“Deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13
God answers this last petition of the Lord’s Prayer by His grace. The word “grace” means something undeserved that is freely given.
God’s grace operates in many ways. One of them is called “common grace.” God’s common grace is His kindness to all people, including those who defy Him. When we pray “Deliver us from evil,” God answers this prayer through common grace.
If it is true that, by nature, we are dead in trespasses and sins, why is it that so many unbelieving people live peaceful, happy, and productive lives? Why is it that those who do not believe are often kind, patient, and considerate? The answer to this question is common grace—God’s kindness to all people, including those who have no place for Him in their lives.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:44-45). That’s common grace, “The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made” (Psa. 145:9). In His kindness to all, God not only gives what is good, He also restrains what is evil.
However bad this world is, it could be worse. However evil human beings become, we could be worse. The worst of people are not as bad as the demons of hell, and the reason for this is the restraint of common grace. God restrains through conscience, which is His gift to us, and He restrains through government, which is also His gift to us (Rom. 13:1-7).
When we pray, “Deliver us from evil,” we are asking God for common grace. “Lord, in your mercy restrain the worst in us, in our community, in our country, and in our world. Raise up people of goodwill. Grant that peace and justice will prevail.”
What are some ways you have seen God’s common grace displayed this week?