My kids and I were quite the delivery men just a few weeks ago as part of a fun outing with our homeschool group. We participated locally in the national event, Light ‘Em Up. With our cars and arms loaded with Christmas goodies, we delivered loaves of banana bread, dozens of cookies and lots of candy canes to firefighters, police men and military recruiters thanking them for their service. We had such a good time as the kids brought some holiday cheer to local community workers.This is the concept of what it means to deliver – to bring and hand over (a letter, parcel, or ordered goods) to the proper recipient or address (source: online dictionary). And this is one of the purposes of Christ’s entrance into the world, but in a more significant way.
Jesus came to dwell, destroy and deliver. Believers in Christ have been saved from the penalty of sin by Christ dwelling with us; believers are being saved from the power of sin by Christ destroying the devil’s works; and believers will be saved from the presence of sin when Christ delivers us eternally into the arms of His Father.
What does it mean that Jesus came to deliver and that He delivers us? From where and from what or who does He deliver us? And to where does He bring us? Listen to what Paul wrote in Galatians 1:4-5:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
To deliver in Greek means to pluck out, draw out, choose out for one’s self, to rescue and save. Paul wrote something similar in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 when he said that believers are waiting for Jesus to return from heaven to deliver us from the wrath to come. What is the present evil age and the wrath to come that the bible speaks of? The present evil age is living in a world that is led by unbelief and under the power of the evil one (1 John 5:9). There is a spiritual battle raging that we are not visibly aware of yet there is a heavenly fight between good and evil (Ephesians 6:10-12). And this current age (and the previous and future age until Christ returns) is in the grasp of evil.
Jesus wants to deliver, rescue and save us from evil, from the evil one and from this evil generation. He came to save us from wickedness and sin and our enemies (Luke 1:71-72). But those of us who believe in Him are still here. We’re still living in this present evil age and still battle with sin. So how does this deliverance work? Listen to John 3:17 as Jesus told Jewish teacher, Nicodemus, how people must be born again and explained why He came into the world:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
To be saved is the Greek verb, sozo, and means to be kept safe and sound, to be rescued from danger or destruction, to be delivered from the penalties of God’s judgment (source: Blue Letter Bible.) Jesus was sent by God so the world (ALL who have been created in this world) could be saved through Him – saved, rescued and delivered from God’s judgment. Believers who are still in the world have been delivered from judgment for sin and are receiving God’s goodness, kindness and love instead of judgment and punishment, a sign of the future bliss to come when we are taken away from all sin for all time.
What is God’s judgment? That the sin we are born with and have inherited from Adam leads to death and separation from God (Romans 6:23) – a separation that happens physically, spiritually and eternally. That those who are not saved in Christ and do not believe in Him by faith for the forgiveness of sin will spend eternity in hell (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9). We are no longer in God’s kindness and favor because of sin – we are His enemies (Ephesians 2). But that changes only through faith in Jesus, our Deliverer.
Jesus came to dwell with us so we could receive His righteousness to be made right with God and be saved from the penalty of sin. And Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil so that we could be free and no longer slaves of sin but saved from the power of the sin and evil through forgiveness (Luke 1:77-79). All of this goes hand-in-hand with Jesus’ mission on earth that began in the manger. He has always desired to deliver us from evil and from the evil one (as quoted in Matthew 6:13 in the Lord’s prayer) so that we could be spiritually safe, sound, healed and whole right now as we wait for His second advent.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
By dying on the cross and rising from the dead, Jesus delivered us who believe by faith from God’s wrath and judgment of eternal death and separation because HE took our place on the cross. This is the substitutionary atonement and was the final fulfillment of all the animal sacrifices that took place at the tabernacle and temple in Old Testament times. Listen to Hebrews 9:11-12:
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
When Christ died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two, signifying that ALL could not enter into the Holy of Holies through Him. All could come near to God through Jesus. The Day of Atonement, the sacred Jewish holiday, required the Jewish high priest to enter in with a sacrifice of blood for the forgiveness of sins of the Jewish people. For according to God’s law, all things are cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22).
