Christ our Deliverer
This study follows on from “The Old Man and the New Man”. We know the Lord Jesus as our saviour and we know that He has delivered us from the wrath to come. However, after we have tried to make ourselves suitable to God and failed we are able to rejoice in Him as the deliverer from our sinful lusts, desires and pride every day. He delivers us so that we might have our focus on Him and Him alone, for there we shall find true joy.
Christ our Deliverer
Our Lord Jesus is described as our deliverer from “the coming wrath”. He has saved us from God’s judgement upon sinners and set us free in righteousness. However, this study is to focus on one aspect of His being our deliverer - his being our present deliverer.
Paul describes the Lord as having delivered us from “so great a death” but then he tells us that he “does deliver” and that he will “yet deliver”. From this scripture it is clear that the Lord id continually delivering us.
“But we ourselves had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not have our trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who has delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver; in whom we confide that he will also yet deliver” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).
But what is He delivering us from at present?
“Grace to you, and peace, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, so that he should deliver us out of the present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father; to whom be glory to the ages of ages. Amen” (Galatians 1:3-5).
“The Lord shall deliver me from every wicked work, and shall preserve me for his heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for the ages of ages. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).
The Lord is delivering us from the influence of the world (see paper on “The World in the Bible”) and from every wicked work. The world’s influence appeals to what the Bible calls “the flesh” (i.e. our sinful nature that has been condemned by God). The Lord is our deliverer from the world’s influence and the attacks of the ‘the world’.
Deliverance from ‘the flesh’
However, there is another way in which the Lord Jesus acts as our deliverer. He delivers us from the influence and desires of our ‘old man’, ‘the flesh’.
“For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring in opposition to the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which exists in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of this body of death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I myself with the mind serve God's law; but with the flesh sin's law. There is then now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent his own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, has condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law should be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh but according to Spirit” (Romans 7:22-8:4).
Paul describes this experience where he finds a conflict going on inside himself. The ‘new man’ under the power of the Holy Spirit desires to be pure, holy and God-honouring, yet he finds that ‘the flesh’ in his members (i.e. his body) there is a resistance to his desire and he finds that it is hindering his service for God. He longs to be rid of this “body of death” and then he gives us the secret of overcoming the flesh - Christ is the one who delivers us from ‘the flesh’.
We can rejoice that the Lord Jesus has suffered our condemnation, not only for our sins when we were saved but has covered all our weaknesses and failings. There is no condemnation left for us to face. All our sin in the flesh has been condemned and we are free to walk in the spirit knowing that, in Christ, the righteous requirement of God’s Law has been fulfilled in us. We can rejoice knowing that our failings will not be held against us.
We may not feel joyful all the time. Paul said that at one point he even despaired of living, but this did not alter his salvation. When we fail we often find that we have blocked out God’s voice and so we experience a time when we pray like David “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and let a willing spirit sustain me” (Psalm 51:12). David had not lost his salvation, despite committing adultery with Bathsheba and organising Urijah’s death, but he became deeply conscious that he had lost the joy that comes with knowing we are saved. God did not withdraw all his promises to David. God’s promises stand regardless of the failures of His people. He did seek David’s repentance, however, so that communion together might be restored and David might experience the joy of salvation again. We also can quench the Holy Spirit, block out God’s voice, but God values the spark of affection for Him that brought us to Him in the first place and will always work to bring us back to Himself. Thus He could tell Balaam to say “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen wrong in Israel” (Numbers 23:21) and Hosea to prophesy “and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt” (Hosea 2:15). God valued the affections of Israel regardless of her future failings and though He has had to bring in much discipline Israel will receive His promises.
If we focus on the Lord Jesus and not on ourselves we will find that the flesh will succeed less and less. Satan wants us to look at ourselves, but the Lord's wants us to focus on Him and as we do so we will find that we can say with Paul “I have strength for all things in him that gives me power” (Philippians 4:13).