Do Christ’s disciples ever sin? Apparently sometimes the do, since Jesus taught them to ask for forgiveness for their sins.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions (Matt. 6:12-15).
Jesus’ disciples realize that their disobedience offends God, and when they sin, they feel ashamed. They want the stain to be removed, and thankfully, their gracious heavenly Father is willing to forgive them. But they must ask for forgiveness, the fifth request found in the Lord’s Prayer.
Their being forgiven, however, is conditional upon them forgiving others. Because they’ve been forgiven of so much, they have an obligation to forgive everyone who requests their forgiveness (and to love and work for reconciliation with those who don’t). If they refuse to forgive, God won’t forgive them.
The sixth and final request, too, is one that obviously reflects the true disciple’s desire to be holy: “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil [or ‘the evil one’].” So much does the true disciple long for holiness that he asks God to not lead him into a situation where he might be tempted, lest he succumb. Additionally, he requests that God would rescue him from any evil that might entrap him. Certainly this is a great prayer to pray at the beginning of each day, before we journey out into a world of evil and temptation.
Those who know God understand why all six requests of this prayer are so appropriate. The reason is revealed in the final line of the prayer: “For [or because] Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever” (Matt. 6:13). God is a great King who rules over His kingdom in which we are His servants. He is all-powerful, and no one should dare resist His will. All glory will belong to Him forever. He is worthy to be obeyed.
What is the dominant theme of the Lord’s prayer? Holiness. Christ’s disciples desire that God’s name be hallowed, that His reign would be established over the earth, and that His will be perfectly done everywhere. This is more important to them than even their daily bread. They want to be pleasing in His sight, and when they fail, they want forgiveness from Him. As forgiven people, they extend forgiveness to others. They long to be perfectly holy, to the degree that they desire to avoid temptation, because temptation increases their chances of sinning. The disciple-maker teaches these things to his disciples.