When Yeshua (Jesus) taught His disciples to pray, He told them to ask the Father for forgiveness in this way: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).1 To understand this, we must have a deeper understanding of what God means by forgiveness. We often forget what really went into God’s forgiveness of us. In our minds, forgiving someone is almost a passive act. Someone says, “I did this; I’m sorry.” Then we say, “I forgive you.” There is something detached and even insipid about that. However, when God set about to forgive us, He took His Son, stripped Him of His divinity, and placed Him in human form because it is the flesh that is the nature of sin (Philippians 2:6-8). God is not simply focused on our deeds; He is focused on the nature itself. Therefore, He took away Christ’s divinity and put Him in the likeness of those He was going to forgive (Romans 8:3). Now that is proactive!
Forgiveness is a principle that God created at great personal expense. It required a tremendous amount of intensity on His part and on the part of His Son. Yeshua willingly laid down His life as a sacrifice for our sin (John 10:17-18). He was literally immersed into sin and placed in the flesh because the flesh is the issue. Christ lived on this earth in the flesh and went through all the experiences of being in the flesh. He suffered humiliation, beatings, and was executed on a cross (Mark 15:15-20, 24). He died and paid the price for our sin (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 6:20). After He was buried, the Father reached down into Sheol and pulled Him back to life (Ephesians 1:19-20, 4:9-10). Therefore, when God says, “I forgive you,” He is applying all of that intensity.
God’s response to our sin comes from His proactive determination to forgive the entire world (John 3:16-17). He relates to forgiveness as something that He has already done. Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; it was done in the heart of God before He sent His Son to the cross 2,000 years ago (Revelation 13:8, KJV). What a tremendous principle! Yeshua got into the mire of sin with us and that is honestly what He is all about. We have a vision of Christ as the exalted Lord adorned in fine raiment, and that is true (Philippians 2:9-11). But we forget that Christ’s mission was to come down into the flesh with us. Yeshua knew what you were going to do when He was on the cross, and He became the forgiveness of the Father to us.
After the Lord’s Prayer is an amazing statement: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15). You must have something in your spirit that is predetermined to forgive those who sin against you. Unless we forgive, we cannot be forgiven (Matthew 18:21-35). Repentance only works if you have already forgiven. God is looking for you to take on the same quality of spirit that He has. You literally have to live in a state of pre-prepared, pre-executed release and deliverance for people. This is how we become a house of deliverance (Joel 2:32). What does God do with our sins? He casts them into the depths of the sea, and we must do the same for others (Micah 7:19; Isaiah 43:25).
1 All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).