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Deliverance from this Present Evil Age

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Galatians 1:3-5

The Bible does not speak highly of the world, nor of the age in which we are living.  For example, through Isaiah the prophet God says, “I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11).

That the world and its ways are indeed corrupt and evil (though not originally so) is a truth that is nearly forgotten.  Rather than seek to live separate from the world, in the world but not of the world, we immerse ourselves in the ways of the world and attempt to justify our ways before God.  We seek signs and evidence of God and His ways without and within, apart from His gracious Word.  And yet, Jesus Himself says that “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign” (Matthew 12:39).  And in another place, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).

Not without reason, St. Paul writes,  “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:6-10).

By yourself, you will remain and continue digressing in the ways of the world, attaching yourself to that which is not God-pleasing and in opposition to the world’s Creator, regardless of how hard you might try.  The ways of the world and the devil and your sinful flesh are too great for you or anyone even of stature.

There is One Deliverer who has overcome the world, and who does and will indeed “Deliver us from this present evil age.”  That One is none other than Christ, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Because of this One Deliverer, you do have hope, a hope that cannot and does not fail, the hope that is everlasting, the hope which is eternal, the sure hope that is yours through faith.

Jesus’ prayer for His disciples is also His prayer for you, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:14-17).

God’s word is truth, and by that Word are you sanctified, set apart to be the people of God.  Remain in Him.  Remain in His Word.  Do not neglect the truth, but embrace it and hold fast to it.  The world and this evil age will remain such and worsen before the Lord returns.  But know this; Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  Therefore, do not fear (John 16:33).  Though you live in the world, you serve Another.  You serve He who has conquered sin and death and gives you life through this age and into eternity.  Rest in Him, all you who labor and are heavy laden (Matthew 11:28-30).  And remain confident of His deliverance.  Amen.

Luther

“Let these words of Paul stand just as they are, true and accurate, not painted or counterfeit: this present age is evil. Do not be dissuaded because there are many fine virtues in many men or because hypocrites make a great pretense of sanctity. But pay careful attention to what Paul says. Out of his words you may boldly and freely pronounce this sentence against the world: that the world, with all its wisdom, righteousness, and power, is the devil’s kingdom, out of which only God is able to deliver us by His only Son.”  (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p41).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, do not forsake us to the world nor its ways.  Help us to resist the temptation to succumb and give into doubt, despair, and further corruption.  Strengthen us in the true faith and give us a confidence, not in the world changing, but in your abundant mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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