly ministry, the Jews were under the LAW.
Galatians 4 “4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as children.”
This means that the LAW was in effect even during Christ’s earthly ministry!
On the Cross, God made a New Covenant for believers:
Hebrews 9 “15 For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a last will and testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him who made it. 17 For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives.“
The New Covenant DID NOT begin with Christ’s birth and life on earth BUT it only began with DEATH of Christ on the cross.
The time during Christ’s birth and life on earth was STILL under the OLD COVENANT. Therefore Jesus was preaching the LAW to Israel in the Sermon on the Mount and the LORD’s prayer!
This is why the LORD’s prayer has no mention of the CROSS or praying in the name of JESUS. But in fact it talks about salvation by WORKS (forgiving others).
Jesus Himself said just before dying on the cross that even the LORD’s prayer was NOT in Jesus’ name! But after His resurrection, we can now pray in Jesus’ name!
John 16 “23 “In that day you will ask me no questions. Most certainly I tell you, whatever you may ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”
The unbeliever still remains under the Law and its condemnation.
On the cross, the Old Covenant was fulfilled (its demands taken away), and a NEW COVENANT came into effect where our sins were forgiven before we forgive others!
Colossians 2 “13 You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us. He has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.”
If you believe in Jesus Christ for salvation then you are NOT under the LAW (Old Covenant).
Your sins have been forgiven by faith in Christ.
Galatians 3 “23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, confined for the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 So that the law has become our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.“
Under the Law they could only become children of God if they perfectly obeyed everything.
But when we acknowledge that we cannot obey the Law and TRUST in Jesus Christ, then we are no longer under the Law – but now we are children of God by faith in Christ.
John 1 “16 From his fullness we all received grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. “
Believers are not under law but under GRACE of Jesus Christ.
This GRACE in Christ has forgiven ALL our sins when we believed.
Therefore we are ALREADY FORGIVEN by faith in Christ, irrespective of whether we forgive others.
Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.”
Under the Law, the Jews had to forgive and love others ALL the time otherwise they would NOT be forgiven by God.
Luke 17 “3 Be careful. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
But now under GRACE, AFTER the CROSS, believers are FORGIVEN FIRST by faith in Christ. Then we are enabled to pass on that forgiveness to others without any pressure or condemnation.
We have the FREEDOM, knowing that we are not going to be judged even if we fail to love others. But we can forgive others when we are filled with God’s love in our heart.
So how do we pray now? We can replace LAW with GRACE in the prayer:
- Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. We rejoice that we are your children.
- 1 John 3 “See how great a love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God! “
- Thank you for bringing us into your kingdom
- Colossians 1 “who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love”
- Lord Jesus come soon in your kingdom.
- 1 Corinthians 16 “Come, Lord”
- Thank you Lord Jesus for doing the will of God in taking away the Law for us believers by forgiving our sins to make us perfect once for all.
- Hebrews 10 ” 9 then he has said, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, 10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
- Thank you Lord that you are our bread that has given us everlasting life.
- John 6 “51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.””
- Help us forgive others as you have already forgiven us.
- Ephesians 4:32 “32 And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.”
- Colossians 3 “13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.”
- Thank you for constantly saving us from the trials/temptations of the evil one.
- 1 John 5 “18 “…he who was born of God keeps himself, and the evil one doesn’t touch him.”
- 1 John 2 “12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
- For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.
- 2 Timothy 4 “18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- IN JESUS NAME we pray, AMEN.
- John 14:13 “13 Whatever you will ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “