Deliver us from evil!

Psalm 97:10 (NKJV)

You who love the Lord, hate evil!

1 Peter 2:15–16

For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil.

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This beautiful altar is in a small church outside of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Does the juicy bit of gossip beckon for your attention and sharing? Is it the thrill of taking someone down and adding another notch in your belt that calls you away from the path of love? Is it the lure of money? The excitement of illicit sex? The determination to chart your own course that undercuts your parents’ honor? Do you so wish to be righteous in other people’s eyes that you fail to get honest with God about your need for his mercy and forgiveness? Do you so wish to look better than everyone else that you’ll hide your blemishes with the pancake makeup of outward appearances rather than the broken heart of a sinner deeply thankful to God for his grace?

There is always a beauty, benefit, or other pay0ff promised by the deceiver in order to lure us to embrace evil. Even when we know better, we too easily fall prey to the false notion that we can cover up evil and forego the need for God’s grace.

Jesus, the lover of sinners, called even his closest followers “evil” (cf. Matthew 7:11). He regularly poked his finger in the eye of those who claimed their own righteousness. The moment we think we have evil licked is the very moment it wins. It’s enough to make you hate evil, and pray most earnestly, “deliver us from evil.”

Evil was conquered 2000 years ago when Jesus, in perfect faith, love, obedience, and hope endured the cross. He remained faithful even to the point of death and never let evil get the upper hand. Thanks be to God, for without him we would have no hope. Evil would thoroughly win. And no matter how good it might look initially we would all too quickly discover its bitter core and horrid impact.

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