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One of the things that we are all guilty of is our failure to appreciate fully how wonderfully free it is to have our debts to God forgiven of us, mainly because we rarely see ourselves as being indebted to God, and worse still, we tend to see God as being indebted to us.

“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”[1] “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us (everyone who is indebted to us).”[2]

1. Forgiving everyone who sins against us includes enemies who curse us, persecute us and seek to harm us. And enemies, our enemies, are not just unbelievers who seek to persecute us for the sake of the Gospel, but brothers and sisters as well, for it is written: “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”[3] Forgiving a brother, that is, another disciple who hears the word of God and obeys it as defined by Jesus, requires forgiveness from the heart,[4] whereas to love our enemies who are not our brothers, we only need to pray for them, bless them and do good to them if we are able to. Our sins against God are all our acts of disobedience, for they carry and deserve punishment. When God forgives us of our sins, it is His mercy that does not punish us for what we deserve, but rather annuls or suspends the sentence. That is, we are guilty but the sentence is suspended.

2. However, our debts to God are not our sins against God. In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant,[5] the man who owed the king 10,000 talents did not receive from the king the ten thousand talents in the first place because he was a rebel who was seeking to overthrow the kingdom. That is, the man who owed the king the money was not an enemy of the king, but rather, a man who found favour with the king, enough favour that the king loaned him ten thousand talents. So, to have his debt forgiven him by the king is not a suspension of sentence, that is, mercy, but rather grace upon grace.

For the king to loan him 10,000 talents was a favour. For the king to forgive him his debt is a favour beyond the favour. The man actually had the benefit of enjoying the 10,000 talents, which more than likely supplied the 100 denarii that he loaned his fellow servant. In other words, if the king did not show him favour in the first place, the first servant would not have been in a position to loan the 100 denarii to his fellow servant. Thus, grace from the king set up the grace that allowed the first servant to loan to the second. Now, when the king forgave the debt rather than demanded it to be repaid, the first servant experienced or should have experienced the incredible blessing of having a debt wiped out, a debt that he had incurred and had already reaped the benefit of spending, including loaning the 100 denarii to the second servant.

So it is time to see clearly the difference between a sin and a debt. A sin is incurred by an enemy and a debt is incurred because you are a friend, one who is held in favour and enjoys credibility with the lender. As such, when you sin, you are less offensive than someone who cannot repay a debt, for the sinner received no favours, but the debtor has already enjoyed the favour. A sinner can be any person, but a debtor can only be a debtor if grace was first shown and the loan was given. To a sinner, who is someone who disobeys and rebels against you, or someone who attacks you and seeks to harm you, that is, someone who sins against you, you have not dispensed any grace to them to earn their enmity, but to a debtor you have already given them grace that they then become your debtor.

Thus, to have our debts forgiven by God is a much greater privilege than to have our sins forgiven. For when we sinned against God, God had not yet poured out His Grace, but when we became indebted to God, God had given out His Grace. Yet, we blithely say, “Forgive us our debts…” and we have failed to realise that to forgive our debts costs God more than to forgive us our sins.

When God (or you) forgives someone of their sin, God (or you) has not put Himself under obligation to do anything further. It is just like Elisha opening the eyes of the Aramean army and then sending them home after feeding them. He was not obliged to keep feeding them or to live with them. In fact, once you forgive your enemy of their sin, you are no longer obligated to do anything else for them. You can even forget about them.

However, when we ask God to forgive us our debt, we are asking for God to give us Grace on top of the Grace He gave us already, to go the extra mile. Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins against God, which is why it is the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins that mercy would be shown to God’s enemies who’d ask for mercy. That mercy is in His Name. However, Jesus did not die for our debts to be forgiven. Indeed, the death of Jesus Christ put us all under debt to God. Hear this now: The sacrifice of Jesus Christ put us all under debt to God and we accept the debt when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. If we heard of God’s Grace through Jesus and said, “No,” then we would pay for our sins and would not be indebted to God. We would reap what we sow without anyone to redeem us from the fruits of our labour. So, in truth, God never condemned men, but men condemned themselves when they chose to rebel and not surrender so that God could show them mercy through Jesus Christ.

