Lead Us Not Into Temptation but Deliver Us From Evil – Part One

Matthew 6: 3

The Greek word for temptation is “peirasmos.” It has two possible meanings. One means to entice one to sin. The other means to test or try.

James 1: 13, 14 says God cannot tempt us to sin.

Therefore, in interpreting the phrase in the Lord’s prayer “lead us not into temptation,” does not mean to tempt to sin.

Paul Thigpen offers insight into the Model Prayer.

Jesus did not say “Don’t tempt us,” but “don’t lead us into temptation.”

Even Jesus was tempted. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4: 1) In this passage peirasmos was used in the sense of testing or trial, not to induce Him to sin, but to reveal His capacity.

Scripture shows God uses trial to reveal what is in a person’s heart. 

Abraham was tested to sacrifice Isaac. His response indicated it was not in his heart to disobey God by not sacrificing Isaac. God did not want human sacrifice, but He wanted Abraham to show his will to do it, and then upon showing his willingness to obey, God stopped him.

David was tested by his desire regarding Bethsheba and failed the test. He later contritely repented and committed himself to the Lord which showed what was really in his heart. He learned the lesson regarding his own weakness.

Tests are files that rub off the rust of self-confidence.

God allows trials so we can provide a witness to others and examples of God’s sufficiency in face of His enemies.

Paul told Timothy, “Train yourself to be godly.” (I Timothy 4: 7)       

God does not tempt us Himself, but He allows us to be tested. Martin Luther said, “My temptations have been my masters in divinity.”

We pray not to be led to temptation because of our concern about our capacity to handle it and we don’t want to fail God. It means I don’t even want to be in a position to fail God. 

Later in the passage it is said, “Deliver us from evil.” This can be translated as “rescue” us from evil. This is a confession of our weakness, and is an appeal to be rescued from what evil things can be done against us.

It would be false pride and over self-confident to pray, “Go ahead, put me to the test.” Rather pray as Jesus instructed us to in His model prayer.

“There has no temptation taken me but such as is common to man: But God is faithful, Who will not suffer me to be tempted above that which I am able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that I may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 10:13

“I count it all joy when I fall into various temptations; knowing this — that the trying of my faith works patience.” (James 1: 2, 3)