(The Lord's Prayer - Part 6)
The fourth of the four main petitions that are requested of God in the Lord's model prayer (Mat 6:13) is "Deliver us from the evil one". It's a plea to be set free from Satan's clutch and Satan's system.Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
When we think of the young man of Mat 17:15-18 who was brought to Jesus suffering because a demon was aflicting him we can understand this plea not to be held captive in this way. Of course not everyone nowadays thinks in terms of demons affecting people in physical ways, and this incident may be though of in terms of the physical effects only which may be epilesy, but in either case to be cured of this is better than to suffer it for life.
Well, the bible tells us that a permanent and complete cure is available from God. Jesus modelled in his life the way that deliverance was part of the upcoming New Covenent that he would inaugurate. What we want to know though is whether our prayers will result in a complete cure as when Jesus prayed or leave us in the same state as happened when the disciples prayed for the man.Mat 17:14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came to him, falling on his knees before him, and saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is lunatic, and suffers sorely; for often he falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they were not able to heal him". And Jesus answering said, "O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to me". And Jesus rebuked him (the demon), and the demon went out from him, and the boy was healed from that hour.
That's great for Jesus but how can we be sure that our prayers have been heard and answered? Is the cure available to all and can all have the faith to receive it?
How we answer those questions depends on how much we think the life, death and resurrection of Jesus accomplished. Do you think that as a result it's possible for all Christians to resist the devil or does the devil resist and beat up on you when you try? Do you have to keep asking God to deliver you from the evil one or has God given you the power and authority to resist successfully?
I think that it might be interesting to look at this starting from the point of view of - "what power do we have in us as Christians"?
So first of all as Christians, how powerful is our leader?
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, "All authority has been given me in heaven and in earth..."
So Jesus has all authority and power over all things, but what about us?
Well we are told that "He who is in us is greater that he who is in the world"! The apostle John said this by inspiration.1Jn 4:4 You are of God, little children, and you have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
The Holy Spirit in us, through whom Jesus and the Father live in us also, is greater than he who is in the world, which is Satan and his cohorts.
So if "He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world" one wonders why many Christians talk more about the power of Satan and how he roams through the earth than about the power of God.
We should not fear Satan.
Quite the opposite we are told to resist him and he will flee from us.Jas 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
We can do this successfully because "He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world". Satan has been defeated already. It's not a future hoped for event.
We can see this explained quite simply in the book of Hebrews.Hebrews 2:14 says, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil."
Christians are told here that Jesus has defeated Satan and this victory took place at the time of His (Jesus') death. But do we truly believe what the word says applies to and has a bearing on us personally or just applies to a few great men of God?
It actually applies to ALL of us, but we have to believe it for it to work, for the just shall live by faith.
So, the devil and his power over us was defeated at the time of the death and resurrection of Jesus. That's what the word tells us.
Jesus has complete authority and power over all spirits and He has given that power to us.Luk 4:36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!" Luk 9:1-2 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Luk 10:18-19 And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.
Even so we ARE told to beware satan's cunning; but NOT his power.
If when we were baptised we went to the parade we would have seen Satan being dragged through the streets naked and toothless.
This image is based on what I understand was the kind of parade that the Romans held when they defeated an enemy state. The king and the top generals were dragged through the streets naked and defenceless so all the people could see that they had no power over them any more.
And we have been baptised into Jesus' death, so since this victory over Satan took place at that time, in spirit we were there. Now If we missed seeing the parade we can see the video in Col 2:15.Col 2:15 And having disarmed principalities and powers, He mocked them in public, triumphing over them in it.
The thing is Satan tries to convince us that he still has power. He goes around trying to intimidate us without needing to get into a fight like any blowhard bully.
The bible tells us that Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He's trying to intimidate us into admitting defeat without a fight because he knows in a fight when we resist, we win!1Pe 5:8-9 Be sober, be watchful; your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour. Resist him, being steadfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. Jas 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Notice that we are told to resist him ourselves. We are not told to ask God to resist him! We are not told to pray for deliverance. We have already been delivered and so unlike the period prior to Christ's death, now in Christ we have the power to resist the devil and when we do he will flee.
Strong lions on the hunt don't roar and warn the prey! The devil and his henchmen don't have power over you. That's why these spiritual forces of wickedness try to intimidate us mentally and work through people to attack us, and we must recognise what is behind an attack against us and rebuke the devil.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, "All authority has been given me in heaven and in earth..."
