By Caleb Bobrycki
Many are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Indeed, I have written briefly on this topic before, which received many warm comments, probably because of the sweetness of the prayer on the memory and heart. Christ was a prolific speaker and theologian, yet a palatable and gentle pastor, which is seen in how he so wisely condenses much light and heat in few words on prayer. One of the most striking things about this paragraph of petitions is how the prayer seems to be written primarily for the sons and daughters of God. That is not to say that an unbeliever or stranger to the things of God cannot pray these words and be brought to Christ, but simply that our Lord Jesus assumed that those for whom he instructs to pray are those who have been brought into a saving union with himself. Two particular phrases in his prayer that standout are “Our Father” and “Our Sins”; not that the other “our” statements aren’t precious, but these seem to presuppose some startling realities concerning union with Christ.
Christ is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16); not begotten as though created, but as an eternal generation (See Edward Leigh). What is most striking about this phrase is that out of the mouth of the very fullness of God, Jesus Christ, comes this precious word “Our.” Now, he was teaching the corporate body how to pray, but is he not by extension including himself, as he is head of the body? And is this not signified by his own words when he prays, “My Father, and their Father…” What does this mean? It means that Christ’s very own treasure and inheritance, namely the Father himself, is, through our union with Christ, ours as well. It means that we have a right to the Father, as much as Christ. The beauty of this treasure in Christ is highlighted further by a later petition in the prayer: “Forgive our sins…”
Christ allows we sinful creature to join him in calling upon his Father because he joins us in redemption for sin; more than that, he claims us and our sins as our representative head in his death on the cross. We claim the Father as our treasure because Christ claimed responsibility for our sins. He was not only teaching the corporate body to acknowledge their sins before God, but also, as head of the Church, was demonstrating his intercessory heart to his people, for their encouragement in prayer.
Do we see the assumed reality of union with Christ in these two phrases? Because of our union with Christ, his Father is ours also, and our sins are imputed to him; even more, he is made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). The next time we approach our Father in prayer with Christ, let us immerse ourselves in this breathtaking reality: we are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).
Edward Leigh, A Treatise of Divinity Consisting of Three Bookes… London, 1647, 2:137