Saturday, 19 February 2011

'But Deliver Us from Evil'

All Christians must realise that they are in a battle and have an enemy (also known as the evil one, Satan or the devil) to war against. Thank God that Christ is stronger than our enemy and even though he does his worst against us, as Paul declares,‘I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’(Romans 8).

We also have the armour of God that we must put on to protect ourselves from Satan’s attacks which he will surely bring against us ( Ephes.6). Christ here gives us a general prayer to pray to our Father to deliver us from evil and by praying it in faith and sincerity we can be assured that he will hear our cry and work out his purposes in our life.Other key verses that promise deliverance are found in Acts and Joel where it states that 'he who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (delivered)'.

Why are we attacked by Satan? There are at least two reasons. The first reason is that we were made in the image of God and Satan hates us for that, even more so if we have been adopted into his family. The second reason is that if we have already battled in prayer, asking that God's Kingdom and will would be done on earth it would mean that Satan's kingdom would be getting smaller and his will thwarted. We have therefore made ourselves his enemies by combating against him and he will certainly want to attack us in order to stop us! Where will he attack us? He is a dirty fighter who knows every trick in the business and will attack us where we are weakest and also when we are weakest!He will attack us with doubts and fears and may even attack us physically through other people, as Christ himself warns his disciples he comes to 'kill,steal and destroy' John 10.10. But like Job we must be patient and hold unto our trust in God's faithfulness and goodness and through this we are assured of victory.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Edward Mote

Workman of God! O lose not heart,
But learn what God is like;
And in the darkest battlefield
Thou shalt know where to strike.

Thrice blest is he to whom is giv’n
The instinct that can tell
That God is on the field, when He
Is most invisible.

Blest too is he who can divine
Where real right doth lie,
And dares to take the side that seems
Wrong to man’s blindfold eye.

Then learn to scorn the praise of men,
And learn to lose with God;
For Jesus won the world through shame,
And beckons thee His road.

For right is right, since God is God,
And right the day must win;
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin.



Bob Robinson said...

I must admit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy has me enthralled. It is filled with the classic battle of good vs. evil—in all its huge, mythic, epic splendor: the struggle against the evil one, Sauron, the temptations of everyone to take hold of the One Ring that offers ultimate power over everything, the gruesome battle scenes against the demonic Orcs, and that little hobbit, Frodo Baggins, carrying the terrible burden to rid the world of the evil of Suaron and his ring.

It is a story that reverberates with many of us, especially those of us who yearn to fight the good fight—to go into battles against the evil that we see. It is the reason many backed the war in Iraq—to combat and defeat evil. It is the reason we as men here at Vanguard Church have been getting together on Saturday mornings every other week—to explore what it means to properly be a man and to fight in the cosmic battle, to be a warrior against evil. As we have talked the last several weeks, favorite movies were brought up—Gladiator, Last of the Mohicans, The Matrix, Rocky, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings—movies that have heroes who were willing to risk it all for the sake of the good, and who come through in the end and save the day from the evil that threatens everything. On my own, I am reading The Hobbit, and each night I am reading to my son Trey the C. S. Lewis classic, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first in the Chronicles of Narnia fantasy series of books, which tells of the great lion Aslan and his eventual triumph over the evil white witch that has enslaved all of Narnia in a terrible curse in which it is always winter but never Christmas.

All of these stories reverberate with us because they reflect the larger, true, supernatural story—some implicitly, some more directly analogous (like in the Narnia series, where Aslan clearly is the Christ figure). We are drawn to the stories of good triumphing over evil because it is what is spiritually what is going on in us and all around us: Good defeating evil; the hero conquering the villain; the excitement of those who look like they might be defeated overcoming the oppressor.

It is what good stories are made of, because it is THE STORY. It is not just relegated to the pages of good books or to the screen of our cineplexes or television screens; it is the heart-felt reality of what we are made for. We are meant to be on the winning side of the battle against the evil one. We are to rally around and follow the one who won the battle over the evil one, and thus win our own battle as well.

It is the story of the cross.

John Stott, in one of the greatest books ever written in Christianity, The Cross of Christ, explains this best: “Victory, conquest, triumph, overcoming—this is the vocabulary of those first followers of the risen Lord. For if they spoke of victory, they knew they owed it to the victorious Jesus.”

Of course, anyone who would look at Jesus pummeled and bloodied, skewered onto the cross, would not think of it as a symbol of victory but of defeat. It seems more a victory for the evil one—the power of evil to destroy the good.

Yet it is the Christian claim that the reality was the opposite of the appearance. What looked like the defeat of goodness by evil was in fact the defeat of evil by goodness! By allowing himself to be overcome, Jesus overcame. The victim was the victor.

Stott writes that the cross of Jesus Christ is in fact a “cosmic drama in which God in Christ does battle with the powers of evil and gains the victory over them.” “…by his death Jesus saved us not only from sin and guilt, but from death and the devil, in fact all evil powers, as well.”

Dr Luther said...

But deliver us from evil.

* * *

Here note carefully that it is at the end that we avert by this prayer, and are taught to avert, the evils themselves. We may beg of God that these evils may be averted, yet the petition must be in its due order, and in the last place. There are not a few who honor God and pray unto Him only that they may be delivered from evil; that is all they seek after. Such never think anything about the first petition, that they are to prefer the honor, name and will of God to everything else. They seek their own will only, they want to be delivered from their troubles whether God wills or not, and whether it is to His honor or not. Whereas a truly God-fearing man prays thus: "O dearest Father, the affliction of this evil that is come upon me burdens and distresses me much, and I suffer much adversity and disquietude of mind. Deliver Thou me therefore from these evils, and yet, in no other way than in that which may redound to Thy glory, honor, and praise: not my will, but Thine be done. For the honor and will of Thy divine Majesty are dearer to me than all my own peace or advantage, either temporal or eternal." This is a consistent and right prayer, which will without doubt be heard in heaven; but if we pray in any other way, or from any other motives, such a prayer will neither please God nor be heard at all. We ought to pray to be delivered from evil to that end, that the will of God may be done, and that His kingdom may come, to the praise and glory of His holy name.

From evil, Lord, deliver us!
The times and days are perilous;
Redeem us from eternal death;
And when we yield our dying breath,
Console us, grant us calm release,
And take our souls to Thee in peace.

John Chrysostom said...

"And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one: for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." [Matt. 6:13]

Here He teaches us plainly our own vileness, and quells our pride, instructing us to deprecate all conflicts, instead of rushing upon them. For so both our victory will be more glorious, and the devil's overthrow more to be derided. I mean, that as when we are dragged forth, we must stand nobly; so when we are not summoned, we should be quiet, and wait for the time of conflict; that we may show both freedom from vainglory, and nobleness of spirit.

And He here calls the devil "the wicked one," commanding us to wage against him a war that knows no truce, and implying that he is not such by nature. For wickedness is not of those things that are from nature, but of them that are added by our own choice. And he is so called pre-eminently, by reason of the excess of his wickedness, and because he, in no respect injured by us, wages against us implacable war. Wherefore neither said He, "deliver us from the wicked ones," but, "from the wicked one;" instructing us in no case to entertain displeasure against our neighbors, for what wrongs soever we may suffer at their hands, but to transfer our enmity from these to him, as being himself the cause of all our wrongs.

Having then made us anxious as before conflict, by putting us in mind of the enemy, and having cut away from us all our remissness; He again encourages and raises our spirits, by bringing to our remembrance the King under whom we are arrayed, and signifying Him to be more powerful than all. "For Thine," saith He, "is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory."

Doth it not then follow, that if His be the kingdom, we should fear no one, since there can be none to withstand, and divide the empire with him. For when He saith, "Thine is the kingdom," He sets before us even him, who is warring against us, brought into subjection, though he seem to oppose, God for a while permitting it. For in truth he too is among God's servants, though of the degraded class, and those guilty of offense; and he would not dare set upon any of his fellow servants, had he not first received license from above. And why say I, "his fellow servants?" Not even against swine did he venture any outrage, until He Himself allowed him; nor against flocks, nor herds, until he had received permission from above.

Pastor Spurgeon said...

Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil [or, the evil one]."
Luke 11:4

What we are taught to seek or shun in prayer, we should equally pursue or avoid in action. Very earnestly, therefore, should we avoid temptation, seeking to walk so guardedly in the path of obedience, that we may never tempt the devil to tempt us. We are not to enter the thicket in search of the lion. Dearly might we pay for such presumption. This lion may cross our path or leap upon us from the thicket, but we have nothing to do with hunting him. He that meeteth with him, even though he winneth the day, will find it a stern struggle. Let the Christian pray that he may be spared the encounter. Our Saviour, who had experience of what temptation meant, thus earnestly admonished his disciples-"Pray that ye enter not into temptation."

But let us do as we will, we shall be tempted; hence the prayer "deliver us from evil." God had one Son without sin; but he has no son without temptation. The natural man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, and the Christian man is born to temptation just as certainly. We must be always on our watch against Satan, because, like a thief, he gives no intimation of his approach. Believers who have had experience of the ways of Satan, know that there are certain seasons when he will most probably make an attack, just as at certain seasons bleak winds may be expected; thus the Christian is put on a double guard by fear of danger, and the danger is averted by preparing to meet it. Prevention is better than cure: it is better to be so well armed that the devil will not attack you, than to endure the perils of the fight, even though you come off a conqueror. Pray this evening first that you may not be tempted, and next that if temptation be permitted, you may be delivered from the evil one.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I haven't commented much lately, but I just want you to know that I love the way you add the Church fathers' comments.

This is a good witness for many reasons, not least of all, that they are still alive, and their words to us are always fresh.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...


I wish my psalm blog would accumulate comments at each psalm like the ones you've posted here in your Lord's Prayer series.

If you have any comments of your own or from other Church fathers that are about any particular psalm, please leave them at:

I think I will do the same, except that I haven't been reading the Church fathers too much lately, just the bible itself.

I should like to buy myself a copy of Lewis' Reflections on the Psalms which I read over 30 years ago but not since. I remember being moved by what he wrote, and perhaps his reflections would make helpful comments on my blog.

Andrew Kenny said...

Romanos, what a great blog on the Psalms you have.I don't know how I missed it before.One of my favourite books on the Psalms is Spurgeon's
'Treasury of David' which apart from his own comments he includes thousands of comments from great Christians throughout history.

Andrew Kenny said...


Lewis was brought up a few miles from where I was reared, but obviously many years before me. He also died on the same day as Aldous Huxley and JFK in 1963 ( I was only 4 at the time). His Narnia stories were also inspired by the Castlereagh hills which is also close by to where I live. Lewis is widely regarded as one of the the most inspiring Christian writer of the twentieth century yet few realise he was also a chain smoker, a pipe smoker and very found of whiskey-very Anglican thing indeed. My favourite Lewis book is Mere Christianity which I still refer to, lend out and give away. Interestingly I got a copy sent to me through the post last month which had my address on the inside cover. I have no idea who sent it as it had no covering letter. I surmise that it was a book that I had lent out several years ago and the borrower had perhaps had it on their bookshelf all that time! On seeing that it had my name and address on it they obviously felt obliged to return it but were perhaps too embarrassed to put their name on a covering letter. I thank them for sending it back but giggle that they did it anonymously!

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

You sound a lot like me, giving books away constantly, as the Spirit moves. Currently, I can't find my copy of Eusebius' History of the Church, the cover of which is shown in one or two of my blog posts. That was the first book I gave away to my friend Brock when we first met in the lunch room at work, and he was reading his duct-tape-wrapped bible. Since then I bought another copy or two, and I'm still stumped where my latest copy is. Probably gave it away too, "don't let your right hand know what your left is doing" or something like that, only apply the saying to brain cells!

Altho some of the books I've given away have had my nameplate in them, no address, and I've never received any of them back. Your reminiscence is touching.

I will get another copy of Eusebius (the Penguin softcover is the one I like to read), but at the same time I will get the other two books on psalms, Lewis' and Spurgeon's. The latter is one I haven't heard of, but it sounds great! Thanks for the tip.

Pray for the brothers in New Zealand. Just heard about the earthquake.

As we head towards Easter, I bid you 'Kali sarakosti' or "a happy Lent"!