Jesus, the great and better High Priest, acquired God’s forgiveness of sin for ALL of us by His own blood shed on the cross. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, when we believe by faith that He is the only way to be made right with and forgiven by God, we are delivered FROM being God’s enemies deserving punishment because of our sin and delivered TO being beloved children of God receiving an internal inheritance (1 Peter 1; 1 John 3:1). It’s nothing we can DO, no good work, that changes us. It is Jesus’ work as our Deliverer. Listen to Colossians 1:13:
For He (God) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
God promised to send a Deliverer, a Redeemer, a Rescuer and that He would come from Zion (Isaiah 59:20; Luke 1:71; Romans 11:26) and this is Jesus. And it all began in a manger. With a helpless baby who was sent to save the world, to seek and save the lost who like sheep were straying from their Good Shepherd and who needed to be delivered safe and sound back into the fold. And He came for you.
Yet, Jesus’ work of deliverance didn’t end at the cross or at the empty tomb. As He lives in His believers through the Holy Spirit, He is continually delivering us from sin and shame. Jesus delivered us to Himself and we are hidden in Him (safe in Him) but are still attacked by Satan, who is prowling around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). As believers read God’s word, remember His truth and memorize His promises, we are being delivered from wrong thinking, from harmful lies and from the evil one himself. From sin.
When you are tempted to withhold forgiveness from someone who is genuinely asking but grant them grace in not holding their sin against them, you are being delivered from pride. (Forgive those who ask you – Matthew 6:14)
When you choose to love someone who isn’t deserving of that love by the world’s standards, you are being delivered from selfishness. (Love one another for love is from God – 1 John 4:7)
When you choose to dwell upon God’s truth in His word that He is control and knows all things in the midst of your uncertainty, you are being delivered from fear and anxiety. (Do not fear for God is with you – Isaiah 41:10)
And don’t we always need delivering, on a daily basis? Aren’t we always tempted to fall back into old ways of thinking or into old patterns of living as we are bombarded by sin and the world around us calling us to seek ourselves, our comfort and our success first? By grace (the undeserved lovingkindess and goodness of God) we have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9) and we still need that grace daily.
But Jesus is the Great Deliverer! He is our Rescuer! And He will daily, and hourly if needed, deliver you from sinful and harmful ways into sound and holy ways – His ways. We are constantly in need of our Good Shepherd and He is ready and willing to help us. Listen to Hebrews 4:14-16:
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I’m sure you knew this was coming after three blogposts focused on the past, present and future work of Christ? So, here is what Jesus’ followers have to look forward to – a great deliverance that will take us FROM this broken hurting world TO our blessed heavenly home where there is no sin. On earth, we still live with the presence of sin – it is always around us and in us. But a time is coming when God will deliver us from the presence of sin forever! A great reason to rejoice!
Just as God delivered the Israelites out of bondage and slavery in Egypt and away from their enemies into their Promised Land (Exodus 6:6), God WILL deliver us, His people, out of this earthly home and out of our earthly tents and away from our enemies to our heavenly home and heavenly bodies for all time to live with Him forever. Where there is no sin!
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, Paul spoke of God’s deliverance in his own life as he was attacked as he preached the gospel and the plan the Lord had to deliver him again:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers…
Again Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:18: The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul knew His God and the power, strength and glory of God and trusted Him to keep His promise to bring him safely to the Celestial City where there is no sin! God will do the same for those of us who believe in Christ by faith. Listen to these great and glorious promises of our future deliverance:
Matthew 13:41-43–>The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ‘Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.’
John 14:1-3–>Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Philippians 3:20-21–>For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Revelation 21:22-27–>I saw no temple in it (the New Jerusalem), for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
If you don’t believe you are a sinner, you won’t seek to be saved and delivered from sin. You will not seek Jesus for that salvation and deliverance. We cannot come to Jesus unless God the Father who sent Jesus draws us to Him (John 6:44) and He is drawing us to Jesus through His word. The Lord has promised to forgive those who humbly come to Him seeking forgiveness. He will not turn one penitent person away for Jesus has already made provision for you to be with Him and is ready to send your sin away as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and to hurl your sin in the depths of the sea to never recall it again (Micah 7:18-19). And He will deliver us from the presence of sin in His time. No more battle with envy, pride, lust, anger, selfishness. No.more.sin. This has been His plan all along.
Go to Jesus, seek Him, believe Him. This Christmas season and every season He is calling for you. Your past. Your present. Your future. Jesus has it ALL covered. For all time.
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my enemies.
Blog series part one, part two, part three