Salvation cannot be bought. Forgiveness is gracious, unearned. You cannot bargain with God for it. Forgiveness begins with God, not with you.
Yet, God works in you, and as he forgives, he changes you. Salvation is all of God, yet there is no salvation without trust in God. You are to work our your own salvation because God works in you both to will and to do, Philippians 2:12,13. Just as Hebrews has strong warning passages, not to deny the perseverance of the saints, but rather to encourage them in perseverance, so your forgiving is part of your covenantal life before God. Thus, in this prayer, God forgives as you do. There is an inseparable connection between God forgiving you and your forgiving your brothers, Matthew 18:35.
“The purpose and meaning of the gospel is unmistakable. Again and again it represents the relation of man to God as that of a debtor to his creditor. . . . Sin places man in the position of one who must pay, give satisfaction.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 214).
(Continuing our study of the Lord’s Prayer this evening at Trinity Presbyterian Church.)