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Shorter Catechism

𝒬 105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?

𝒜. In the fifth petition, which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, we pray that God, for Christ's sake, would freely pardon all our sins;1 which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.2

  1. Psalm 51:1-2

    51:1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
    according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

    Psalm 51:7

    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

    Psalm 51:9

    Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.

    Daniel 9:17-19

    Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

    1 John 1:7

    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (ESV)

  2. Matthew 18:21-35

    Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

    “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

    Ephesians 4:32

    Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    Colossians 3:13

    bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (ESV)

Larger Catechism

𝒬 194. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?

𝒜. In the fifth petition, (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,1) acknowledging, that we and all others are guilty both of original and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God; and that neither we, nor any other creature, can make the least satisfaction for that debt:2 we pray for ourselves and others, that God of his free grace would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin,3 accept us in his Beloved;4 continue his favor and grace to us,5 pardon our daily failings,6 and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more assurance of forgiveness;7 which we are the rather emboldened to ask, and encouraged to expect, when we have this testimony in ourselves, that we from the heart forgive others their offenses.8

  1. Matthew 6:12

    and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    Luke 11:4

    and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
    And lead us not into temptation.”
    (ESV)

  2. Romans 3:9-22

    What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

    “None is righteous, no, not one;
    no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
    “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
    “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
    “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
    “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    in their paths are ruin and misery,
    and the way of peace they have not known.”
    “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

    But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

    Matthew 18:24-25

    When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

    Psalm 130:3-4

    If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?
    But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared. (ESV)

  3. Romans 3:24-26

    and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Hebrews 9:22

    Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (ESV)

  4. Ephesians 1:6-7

    to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, (ESV)

  5. 2 Peter 1:2

    May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (ESV)

  6. Hosea 14:2

    Take with you words
    and return to the Lord;
    say to him,
    “Take away all iniquity;
    accept what is good,
    and we will pay with bulls
    the vows of our lips.

    Jeremiah 14:7

    “Though our iniquities testify against us,
    act, O Lord, for your name's sake;
    for our backslidings are many;
    we have sinned against you.

    1 John 1:9

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Daniel 9:17-19

    Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” (ESV)

  7. Romans 15:13

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

    Psalm 51:7-10

    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
    Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.

    Psalm 51:12

    Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit. (ESV)

  8. Luke 11:4

    and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
    And lead us not into temptation.”

    Matthew 6:14-15

    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.

    Ephesians 4:32

    Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    Colossians 3:13

    bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

    Matthew 18:21-35

    Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

    “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (ESV)


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Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.