In Luke 11, Jesus was asked by one of his disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray”. Jesus in response gives what we now call as the Lord’s prayer. What is noteworthy about this prayer is that Jesus begins by saying, “When you pray say” and in verse 4 he adds the petition “and forgive us our sins”. So, if you put this together it means, “whenever you pray say…. forgive us our sins”. This is quite telling because it assumes that Jesus commands us to seek forgiveness virtually every time we pray. In other words, even though we are made righteous by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, even though we are redeemed children of God – our primary identity is a “sinner saved by grace”.
Martin Luther said on his deathbed, “we are beggars, this is true”. We approach God as sinners, fully aware of our brokenness outside him and God does not turn his face away from the prayer of a sinner who understands his/her inability to approach God outside the cross of Christ. God answers the prayers of sinners saved by grace and not ‘perfect people’ who think they do not need grace nor forgiveness.
This is the paradox of redemption – we are at the same time evil and redeemed. We carry two natures in us, even though one is put to death (daily) as we live by the Holy Spirit. Remember, as J. Piper said, “Our native corruption is not obliterated by conversion.”