Thus, all who repent and believe are saved from the penalty of their sin. Having been saved, that is, having received God’s mercy, we could choose not to follow Jesus and ask Jesus for help, or not ask Jesus or God for more favours and more blessings, for the moment we do, we have received God’s Grace, which gives us one blessing after another and makes us now indebted to God. Yes, indebted to God. Now, if God was a stingy person, a real shylock, then we are all in trouble because we could never repay the blessings He has given us, no more than the servant could repay the 10,000 talents once he had spent it.

You cannot repay God for the miraculous power you have received, nor the healings or the deliverance once you have received it, used it and enjoyed it. It is like what they call a ‘ponzi loan’ – a loan that can never be repaid without selling everything up. Forgiveness then not only shows you the mercy of God’s Grace, but the generosity of God’s Grace. God is indeed the generous Landowner of the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard[6] who pays the last worker the same as what He pays the first workers who agreed to the pay, as it is written: “Are you envious because I am generous?”

The Lord does not bless us with one blessing after another, with one favour after another so as to load us up and grind us into the ground with a burden of debt we can never repay. Indeed, God set up a debt repayment system using sin. Now, herein lays the mastery of sin by God, for He uses sin, rather, the forgiveness of sins, as the way to repay the debt. He uses the forgiveness of debts to repay the debts, and the forgiveness of sins for the suspension of the punishment.

We are plagued and will always be plagued by people who will sin against us. If we have no one who sins against us, then we would be living in peace, but the Lord did not come to bring peace but a sword so that two will be against three in a family, as Jesus said, “From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.”[7] So, as we forgive those who sin against us, that is, rebel against us, seek to usurp us and covet what we have, kill and destroy what we have, or seek to lord it over us and enslave us, for that was Satan’s sin against God when he said in his heart, “I will ascend to Heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned as the Mount of Assembly, on the utmost heights on the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High,”[8] our own rebellions, usurping, covetousness, murderous schemes and pride are forgiven. So, mercy flows continuously because God is generous.

Indeed, God has forgiven Satan, for even though he is condemned by his sentence, there is an opportunity for him to escape his execution. The devil is condemned and sentenced for execution in the Lake of Fire. However, unlike the beast and the false prophet who are thrown alive into the Lake of Fire[9] as soon as Jesus arrives, that is, they are executed into the second death; Satan enjoys a stay of sentence for 1000 years in the Abyss. And then, as it is written: When the 1000 years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the Earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.[10]

Now listen and see that there are two wills here. First, there is a Will that releases Satan and there is a will that causes him to go out to deceive. The first will is God’s Will, for Satan could not be released if God had not permitted it, but to deceive the nations is not God’s Will. If it were, then the sentence would read: Satan will be released from his prison to deceive the nations. But rather, it is written: and will go out to deceive the nations. That second will is Satan’s will, Satan’s choice, not God’s. Had Satan laid down his will to abide by God’s Will, to be released from prison then do nothing more than just sit and watch to enjoy his freedom, he would break the scripture of Revelation and be spared from the Lake of Burning Sulphur. However, by his own will, he will go out and deceive the nations to raise them up against the camp of God’s people, that is, the members of the First Resurrection, whose dogged testimony for Jesus and faith in God’s word imprisoned Satan in the first place by fulfilling all the Scriptures necessary for Jesus’ return. It will show that Satan does not forgive us for obeying Jesus and allowing scriptures to be fulfilled because of our obedience. When Satan fails to forgive us, then unforgiveness is shown him and he then joins the other two. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the Lake of Burning Sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.[11]

Satan failed to forgive those who sinned against him—us—and lost the Grace that could have been his, as God released him from prison by His Will. He failed to forgive us because he rose up Gog and Magog by his deception to attack us. Those citizens of God and Magog were destroyed instantly without warning because they were ungrateful throughout the 1000 years of Jesus’ gracious reign. That is why from now on you can call them, “The ungrateful,” or, “The ingratiates.”

