I am a fan of Amazon Prime. Our family uses it for everyday essentials to unique gifts. We have purchased flowers, books, clothing, food, furniture, and workout equipment. Someday, we may buy a car or house online. My wife and I like to surprise our parents and children from time to time with random gifts. Part of the thrill is that in most cases the order gets there in two days. I cannot wait for them to get the surprise package.
What is the funniest thing you have purchased online?
I am not a fan of checking the delivery status on normal orders. Part of the problem is I check it too often. I hate waiting for an order to “leave the station.” I do not want to read, “Undeliverable” or “Attempted delivery.” There is no way I would have missed the delivery. Even worse, is finding out the item's “point of origin” is China.
Knowing where something is delivered from helps us plan better for the future. Likewise, it is important to know from where or what we have been delivered.
One of the most intriguing stories in the Bible occurs in Genesis 32. Jacob wrestles with God. As the morning approaches and the match begins to end, Jacob realizes who it was and asks for a blessing. Genesis 32:30 reports his response, “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.’”
What does the word “delivered” mean and imply?
From what was Jacob “delivered?”
How was he and how are we “delivered?”
Scripture points out that there are at least four things we are delivered from when we become followers of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:13 states this point very directly, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” Acts 26:18 adds, “To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” The concept of light and darkness is so prevalent in Scripture, that 2 Corinthians 11:14 says, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
From what are Christians delivered?
To what are Christians delivered?
As Christians, we know God is watching out for us. Paul speaks of dangerous events in 2 Corinthians 1:10, “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” We also see this kind of deliverance in Luke 8:23, “And as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger.” The word “danger” has also been translated “jeopardy, great danger, close to sinking, and deadly peril.”
When was a time in your life that God “saved” you physically?
To better understand a word, it is helpful sometimes to see synonyms for the word. However, there are times when it is better to understand the antonym. To get a better understanding of what “wrath” is, it is necessary to look at its antonym, “peace.”
Romans 5:1 speaks of having peace with God, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is a blessing to be at peace with another, especially God. The Bible takes it a step further in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Not only do Christians have “peace with God” they receive the “peace of God.”
What is the difference between “peace with God” and “peace of God?”
The Bible speaks of two eternal destinies. We refer to them as Heaven and Hell. John 3:36 describes them as eternal life and the other as not too promising, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Christians are delivered from a place where you do not see life – death. They are also delivered from the wrath of God. God was and is so creative in creation; I do not want to imagine how creative He could be in destruction.
Romans 5:9 adds to this thought of being delivered from the wrath of God, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
How do you picture the “wrath of God?”
Christians are delivered from a place of perishing (Hell) to the place of eternal life (Heaven). That is why John 3:16 is so often displayed and quoted, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John later repeats this concept, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (10:28).
What image or memory comes to mind when you read, “no one will snatch them out of my hand?”
In 1 Corinthians 1:18, we read, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
What does that mean?
A final thought, 2 Peter 2:6-8 describes God delivering a few before He destroyed the wicked cities, “If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard).”
From memory, describe Lot. Does this passage surprise you on how he is described?
How does this story picture us and the future deliverance?
“Saving us is the greatest and most concrete demonstration of God’s love, the definitive display of His grace throughout time and eternity.” - David Jeremiah
“You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences: Salvation is all of the grace of God. Damnation is all of the will of man.” - Charles Spurgeon