Delivered from this present evil world

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 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: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Gal. 1:3-5

We believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation. There is a lot that goes into that statement, but one of the things that necessarily belongs to an embrace of God's sovereignty in salvation is that our Lord Jesus Christ is a successful Savior. And that is just to say that he saves those for whom he died. Hence, those who believe in the sovereignty of God's grace typically also embrace the doctrine of limited atonement (or particular redemption, as it is sometimes called). Since we know that not everyone is saved, then it must be that Christ did not die for everyone. Instead, we affirm, with the Bible, that he died for the elect, for those whom the Father gave him, the church, his sheep, and so on. It is true that Christ died for the world (Jn. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:2), but we must take that kind of language in the context of our Lord's coming to open the gospel to both Jew and Gentile. In the New Testament, the "world" doesn't mean all without exception, but all without distinction in the sense of Jew and Gentile. After all, the elect are in every kindred, nation, and tongue (Rev. 5:9). And all the elect must and shall be saved.

But what does it mean that Christ is a successful Savior? It means that what he meant to accomplish on the cross will be accomplished. And here is where Paul's words to the Galatians are instructive: Christ did not just die so that the elect make it to heaven in the end. He died so "that he might deliver us from this present evil world." To be saved from this present world at least means that the elect are being presently sanctified and conformed more and more to the image of Christ instead of being conformed to the world (cf. Rom. 12:1-2). It means that they are turning from idols to serve the living and true God (1 These. 1:9-10).

It's important for us to understand that God's grace is not praised and honored in the salvation of people living in sin. God's grace is praised and honored in the salvation of his people from a life of sin - it is praised when they are delivered from this present evil world. He came to save us so that even though we are in the world, we are not of it (Jn. 17:15-19).

So how are you with the world? Is it your dear friend? Have we adopted its values and cherish its pleasures? May it never be! As the apostle James asked, "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (Jam. 4:4). Christ did not come to leave us friends with the world and enemies of God. He came so that we willingly drop our hostility to God and our love with the world for a glad obedience to Christ. Let the purpose of God in the death of his Son encourage and motivate us to put off the ways of this world, and let us make it our own purpose to save ourselves from this untoward and wicked generation (Acts 2:40).

By: Jeremiah Bass