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Pastor's Corner

Pastor's Corner


Teach Us To Pray, Deliver Us From Evil

Sunday we considered the fifth petition, "forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors." We create relational debt with each other and God every day. The question is what do we do with that relational debt? As part of teaching us to pray, Jesus says we ask for pardon. Jesus assumed the cost of our trespasses, and since we can't cover that cost, we ask for pardon by faith in Christ. Since we've been pardoned, we handle our daily sins the same way, by resting in his unfailing grace. As recipients of that forgiveness we assume the debt that others create with us. How we handle others' relational debt is evidence that we understand the grace we've received.

This week we consider the sixth petition, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." The second half of the request makes sense for we know that evil exists and entices us to succumb. Martin Luther said, "The devil is as big as the world, as wide as the world, and he extends from heaven down into hell." (The Legacy of Luther, ed. Sproul and Nichols, pg. 69) Asking God to deliver us from evil means asking for protection from the forces of evil, acts of evil, but especially the temptation to sin.

The first half is curious to most of us. What does it mean to ask God, "lead us not into temptation"? James insists that God isn't tempted by evil and he doesn't tempt anyone (James 1:13). If God doesn't tempt anyone then why would we pray for him to not lead us into temptation? The Larger Catechism says, "God ...may so order things, that we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations." (LC Q/A 195) Why would God "order things" in this way?

Come Sunday, and let's consider the answer as we listen to Jesus teach us to pray

~Pastor Tim