August 6, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9 through 13:
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your
name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the
evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever.
The next phrase of The Lord’s Prayer is a bit of a difficult one to properly discern. But let’s have a go at it.
• Verse 13 – “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” The first thing that comes to my mind is what James writes in James 1:13 through15:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God can-
not be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one
is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then,
when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full
grown, brings forth death.
So it is not God who leads us into temptation! Who then does? The answer is in the next part of the phrase of The Lord’s Prayer under study: “…but deliver us from the evil one.” Satan is called the tempter in Matthew 4:3 and I Thessalonians 3:5. The devil is the one who tempts! (see Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2 and 13; I Corinthians 7:5). But he does not work alone – and I don’t mean his helpers, the demons! Satan has a ready partner in the old nature within us. And we all have that old nature – the only nature possessed by the non-Christian, and one that resides alongside of the new nature God gives to Christians when they are born again (see Ezekiel 36:26 and 27; II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). As James says above, “…each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed…” – and the devil adds his enticement to our own!
The old nature is also called:
▸ the old man – Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9
▸ the flesh – Romans 7:18 and 25; 8:1 through 13; 13:14; Galatians 5:16 through 24; 6:8; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 2:11 through 13; II Peter 2:18; I John 2:16
▸ the carnal mind – Romans 8:7
It is the old nature that readily answers “Yes!” to the devil’s temptations. That’s why Christians must feed and strengthen the new nature God has given them! And, as Paul wrote in Colossians 3:10 (RSV), “…the new nature…is being renewed in knowledge [of the Word of God] after the image of its Creator.” So get in your Bible to make strong that new nature so you can resist temptation!
But even if God does not “…lead us into temptation…,” He does allow us to be tempted and tested so we can learn to resist and grow strong in our dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ! That’s what He did with His own Son, Jesus Chris, in His humanity. It says in Luke 4:1 and 2, He “…was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…[to be] tempted forty days by the devil.” But also remember that although God does allow us to be tempted, He has promised us in I Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God
is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but
with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to
By the way, it is not only the devil who tempts and pulls the old nature away from God. In I John 2:16 is says, “…all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh [desire to enjoy things], the lust of the eyes [desire to obtain things], and the pride of life [desire to achieve things] — is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Lust or desire which is pursued for sinful gratification will pull us away from God! Billy Graham, in a article in Decision Magazine, May 2007 entitled “Are You A Carnal Christian?” summarized the three enemies of the Christian life that lead us into temptation as, “…the world, the flesh and the devil.” Graham writes:
The first enemy…is the world….this present evil world…everything around us that has a tendency to lead us into sin….Certain elements of daily life are not sinful in themselves, but they can lead to sin if they are abused….Making money is necessary for daily living. But money-making is apt to degenerate into money-loving, and then the deceitfulness of riches…spoils our spiritual life. (see I John 2:15).
The second enemy…is the flesh….It is the birthplace of all those ugly sins that so easily mar the Christian’s joy and hinder his or her testimony. The sins of temper, irritability, moodiness, jealousy, pride, selfishness, an unforgiving spirit, anxiety and fretfulness, harshness, complaining, criticism, lust–all of these things characterize the flesh. (see Romans 7:18).
The third enemy…is the devil….His objective is to defeat the will of God in the world, the church and the Christian….Satan is busy in the world, sometimes appearing as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14), and other times as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8).
So when we pray, “…do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” We are beseeching God to keep us from being overcome by the devil, and away from any temptation or testing which will be beyond our capacity.