CALL TO OBEDIENCE #435
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"But Deliver Us From Evil (the Evil One)"
By Reimar Schultze
(This is the fourth article from the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer).
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil... (Matt. 6:13). Through this petition, the Lord Jesus makes it very plain that every man’s heart is a battlefield between God and Satan. Both of these forces will test you. God does so in order to strengthen and refine you, to draw you closer to Himself; the devil does so to destroy you. In this article, as in the previous two, you will learn a little more about the devices the devil uses trying to trap and destroy God’s people.
The Devil Causes People to Criticize Others
By criticizing others, we make ourselves unjust judges over them. The devil hides behind criticism. He tells us that criticism is justified. But look at what it does: it destroys marriages, homes and churches. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves and we are to love our enemies. Therefore, if we criticize others, we violate the law of love and cannot be led by the Holy Spirit. When we criticize anyone, the demons are laughing in hell. Look at this admonition of the Apostle Paul: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love (Eph. 4:1-2).
When the Pharisees, scribes and lawyers criticized Jesus, it was the devil speaking through them to cause people to rise up against Jesus and to destroy Him. Has it ever occurred to you that criticism put Jesus on the cross? When you criticize anyone, you put that person on a cross. You need to be cleansed from the carnal nature, and then you will stop being a mouthpiece of the devil.
The Devil Is the Father of All Lies
If you ever tell a lie, then you become an instrument of the devil. The devil used the serpent to tell a lie. Speaking through the serpent, he told Eve that if she would eat of the forbidden tree, she would not die but become as a god. That was a lie. The devil told ten of the twelve spies of Israel to notify the rest of the Jews that they would not be able to conquer their enemies in the Promised Land (Num. 13:30-32). That was a lie. The devil hides behind lies.
The devil will tell you that you cannot be a victorious Christian. That is a lie. He will tell you that God will not forgive you for this or that sin. That is a lie. He will tell you that your marriage cannot get better, that it is hopeless. That is a lie. Again, this goes back to the carnal nature. The carnal nature believes these lies; it has no faith in God.
The Devil Is the Source of All Lawlessness
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders (2 Thes. 2:9).
There are many people who do not like the Ten Commandments. Here it is essential that we distinguish between the 613 laws of Moses and the 10 laws of God. The Ten Commandments were given by God, not by the mind of man. They are etched into every man’s conscience. They reflect what is in the mind of God: holiness. The Ten Commandments apply to the lives of men and women forever. You cannot go to heaven without obeying these commandments. It will always be wrong to steal, to lie and to kill. These commandments were not only given to bring you to Christ by convicting you of sin, but to be guidelines to live by after you have received Christ. Jesus will help you to fulfill them, even as He fulfilled them when He was on earth. Therein is the righteousness of God revealed.
Those who are against the laws of God are antichrists. They are among the lawless ones. They are rebels. Even Plato, the Greek philosopher who lived 400 years before the Christian era, was appalled at this rebellious nature in the heart of man and said: “I desire to note that in all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless, wild-beast nature, which peers out in sleep.” The Apostle Paul chimes in with this, saying: For to be carnally minded is death....Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:6-7).
The phrase, It is not subject to the law of God, means the carnal mind will not submit to God’s laws. However, the saint can say triumphantly: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
The Devil Is the Ruler of the World
To say flippantly and prayerlessly that God has everything under His control is strikingly incorrect. If God had everything under His control, there would be no sin in the world: no crime, no adultery, no murders, no envy, no strife, no pride, no wars nor any division in our churches. If God were in control, the world would be a paradise as it was at first. God gave man dominion over the world, but when man sinned, the devil took that dominion away from him and has been ruling it ever since. He took Jesus to a high mountain and offered Him all the kingdoms of the world, because those kingdoms were indeed under his control.
The fact is that all peopleexcept God’s children and their homesare under the control of the evil one, causing Jesus to say that the road to destruction is broad, but the road to life is narrow. Certainly, God can take control of the world by destroying all sinners, but that is not His choice. He did not come to destroy sinners but to save them. He keeps pleading with them to come to Him until they breathe their last breath.
The devil is the prince of the world. This is true, but Jesus came and spoke good news: Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out (John 12:31). What does this mean? It means that Christ’s death on the cross will be the standard by which all men shall be judged. He will have the last word as He reigns supreme over all principalities and powers, as Paul puts it so beautifully: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:19-23).
As we close this commentary, be encouraged my friend! Despite the power of the devil, You Can Have Complete Victory Now in this Life Because of the Simple Fact that You, as a Christian With Christ in You, Are Stronger than the Devil. To this, the Apostle John said: Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). The Apostle Paul also adds: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Rom. 8:37). The Apostle Peter adds the following: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3).
In addition, the Apostle James admonishes: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Who is going to flee from whom, then? Who is going to do the running? Is it you or the devil? The answer is obvious.
Essentials to Make the Devil Run from You
You must abide in Christ. There is no victory possible outside of abiding in Christ (John 15:4). Abiding in Christ, however, requires the following disciplines as beautifully portrayed by Rev. Loran W. Helm in his autobiography, A Voice in the Wilderness (p. 299):
1. Read God’s Word every day and meditate on its truth and inspirations.
2. Pray by bringing your praises, supplications and requests to Christ daily; then listen for a while for God to speak or bring some truth or leading to your attention.
3. Witness at every opportunity.
4. Obey the Holy Spirit.
Finally, take heart brave soldier of the cross: Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked (Ps. 97:10).
This concludes our series of articles on the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. They are excerpts of my new book, Praying the Will of God, available through www.schultze.org which is my website.