Love asks forgiveness for transgressions AND sins (Love prays part 12)

by Craig on April 4, 2011

A little more about the “forgiveness” part of the Lord’s prayer. I never really understood why Our Lord would tell me to ask for my sins to be forgiven – even though he paid the price on the Cross and my sins are already forgiven. I obeyed anyway.

I didn’t understand why He wanted me to pray for His kingdom to come, but I did it anyway, because He said so.

I’m thankful for learning just last week, after all the years of study, that this part of the Lord’s Prayer was not only about “sins” in the narrow sense, but the broader term, “transgressions”.

It was about the things I don’t normally consider sin.

It was about anything that takes my eyes off of Our Lord (here).

Which makes sense. Because I just get so darned distracted – by good things, and by “not bad” things, way more often then actual “sin”.  So of course I’d want to bring those to mind and talk to God about them.

What a difference one little word makes “transgressions” as opposed to “sins”.

We are never too old,

or too educated,

to learn and grow,

and grow closer to Him.

But there’s something more. I didn’t look far enough on Friday. I forgot that there are two versions of the Lords’ Prayer.

One is by Matthew, and the other by Luke.

Matthew was an eye witness to Our Lord’s life and ministry. Luke was like us. He had heard the story, as the gospel at first was spread by word of mouth. He knew someone who wanted to know more. So he researched, interviewed, and wrote the story down.

A point about that.

Today, we tend to trust something more when it’s written. I know at least I always felt a little cheated that the gospels were “written” 20-30 years after the fact.

But the real fact is, back then, the written was suspect.

People trusted the actual spoken word more.

Raphael's Paul Preaching in Athens

The gospel was designed to be spread person to person by spoken words. It’s really how we do it today anyway. Isn’t it?

We don’t write papers about it and then hand them to our friends. We use these things called tracts – and they are written – but mostly it’s done in conversation.

We know Our Lord. We want others to have the same privilege. We talk with them. Then we refer them to what has more validity than our words – we point them to the Bible.

The Gospels were written to preserve the original story. As long as the eyewitnesses were running around there wasn’t any need to rely on what was considered the inferior method of writing.

One more thing.

The early church lived in a bit of a quandary. They were expecting Our Lord to come back in their time. He hadn’t yet, but if he was coming back soon, why “preserve” the Gospels? It makes sense that they would only do it as the eyewitness were getting old, and Our Lord’s return looked more and more like a long future even.

But, circling back to Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. What he reports is that we are to ask for “sins” to be forgiven.

He uses the word ἁμαρτία (hamarteeya) the one meaning “sin”.

the artist

Does he contradict Matthew?

The quick answer is no.

I said this in the last post,

not all transgressions are sins,

but all sins are transgressions.

I think I should hang out on this another day or so.

Questions swirl.

Why ask forgiveness if forgiveness is already given?

Why is this not a contradiction in Scripture?

Thank you for reading. Please come back.

In God’s love.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

A. April 4, 2011 at 10:58 am

Craig, I am grateful that you will be spending more time on this because it does generate questions. It is fascinating to me that back then words meant more than ‘books’. That maybe explains some things. Jesus said He would send us a Comforter-He didn’t say He would send us a book (though a book happened, for sure). So maybe Jesus, too, wanted us to rely on spoken Spirit word which requires us to have a relationship with the Spirit rather or more than book word? This is not to negate the bible but to clarify the goal which is relationship with Christ, which the bible helps us with and points us toward. As someone said on another blog somewhere that we can tend to focus on the tree of knowledge rather than the tree of Life.

Several things fascinate about all this but I will stop with that. LOVE the picture of the girl/woman!!!


Craig April 5, 2011 at 10:26 am

A., as somebody who spent too long focusing on the tree of knowledge rather than the tree of Life. I know you have a point. I call it head knowledge versus heart knowledge. Obviously although the collection of letters and gospels for our NT happened because men did it. And maybe they did it to preserve the words of the people who sat at the feet of Our Lord. They may have been surprised ant had their own motivations – but God was never surprised. No doubt he always planned for the Word to be written down – so it could be preserved through millenia – so we could have it today. We need it. It is the main way he speaks to us – through the revealed history between him and his people. The way he is with them – so he is with us. Everything is measured against the Word. Unless you’re a Catholic and thus have the writings of the church considered to be inspired as well. Simple – yet complicated – I’d kind of expect nothing less from the God of All things. God Bless A.


Debbie April 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Thank you, Craig , for taking us deep into this love, this prayer, these questions about forgiveness and sin and transgression. I read on a blog recently too, that the kingdom of God is primarily poured out through relationships. That got me thinking too. Like you do.
God bless you and all the places He takes you!


A. April 5, 2011 at 1:00 am

Debbie, that is a beautiful description of how the kingdom of God works: “primarily poured out through relationships (His to us and us to others)”!!!! I love that!


Craig April 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

and amen – it is all about love – Vertical with God – AND – Horizontal on this earth – to others.


Craig April 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

I’m just taking you along with me Deb, and glad to have the company. I just always assumed this ONLY meant forgive me my sins. But nope – there’s more. Go figure. Thank you Deb – so much – and God Bless.


Michelle April 5, 2011 at 12:51 am

Why ask forgiveness if forgiveness is already given? – Because, although we are forgiven (and God is outside of time and so has forgiven us everything we have and will do) we are human. By asking forgiveness, we are recognising that we are not living the life crucified, that we are torn between two eternities, that we are like Paul (I do what I do not want to do, and do not do what I want to do….), that we don’t understand that the Spirit within us is stronger than the old life, that we haven’t got it all together, we are keeping short accounts and thus humble before our God,…..

Oh, I don’t know. Why ask these hard questions? Now I have to think about it. =D


Craig April 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

I really heart your answer Michelle – I’ll be looking at it again before I write mine. I’m gonna steal some of it I think. Thank you for that. I am smiling big because of it. God Bless you.


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