Some texts have that this is to deliver us from the evil one. Frankly, I’m going to stick to deliver us from evil since I think delivering us from evil would include delivering us from the evil one. The line before this one was on avoiding temptation. Nevertheless, through no fault of our own at times, evil can come into our lives.
This should help defeat the idea prevalent in today’s circles that all suffering we experience is the result of our sin. I find it amazing that this is one idea in the Bible that God specifically condemns in the book of Job in telling his friends that they hadn’t spoken rightly of him. Jesus deals with it also in John 9 and Luke 13. You’d think after those texts, we’d get the lesson.
Unfortunately, we haven’t.
By the way, if all that a person suffers is a result of their sin, what does that say about the suffering of Christ?
I also believe though that this could refer to suffering from non-moral agents such as natural disasters or sicknesses. We are asking God to keep us safe from things that will tempt us, but to help us be safe from damaging forces out there. There is nothing wrong with wanting to avoid suffering. If a tornado is coming your way, it’s not spiritual to go seek it out and stand in its path daring it to come get you.
While it’s fine to want to avoid suffering, when it does come, there is a proper attitude for it. Now it could be you might think you’re being punished for something and you need to repent. Here’s a good rule of thumb. If you’re doing something wrong, repent anyway. In fact, this was Christ’s message in Luke 13 to the disasters that happened from both moral and non-moral agents. Repent.
In speaking about moral agents also, let Christians always be aware that there are evil forces out there. I am not a pacifist and think I often have to remind some people of this. There are people that will not gladly lay down their arms and sing “Kum-bu-Yah” with you. There are some who see the only way of dealing with enemies to be to kill them. There are times then that we will have to deal nationally with such moral agents.
For us though, we should pray that we be protected from those who wish us harm. This must have been a common prayer of the early church that frequently had to deal with persecution and one can picture it happening in the persecuted church today. If you’re in an area where you are free to be a Christian largely unhindered by the society around you, count yourself blessed. See that Bible gathering dust that you have nearby? There are many people who would risk their lives just to get a copy of that book.
For the Christian then, evil is a reality. We do not deny its existence. We do not call it an illusion or maya. We admit that it is real and we need to avoid it. We also realize that there are some evils that might require direct intervention from God. The most noted kind of evil though is one we might not think about, and that’s dying apart from Christ.
True deliverance from evil will only come when we get to Heaven. In justification, we are delivered from the penalty of sin. Through sanctification, we are delivered from the power of sin. When we get to Heaven, we will be delivered from the presence of sin. It all happens when the kingdom of God becomes fully manifested.
Which happens to be the next line we’ll look at when we continue this series.