“Lead us not into Temptation, but deliver us from evil…” Luke 11
We have everything, in Christ. He provides our daily bread, He forgives us our trespasses, He gives us even the power and desire to forgive those who sin against us! As our sympathetic high Priest, He runs to our aid when tempted, knowing and understanding the weakness of our frame.
Yet we remain in a world given over to the Evil One.
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one.( I John 5:19)
We also know that evil is yet within us, or at least still something in part of us that still resonates with evil. “The Prince of this world comes, but He has nothing in Me…” said Jesus. There was nothing in Jesus to resonate with any suggestion or outlook presented by the Devil, but I cannot say the same yet about myself.
So we pray earnestly “Deliver us from Evil…”.. I want freedom, glorious liberty of the Sons of God, and long for the full manifestation of it.
If only we would connect our sufferings, pain, regret and anxieties with sin. Sin brings evil. It always brings pain, distress, disease, sorrow, fear, and everything else that is hateful and hurtful. We pray for the day we will finally be through with all of it.
If you think about it, Heaven is such a glorious and strangely foreign place that for the most part it can only be described negatively. What is Heaven like?
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.(Revelation 21:4)
We cannot truly conceive of a world without evil in it, but one is being prepared for those who believe. In the meantime, we pray for deliverance from all evil; evil within, and evil around us.
Adolph Saphir makes the point that rather than merely ‘enduring’ evil as we wait for the new day to dawn, we ought to confront it, as our Savior did in his time on this earth, and have the mindset of those who will ultimately conquer all evil.
“…in the spirit of this petition, we ought to meet evil, not merely with pity and sighs, and comforting assurances of Divine Providence overruling all, but with the mind and purpose and energy of a conqueror’ dissipating ignorance, healing the sick, helping the poor, driving out devils. The Church of Christ has in all ages more or less converted the prayer,’Deliver us from evil’ into works of benevolence and charity, into warfare with the miseries of the earth. (The LORD’s Prayer, Adolph Saphir)
Obviously this is no Christian World. The Whole world lies in the power of Darkness, and the Apostles refer to “this present evil age”. Our age is an age of wickedness, evil is exalted, promoted, and the things and people most highly prized in it are the darkest and most defiant of God. We are strangers in this world perpetual foreigners. All around us is the repudiation of God , Christ and his Holy wil.
Sin has wreaked a terrible havoc on all of the world. Death comes to all of us in a thousand different forms as the ‘wages’ of sin; depression, brokenness, sorrow and bitter regret, broken lives, broken health, broken families and even broken nations. Obviously no one wants the wages and much is done by this world to try and counter them, but few connect this miseries to sin itself.
Sin, and the right to sin without consequences or regrets is championed, defended, and adored in our age, in spite of the damage it has done. Few put the dots together and connect sin to the miseries it causes. The only people who ever dared point that out in this evil world, were the true preachers and teachers of the Gospel.
This blindness to sin and evil, which amounts to an outright love of evil is one of the greatest deceptions of our day.Unfortunately very few preachers ever fulfill their sacred obligation to decry sin and to connect it to the ‘dots’ of the destruction which it causes to fall upon us.
It takes nothing less than an understanding of the Law of God himself, to even began to perceive the horror and abject evil of Sin (in ourselves) and ultimately around us.
The Cross of Jesus is the ultimate revelation of this for it is testament to the depth of our depravity , that nothing less than the death of Jesus, the blessed Son of the Living God, in a cruel and humiliating way, was what it took to deal with the spiritual and moral pollution in our souls.
“The Believer is astonished at his sins, their number, their ubiquity,their insidiousness, their tenacity.And he feels the burden of sins known only to himself, “I hate vain thoughts”…” (Ibid)
God has to reveal to us somethings about ourselves, in order to ‘deliver us from evil’. These are things which are quite uncomfortable.
We are told by the Apostle Paul, that sin has so established itself in our souls, that it is actually a Law at work in our lives. It (Sin) asserts itself into our life, disrupting any attempts at living for and with God, undermining all efforts to reform, and literally dominating us in the deepest part of our being.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?(Romans 7:21-24)
So when we pray “Deliver us from evil” we are not merely praying for deliverance from external evil, but from the fountain of corruption and sin which is within us. We know that not only have we been guilty of sins, but there is a deeper principle within us, called sin. Only the power of the grace of God revealed in the gospel is able to deliver us from this power.
We must be brought to the point where we finally see, that we cannot deliver ourselves. Only our Father which art in heaven, who sent his Son to save and redeem us, he alone delivers us from the power of Sin and evil, within and without. The prayer “Deliver us from Evil” is a serious prayer, not a mere citation, it is the desperate cry for help of one who has been shown his own depraved soul in the light of God.