Wednesday, September 26, 2018
2 Corinthians 1:10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.
In 1972, Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox starred in a movie that is still a classic. It was called Deliverance. The stars play the roles of four city men who decide to leave their golf clubs behind for a weekend and take a canoe trip down a rushing river. They weren’t prepared for who they would meet along the way. After a series of encounters with wildlife and wild men, which result in two murders, their nightmare is finally over, or so they thought. They may have been physically delivered from their enemies, but the mental terror of what happened will be with them forever, as depicted in the last scene of the movie. We are left with the notion that there is no real deliverance from evil.
Many Christians still live with that notion firmly fixed in their minds. They believe there is a day coming when we will be delivered from evil when we reach the glorious presence of God in Heaven. But for today we must live with it. What a contrast to the words of Jesus when he instructed His disciples to pray – “And lead us not into temptation, but DELIVER us from evil.” That doesn’t mean that there won’t be evil around us. It does mean, however, that there can be no evil in us. That means both physically and mentally. The spiritual deliverance from sin found in Jesus Christ can overcome both the flesh and the mind with the deliverance from evil, if we surrender to the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
The word deliver, or one of its forms, is used 195 times in the Bible. 53 of those times are in the Psalms alone. Probably my favorite use is in Psalm 91, because it was my mom’s favorite Psalm. It says, “Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.’”
Now that’s deliverance. God is with us in our trouble. He will deliver us from our trouble. He will honor us and satisfy us in this life. He will bring us to the completion of our salvation in eternal life. All this because we choose to love Him and acknowledge His Name.
The Apostle Paul knew the reality of that kind of a relationship with God. He stated clearly to the people in the church in Corinth that he had experienced terrible and tragic circumstances. He tells them, “I have been in prison, been flogged severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” But through it all Paul continued to trust in the deliverance of God.
At the beginning of his letter to the church at Corinth he had laid the foundation of deliverance. In chapter 11 he was giving the specifics, but he had already told them the outcome of it all. He said in chapter 1 verse 10, “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” WOW! He remembered how the Lord had delivered him in the past. He was convinced that the Lord would deliver him in the presence. He had set his hope – his certainty – on the faithfulness of God to deliver him in the future. No current physical circumstance could change his emotional state because his mind was convinced that God would deliver him because of his spiritual condition.
That is a powerful statement worthy of remembrance and application to our own lives. No current physical circumstance can change your emotional state if your mind is convinced that God will deliver you because of your spiritual relationship with Him. If you are in Christ and have surrendered your life to Him for salvation, you have been delivered from sin. As a result, the Holy Spirit of God lives in you and is constantly delivering you from the influence of sin upon your mind and your emotions. Even though sin is around you, it does not need to affect you. Daily deliverance comes from listening to and surrendering to the Spirit of God. You are being delivered from sin and its influence today. Then one day, maybe soon, we who are in Christ will all be delivered from even the presence of sin around us when we meet Jesus face to face in God’s glorious presence.
Unlike the movie, there will be no last scene to your life leaving doubt as to the presence of evil. No more nightmares of terror. No more fear. God’s deliverance is complete. Start trusting it, live like you have been delivered.