They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.
Matthew 6:13 (NASB)
Deliver us from evil.
One of the leaders at St. John serves as an elder and key member of the prayer ministry team. I can count on him, every time he prays, to ask for forgiveness. It is such a refreshing reminder of the reality of our great need before God, and his great provision to us of forgiveness. It might be thought to be trite or merely formalism. But it is not. So whether we are praying at the beginning of a meeting, expressing our concerns for someone’s health, asking for guidance and wisdom, or any other occasion for prayer, Kenneth asks for forgiveness.
Martin Luther says that, “where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation” (Luther’s Small Catechism, VI. The Sacrament of the Altar). Either my friend and Luther are right, or the Psalmist and they over-emphasize a point. I’ll stand with my friend, Luther, and the Psalmist. We have a problem with sin that only forgiveness will solve. Only by God’s merciful and gracious lovingkindness shown in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection may we find peace and deliverance from evil.
In his book, People of the Lie, M. Scott Peck defines evil as those who lack an awareness of their own evil and seek to avoid any such awareness. God’s word here confronts us with the reality that we are sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy. Deliver us from the evil idea, O God, that we do not need your forgiveness, and bring us to the cross of Jesus where we will find forgiveness of sins, life and salvation! Amen.