As for the false prophet and the beast, they serve as examples of those who trample on God’s Grace, not just His mercy. For the false prophet had received great favour from God, in particular, from the Holy Spirit, to be able to have the power and ability to raise the image of the beast to speak, even powers of the age to come,[12] and yet showed no mercy to those who refused to take on the mark of the beast but had them beheaded. The beast himself received favour through the false prophet’s power that came from the Holy Spirit to be raised up to speak. Be clear about this now, see the word, the beast is given authority and power. The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for 42 months.[13] He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.[14] However, the false prophet exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, [15] but he is not given the first beast’s power to make war on the saints and conquer them, but rather, he performed great and miraculous signs. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the Earth.[16] So the power of the false prophet is not the power of the beast.

The power of the false prophet was given to him by the Holy Spirit, because in the beginning he received favour from the Holy Spirit to be entrusted with the power. And yet he did not return the favour to those who resisted him. He was indebted to the Holy Spirit, but when he attacked the elect of the Holy Spirit when he did not forgive those who were his former brothers and sisters in Christ, but beheaded them, then neither was his debt forgiven. Unfortunately for the false prophet, his debt, miraculous power to do signs and wonders, is to the Holy Spirit, not to the Father or to Jesus, for the Father gave His Son, and the Son gave His life, and to the Son the Father gave authority, but from the Holy Spirit came the power. Likewise, the beast received power to make war against the saints, power that comes only from the Holy Spirit, and as such, he was also indebted to the Holy Spirit. When both of them, the beast and the false prophet, refuse to forgive those who sin against them, that is, those who rebel against them and disobey them, those who refuse the mark of the beast, and so kill them, so likewise, they will be treated. They are killed immediately, not by the first death, but by the second death. Thus, they are thrown into the Lake of Fire because they failed to forgive as they were forgiven and shown Grace.

You see, when you have received the favour of God to be indebted to Him, not only does He expect you to forgive those who are in debt to you, but also those who sin against you. The false prophet committed both the insulting of the Holy Spirit and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, for he did not forgive those who are indebted to God and not to him. That would be like the first servant of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant killing the second servant so that the second servant could not repay his own debt to the king. What would the king do to the first servant then?

So, forgiveness of sins shows the mercy of God’s Grace and the forgiveness of debts shows the generosity of God’s Grace. Now, “love your enemies,” is showing the mercy of God’s Grace. That is why we become merciful as our Heavenly Father is merciful for we are forgiving the sins of enemies. However, to “Love one another as I have loved you,” is to forgive each other of our debts as the Father has forgiven us our debts. That is, forgiving the favour we have shown to a brother or sister because God has forgiven us of the favour He showed us. Thus, forgiveness is the key and has always been the key behind God’s love and it is the key that truly opens the door to God’s treasure. For, its other name is known as the fear of the Lord. If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.[17] The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure… a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.[18] The Spirit of the Lord is the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord,[19] that is, the Spirit who forgives.

No wonder the false prophet is condemned and if we do not forgive, Jesus’ Father will not forgive us.


 

[1] Matthew 6:12

[2] Luke 11:4

[3] Matthew 10:36 (Micah 7:6)

[4] Matthew 18:35

[5] Matthew 18:21-35

[6] Matthew 20:1-16

[7] Luke 12:52

[8] Isaiah 14:13-14

[9] Revelation 19:20

[10] Revelation 20:7-9

[11] Revelation 20:10

[12] Hebrews 6:5

[13] Revelation 13:5

[14] Revelation 13:7

[15] Revelation 13:11

[16] Revelation 13:13-14

[17] Psalm 130:3-4

[18] Isaiah 33:6

[19] Isaiah 11:2

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