Deliver Us From Evil

What is the evil from which we need deliverance? In Matthew’s Gospel alone, we encounter wicked, murderous kings; illness of all sorts; demonic influence; and sin. Behind all these lurks Satan, who is called “the evil one.” Thus, it does not matter whether we translate the original Greek “from evil,” or “from the evil one” – both are possible – because all evil is somehow related to sin, and all sin has some connection with Satan. Why should we pray for deliverance? Because evil is bad! The Bible insists upon the radical distinction between good and evil; virtue and vice; light and darkness; life and death; God and Satan. With wickedness, there can be no truce, cease-fire, peace treaty, or even negotiations. Jesus came to “save His people from their sins,” and to “destroy the works of the devil.” We ask God to save us from evil because we cannot save ourselves. Even with marvelous advances in medical science, illness often leads to disability and death. Tyrants still oppress and kill. And, despite the doubts of skeptical (and inexperienced) moderns, evil spirits still harass and even possess people. Worst of all, sin holds sway in our hearts unless and until Jesus comes to set us free. We pray for liberation from evil because God can save! He made the world through His mighty Word, who became the God-man Jesus, the Christ. Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons. He defeated Satan on the cross and rose victoriously to ascend to God’s right hand, whence He rules the entire universe for the sake of the church. Someday, He will return in glory and create a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. How, then, should we offer this prayer to God? With persistence, until He hears and answers. With faith, that He is both willing and able to save. With thanksgiving for past deliverances. And with praise, for the decisive victory in the war against evil has already been won at the Cross and the resurrection of Christ.