The Seventh and final Petition to the Lord’s Prayer actually dovetails quite nicely with the Sixth Petition. The Seventh Petition reads, “But deliver us from evil.” Previously, in the Sixth Petition we had prayed, “And lead us not into temptation.” This is something, we were reminded of last week, that God would never actually do! But there are elements that would lead us into temptation. And with the Seventh Petition we ask to be delivered from this peril.
As usual, we will consider Dr. Luther’s explanation. He writes, “We ask in this inclusive prayer that our heavenly Father would save us from every evil to body and soul, and at our last hour would mercifully take us from the troubles of this world to himself in heaven.”
Who can count the evils of this present age! Luther listed two disastrous ones in the explanation to the Sixth Petition, namely, false belief and despair. The Ten Commandments would help us come up with a good summary of various evils. That list would include idolatry, blasphemy, disdain for God’s Word, rebellion against parents and other God appointed authorities, murder, adultery and other sexual sins, thieving, lying and defaming, and coveting. The classic Seven Deadly Sins could also be listed: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. The list goes on. No wonder Luther emphasizes that this petition is an inclusive request to be delivered!
You might be surprised to learn that the Lutheran Confessions differentiate between venial (forgivable) and mortal (deadly) sins! But the difference is not in the category of the offense, but in our treatment of the sin. Any sin for which we refuse to repent becomes a mortal sin to us. Conversely, even the most heinous offense has been atoned for by Christ on the Cross and the forgiveness can be received by repentant sinners.
And so as repentant sinners, we ask to be delivered from evil!
Since You Asked…
Why do we say in the Creeds that Jesus Christ “is seated at the right hand of the Father”? Does this mean that our Lord is far away from us?
This has little to do with Christ’s physical location. Instead it has to do with the authority he assumes. For a King to be seated on a throne is a symbolic gesture of his rule and authority. Heaven itself is a reality that transcends time and space. It is the unseen and timeless realm that underlies the visible and temporal world. We confess Christ to be seated at the right hand of the Father because we believe him to be the rightful King of the universe. Indeed, Jesus is Lord!