by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 12 September 19, 2010 Dayton, Texas
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1901 ASV Translation:
4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father:
5 to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I. The Apostle's Greeting.
A. The issues of "grace" and "peace".
1. The significance of "grace" [See notes for Aug. 29(018)].
2. The significance of "peace" [See notes for Sept. 5(020)].
B. The focus upon the action of the "Lord Jesus Christ".
1. In this text, it was the "Lord Jesus Christ" Who did the "giving" of Himself for our sins [See notes for Sept. 12(022)].
2. In this text, the "giving" was designed to "deliver us".
a. This raises the issue of Paul's concept of the impact of Jesus' death for our sins in respect to what he calls "this present age".
b. This, obviously, needs some careful thought.
1) The term for "deliver" is a word not used often in the New Testament (it is found eight times, five of which are in Luke's record of The Acts).
a) Jesus used the word in Matthew 5:29 to describe the action of digging an eyeball out of its socket. The same meaning is used again in a kindred context in Matthew 18:9.
b) Stephen used the word in his message in Acts 7 to describe what God did for Joseph after he had suffered a great number of "afflictions" (7:10) and also used the word to describe God's intention of sending Moses to Egypt to get His people out of that place (7:34).
c) Peter used the word in Acts 12:11 to describe his "deliverance" by an angel from prison, from "the hand of Herod", and from "the expectation of the Jews".
d) A Roman soldier used the term in Acts 23:27 to explain how he had used soldiers to keep the Jews from killing Paul.
e) Paul used the term in Acts 26:17 when he claimed that God had committed to "delivering" him from "the people" as well as the Gentiles for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.
f) The last time we find this term in the New Testament it is in our current text and is used as a most profound "summary word" to lay out at least one of the more fundamental reasons for Jesus' "self-giving" unto death.
g) Summary: The word Paul chose to use always means that there is a "delivery" from the described "setting". It sometimes indicates an actual change in physical location, but it always indicates a frustration of the intentions of those who are attempting to do some damage to the one so "delivered". If an eye is attempting to "offend", it can be removed from its socket so that its intention is defeated. If Herod intends to kill Peter, he can be frustrated if Peter is set free from his prison cell. If the Jews intend to kill Paul, they can be frustrated by the actions of the soldiers. Etc. Thus, "to deliver" means "to preserve someone from some intended disaster". Though the etymology of the word does not indicate it, the use of the word always involves this notion of "intended disaster" and it always involves some form of "frustration" in regard to that intention.
h) Therefore, in our current context, the "self-giving" of the "Lord Jesus Christ" was deliberately planned to frustrate some approaching disaster.
i. The first of the issues of the approaching disaster involves "our sins" because they are the objective of the "self-giving". There are two most notable problems with "our sins". The first is what "sins" accomplish all bythemselves in a "relational" universe -- the overt destruction of good relationships and everything they are capable of producing as "persons" pull back from the relationship. The second is what "sins" sponsor in terms of an active reaction by those who, though they are pulling back, often take some retaliatory shots because they are negatively impacted by those sins (including all "persons", but having a most fundamental inclusion of God Himself as a Reactor to sins).
ii. The second of the issues of the approaching disaster involves what Paul called "this present evil age".
2) The "present evil age".
a) The term I have translated "age" (in distinction from "world" as the AV renders it) is used extensively in the New Testament and generally carries a connotation of a segment of Time that is notable by reason of some dominant characteristic. It is not so much a "season" (a period of time in which certain intentions come to fulfillment -- such as a "season" for figs in which the figs have come to their intended ripeness) as it is a block of time that has been established so that certain activities can take place.
b) By Paul's own hand, he identifies this "age" as "evil", thus indicating that it is marked by God's permission of all manner of activities that are designated "evil". The word chosen to express "evil", according to the OnLine Bible's comparison, has to do with the impact that something has that is not what it ought to be and, for that cause, creates a harmful result. This "age" is "evil" because it lacks the desire and power of "good" and, consequently, instigates an ever-growing cycle of degenerative impacts.
c. The implication of Paul's declaration of Christ's purpose in "self-giving for our sins" is that we are within an "age" wherein a host of harmful influences are at work and it is God's plan to remove us from that.
1) The main questions are these: when are we to be "delivered"; and how are we to be "delivered"?
2) It is clear from Romans 8:20-23 that our bodies are not to be "delivered" until "the adoption". 2 Corinthians 4:16 further establishes this reality: the "outward man" is gradually disintegrating.
3) It is equally clear from all of Paul's letters, written into a context of spiritual conflict wherein real consequences take place, that our souls and our spirits are not "out of it" ("delivered") at the present time. If we were "delivered" we would not be subject to the real possibility of soul/spirit damage.
4) Therefore, we must infer that the "deliverance" is an element of our "hope", a matter that precludes current realization through deferment until the time (Romans 8:24) of Jesus' coming (though a major element of this deliverance will occur at the point of physical death).
d. This question then arises: since Paul affirmed the "renewal" of the inner man in both 2 Corinthians 4:16 and Colossians 3:10, to what degree are we currently "delivered"?
1) In Romans 12:2 Paul both insisted that we be "not conformed to this age" and that we be "transformed". These commands demand that there be some sort and degree of "deliverance" from "this age".
2) In the Colossians 3:10 text we are told that the inner man is renewed by means of the knowledge of the One Who created that new man. This has to mean that the degree of "deliverance" is directly tied to the degree of understanding of the knowledge that one possesses.
3) In theory, perfect love and perfect peace would insulate and isolate one from the damage of the evil of the present age. In practice, our best hope is progression toward those "perfects".