Good and evil collide at this point in the world’s most famous prayer.
“Do not bring us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” is the third and final petition in The Lord’s Prayer.
Following on from seeking forgiveness as a lived response to the first half of the Lord’s Prayer, David said it makes sense that we would ask for God’s deliverance.
“Naturally, we would together want to be saved from the times of trial because it is when we fail in [them] that we most need forgiveness, particularly from one another,” David said.
The big idea
“God is not trying to catch us out. He is just trying to show us how reliant we are on him.”
God is not the tempter to sin but temptation to sin will come.
Faith in Jesus ensures the Holy Spirit is at work in Christians to “enable us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and ‘Yes’ to righteousness”.
- Different interpretations of “do not bring us into temptation”, across the history of Christianity. For example, during the 4th Century, influential “Desert Father” Gregory of Nyssa understood it as ascetism (withdrawal from the world corrupted by sin).
- Around the same time, another influential Christian leader, Augustine of Hippo, understood Jesus to be “encouraging us to pray that God will lead us through times of trial and save us from temptation”.
- Many Christians today run with this second approach (God’s protection across situations in the sinful world), more than former (God’s protection by removing self from sinful world).
- “A temptation, or a test, is an opportunity for us to [do] what will bring Jesus glory” – or to “choose our own way over God’s way”.
- Implied at this point in The Lord’s Prayer – and borne out by the New Testament – is the certainty that “in a world marred by sin, death and evil, we will be tested”.
- Jesus’ temptation in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-13) demonstrated the “dynamic” available to Christians of the Holy Spirit guiding us to God’s way, not toward evil.
- The end of this petition can be translated “evil” or “The evil one” (Satan, who is the “enemy of God’s people” as David described).
- Temptation to evil can come from sources external or internal.
- Luke 4:1-13 – Jesus’ temptation in the Wilderness. French reformer Jean Calvin said followers of Jesus should also expect temptation because “the servant is not greater than the master”.
- Romans 8 – “An expansion of what Jesus is asking us to pray” at this point in The Lord’s Prayer.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 – Succinct summary of temptation being certain and common to all; faithful God knows what you can endure; and God shall provide a way out.
- James 1:13-15 – “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…”
Our Father in Heaven. Your name be honoured as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Do not bring us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. In the power of the Spirit, give me the clarity and understanding to recognise when I am being tempted away from your ways. Reveal to me the escape route from sin. Grant me strength to endure the trials I confront. Turn all of our hearts, minds and soul to Jesus as the example of not succumbing to evil. Amen.
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Feature image: The Mount of Temptation where Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting and meditating / Canva Pro