There is no kind of demon that Jesus does not have authority over! You cannot help Jesus to overcome some kinds of demons by fasting and praying. What fasting and prayer does is help us to trust in Jesus and not have so much unbelief.
Jesus has all power and all authority in heaven and in the earth, and just as with the disciples Jesus has given us authority over all demons. That's why when we resist the devil he will flee.Colossians 1:13 says, "He (God) delivered us (past tense) from the authority of the darkness and transferred us (past tense) into the kingdom of the Son of his love."
We have been delivered!
Satan though tells us we are sinners and tries to bring guilt to bear so that we will think God won't answer our prayers, etc., because we have sin consciousness. If we accept this lie we won't resist when we have Satan come against us with sickness, or some other trial. He may even try to get us to think that God has brought us the trial because of our sins! If we believe his lies he can defeat us in our Christian walk without us putting up any resistance.
But the bible tells us in Heb 10:1-2 that if there was ever a complete propitiation for sin then there would not have been the need for any more sacrifices and the people would have had no consciousness of sin. Goats and bulls couldn't do that for law keepers though.
Heb 10:1-2 For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw nigh. Else would they not have ceased to be offered? because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
But, Jesus' sacrifice did do this for his followers (Christians).Heb 10:12-14 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Therefore we should not believe Satan's lies about our standing with God and allow him to bring us into condemnation, guilt and sin consciousness.
We should live a life aimed at holiness but as 1 John 1:9 says if we do sin, although God has already removed our sins, we can let our heart and conscience condemn us. We can thus make our faith weak. So we confess/agree with God, about these sins and accept the forgivness Jesus bought for us so that our conscience can be cleansed. In the spirit we are perfect, but we have to renew our minds as we focus on God with this realisation that we are the righteousness of Christ.
If Satan tries to make us agree to live according to any of his lies we resist and rebuke him. We "say" what is right according to God's word and refute his lies. We stand against any attack, securely resting on God's word and in the faith of Jesus Christ.
We don't have to keep going back and confessing sins and asking for them to be covered in order to be saved and have a right relationship with God. We don't live under a counterpart to the Old Covenant. Christ died once for our eternal redemption. And, we should have no sin consciousness because the book of Hebrews tells us that would be the result when there was complete propitiation for sins!
Our sins were forgiven at the time that Jesus died for our sins. When we accepted Jesus' suffering and death on our behalf, in faith, it was applied to us. We were saved - deliverance, redemption, and salvation all took place then. When we accepted Jesus Christ as our saviour this salvation came into our lives as we were given a new spirit and sealed by the Holy Spirit. It was not confession of our sins that brought this about, but putting faith in Jesus.
If though, Satan or our conscience does bring us into sin consciousness we have an advocate in Christ Jesus and we can confess that and have our conscience cleansed so that we don't leave an entry point for Satan to attack us.
In terms of our standing with God though we can be sure of a loving reception into his throne-room at all times because we have in us the righteousness which is through faith in Christ (Phil 3:8-9). And since this is the case, Satan is stymied.Php 3:9 ... and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith
Because our sins are forgiven and we have no sin consciousness there is nothing Satan can throw in our faces to make us feel guilt over. He has no hold on us so we don't have to keep asking God to deliver us. What we have to do is resist the devil in the power and authority Jesus has given us.
We have been truly delivered. It isn't something we have to keep praying for. We have already received it. So because we have been delivered we can resist Satan, knowing who is in us. And because "He who is in us is greater that he who is in the world" - We will win.
Prov 26:2 says "the curse causeless cannot come".
Since all your sins have been removed there is no reason for which you can be cursed. Since in Jesus you are without sin, then all the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:3-12 are yours! Not because we keep the law but because Jesus' finished work on the cross has brought us the blessing of Abraham - righteousness.Joh 10:10 The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
That's the promise that we have in Jesus. Blessings not curses.
Now you can allow Satan to call you a sinner and believe it and live in
guilt and condemnation, but then you will not be living by the faith of
But if we recognise that Satan is defeated; that we have BEEN delivered; that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world; that we Christians have nothing that Satan can hold against us; that we ALREADY ARE the victors in Jesus Christ; then when we resist the devil in faith, we WILL win.
That's the sure blessing of the Holy God that we worship!