The Model Prayer: Deliver Us from Evil

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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The last petition in the Model Prayer looks to the future when we pray, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).

That is a prayer that every believer should pray daily because we are all vulnerable to succumb to temptation. One wag said truthfully, “If a man wakes up and finds his house on fire, he does not sit in a chair and write or read a treatise on the origin of fires in a private house; he sets to try to extinguish the fire and to save his house.”

Where is the fire in your house? Each one of us has a different spot of vulnerability. What is a brutal temptation for one person, may leave another one unmoved, and vice versa. Every person has a weak spot which if he is not careful can ruin his life.

“Do not lead us into temptation.” The word for “temptation” has the basic meaning, “to test.” When it is used of Satan testing us it is with the view of causing us to fail the test.

Are we honest enough with God to ask Him to keep us out of circumstances and tempting situations because we know from experience our faith could not endure them? Do we play with temptations instead of praying that God will keep us away from them?

The Bible tells us God tempts no one (Jas. 1:13). But we have an old nature that is always capable of sinning, and it is at war  against the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:17 explains that both the Holy Spirit and the flesh are in constant active unceasing conflict. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

“But deliver us from evil.” The word “deliver” (ruomai) means “to rescue, save, deliver, or preserve someone from someone or something.” When the believer is walking in dependence upon the Spirit he is delivered from the lust of the flesh. Whatever is undertaken in the energy of the flesh will fail, because it is not in the power of God. The only way we can possibly be delivered over our old nature is by the Spirit working in us (Rom. 6:14; 8:2). The most spiritual Christians are warned to pray daily, “and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” If we do not we are courting failure in living the Christian life.

It is our responsibility to walk in the Spirit, reckon on the indwelling power of Christ living in us, putting off the old man, mortifying the flesh and abiding in Christ.

The deliverance from the power of sin is through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25). Romans 6:1-10 teaches us that the believer’s fallen nature has been judged by co-crucifixion, co-death, and co-burial with Christ, therefore making it possible for the indwelling Holy Spirit to answer this petition of the believer.

“Evil” can be translated “the evil one” meaning the devil, or it can mean evil in the ethical sense. Here it is probably the evil element in life.

The Holy Spirit delivers us from the power of sin in our daily life. We have been delivered from the penalty of sin by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The moment we put our faith in Christ as our Savior we were forgiven of our sins and the assurance that our debt has been paid in full.

This prayer deals with the power of sin in our daily life. From the human side it depends upon our attitude of faith in the death of Christ and the action of faith taking God at His word and depending on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to over come temptation. There will never be a time in the Christian’s life when he will not need to depend on the Holy Spirit. The just one shall live by faith—faith which depends on the power of the indwelling Spirit. This is what it means to abide in the Spirit or abide in Christ.

The doxology, “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” (v. 13b) was added in later manuscripts as a fitting liturgical closing to the prayer. All power, honor and glory belong to the LORD God.

Our greatest defense against falling into sin is the presence of Jesus Christ living in us, and our dependence upon Him. “What would you do, if you suddenly found Christ standing beside you?” is a good question to ask ourselves often. How would you then live? It is His “inescapable presence” that keeps us from yielding to temptation.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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