Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” Sometimes such a prayer is easily said. Recent flooding here has placed many people in dire circumstances – some life-threatening. As the waters rise it’s easy to say, “deliver us from evil!” Terror and violence in the streets of major US cities and around the world are clear manifestations of evil.
But when life is going well, or when some desire lays hold of our soul, it is challenging to identify the evil from which we are to be delivered. Or if we do identify it, it is difficult to pray, “deliver us…” with great sincerity.
Paul’s salutation – a common beginning for each of his letters – lays out what he will deal with in this letter to the church in Galatia. He will defend his apostolic calling, point the people to God’s grace in Jesus Christ, and help them to identify the evil from which Christ has delivered them.
Perhaps you are feeling the tug of evil in your life…pulling you into the toxic atmosphere of Satan’s wiles. Maybe you see evil writ large right before your eyes on your way to work or on television or in Hollywood’s offerings. Likely, however, the deception of Satan is difficult fully to perceive. He is the father of the lie, and the deceiver after all.
Jesus Christ has delivered us from the present evil age through the forgiveness of our sins. It’s not only the sins of others, or Satan’s evil intent from which we have been delivered. As soon as we are able to identify our sins for what they are, confess them, and lay them at the cross, we will begin to experience the fullness of Jesus’ deliverance. Then we will delight in Christ’s deliverance and give God the glory that is rightfully his.