Do Believers need to ask God to forgive them each day? What about the Lord\'s Prayer?

The New Testament does not begin in Matthew 1. Sure, when you open up your Bible to Matthew, one page before reads: “The New Testament.” But testament can also mean covenant, and in order for a covenant to start, there must be a death. That is why the New Testament did not start at the birth of Jesus, but at the death of Jesus. 
For this reason, Hebrews 9:15 says, the New Covenant did not begin until Jesus’ death. And Paul says Jesus was born under the Law (Old Covenant) in order to redeem those under the Law (Galatians 4:4). 
         I say all this to provide context to the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus was born under the Law and ministered to those who were living under the Law. The New Covenant had not started. Therefore, God’s new way of forgiveness had not started because Jesus had not shed His blood. That is why you will find no verse from Acts to Revelation about the need to ask God for forgiveness. 
         Once we place things in their proper context, we will see once again that the truth in regard to the Lord’s Prayer and our once-for-all forgiveness always sets us free. 
Conditional Forgiveness?
         In the Lord’s Prayer in both Matthew and Luke’s account, we see the need to ask God to “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew clarifies what He means in this verse by saying in verses 14-15, 
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” 
         Mark 11:25 echoes this statement, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” 
It is clear. Forgiveness according to Jesus is conditional. This means that our forgiveness from God is based on our forgiveness of others. 
         This begs the question, if our forgiveness is conditional, then what was the point of the Cross? Why do we need the Cross if we can get our forgiveness through what we do? 
         If we are all honest, this conditional forgiveness buries us. There is no way anyone can live up to this standard. This is why context is our friend. Jesus is ministering to those who are under the Law and not under the New Covenant of grace. This is before Jesus shed His blood, and the Law was still in effect. The New Covenant did not go into effect until Christ’s death.  
         In Matthew 5 and 6, Jesus is speaking to those who are under the Law and He is revealing the true standard of the Law. This is why He says in Matthew 5:22-23:
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” 
This passage was spoken when there was still an altar and a temple to go to. But there is no longer any altars or temples because there is no need for them. Jesus has taken away our sins. And we are now the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19). 
         If Jesus were ministering to us, then how could we go to the altar? We would all fail, since there are no more altars. All throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is elevating the Law to reveal that no one can be saved through keeping the Law. This is why Jesus came to fulfill the Law since we could not. 
         So, we have a choice, we can choose to see the Lord’s Prayer as a pre-cross prayer spoken to those under the Law, or as conditional forgiveness binding to us today. The problem with the latter view is that it contradicts Hebrews 9:22 and 1 John 1:9. To hold this view would also mean you would have to be okay with the Scripture contradicting itself. Not only that, but if one holds this view, they are looking at Jesus’ work on the Cross and saying that it is not needed. 
         Not only does the Lord’s Prayer contradict God’s blood system, but it also contradicts what the apostle Paul said. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Notice the order, we forgive because God has already forgiven us. 
         Paul also says this same thing in Colossians 3:13. He says, “forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you.” This is in direct contradiction to the Lord’s Prayer. The only way to solve this is by rightly dividing the word of God. Doing this, we see that Jesus was speaking under the Law, and Paul is speaking under the New Covenant. Under the New Covenant, we forgive because we have been forgiven. 
         There is no mention of asking God for forgiveness from Acts to Revelation. Why is that? Because the writers understood that the Cross was the dividing line between the Old and New covenant. If asking God for forgiveness was for believers, wouldn’t it be mentioned even once from Acts to Revelation? As we saw earlier, forgiveness from Acts to Revelation is always spoken of as a finished work. 
         As a side note, this is not to say that everything Jesus said is not applicable to those of us living under the New Covenant. But we must understand that He came to fulfill the Law and to reveal the true standard of the Law so that people under the Law could see their need for Him. 
         In summary, we do not need to ask God to forgive us each time we sin. We are forgiven. And there is nothing left for us to do to get more forgiveness from God. 
A New Way to Pray
         When you pray, you are not sending off prayers to a God who is far off. But one who is closer than your skin. You are not making a long-distance phone call. You are talking in person to the One who loves you the most—your Heavenly Father. 
         When you pray, God hears you. He is focused on you and listening to every word. There’s no such thing as a “right way to pray.” He loves every prayer. He loves hearing from you. No longer do you need to feel the need to beg or plead for God to forgive you. Perhaps a new way to pray is, “thank you, Father, for what you have done.”
         We do not need to spend our time over-analyzing our mistakes, or thinking that God is mad at us for them. Our total forgiveness means that God is no longer mad at us. His goal is to show us each day that what He did was enough. We are safe. We are forgiven. And we are deeply loved. 
         We can be confident God hears us because He has taken away our sins with no strings attached.

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