Summary: 5th in study on Matthew 6, the Lord's Prayer
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” Matthew 6:13
This petition in the prayer is primarily for protection. It accepts the danger of temptation, acknowledges our deficiency in dealing with it, and asks for deliverance from it.
First, we need to establish what “lead us into temptation” means. It cannot mean that God is the prime mover behind all temptations. Nor can it mean that Christians can pray this prayer and be delivered from all temptation. God does not lead us into a life that is free from temptations. Rather, He teaches us how to look to Him for the necessary strength with which to deal with temptation appropriately.
The key to understanding what this phrase means is to understand that the word “temptation” has two meanings. It can mean to tempt with the goal of causing one to sin or it can mean a test or trial to prove the validity of one’s faith. Obviously God never tempts anyone with the goal of causing them to sin. James 1:13 tells us that, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (NKJV) God never tempts any one to evil, but he does test us. James had already explained earlier in the same passage (1:3-4) “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NKJV)
Others have already faced the same temptations we encounter. Paul explains, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;” (1 Cor. 10:13a). Paul also explains that God places limits on the test that we face, “ … but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13b) NKJV)
The King James Version translates this, “deliver us from evil” but The New King James Version , The New International Version and The New English Bible translations rendered it, “deliver us from the evil one” – referring of course to Satan.
In our last study we saw how the phrase, “lead us not into temptation,” indicated that the child of God was conscious of past sin and failure and fearful of falling into yet further sin. When you use the phrase “deliver us from the evil one” you are admitting that this life is a struggle with an enemy that oppose us. Because we do not know what dangers we will face each new day, we need God’s protection to cover us. When you pray “deliver us from the evil one” you are turning your protection over to God.
There is no part of life that is not touched by evil. It has ruined our circumstances, it has marred our character, indeed it has affected the whole of God’s creation.
I. Satan is Real, and he is gunning for us
We cannot be victorious over that which we do not understand. Being ignorant of the fact that there is a great spiritual battle being fought in our world does not erase that fact that it is true.
According to a national survey conducted by the Barna Research Group most Americans do not believe in Satan. 60 percent of American adults – six out of ten – believe that Satan “is not a living being but a symbol of evil.” Only 25 percent “believe strongly” that Satan is a real being. Only 45 percent of those who describe themselves as “born again” deny Satan’s existence. .
Spiritual warfare needs spiritual weapons. Temptation is not to be fought with human willpower. The way to resist temptation is to lean heavily upon God’s grace to strengthen and enable us to stand against the wiles of the Devil.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, tells us “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,” (NKJV)
The apostle John says that the world is a trap that is made up of three things.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
1 John 2:15-16 (KJV)
There is the “lust of the flesh” - which means the desires of the flesh
There is the “lust of the eyes” – desiring the things that are not ours