A large rescue team in Florida searched 5 days for young Nadia Bloom. She was lost in a swamp infested by alligators and mosquitoes. James King, a volunteer on the rescue team said he was responding to a higher voice when he decided to set out on his own. He went eastward from his home and miraculously found the young girl just 90 minutes later. She was delivered…from fear, from alligators, from insects and perhaps, from death. She was delivered to safety and to the loving arms of her fearful parents.
Deliverance means to be rescued from bondage or danger. Those in the secular world have much trouble understanding a Christian when they declare they have been saved. Saved infers preservation, like putting money in a bank or collecting pennies in a jar. Perhaps the better way of expressing what Christ has done for us is to declare we have been "delivered".
In a previous blog I stated the importance of distinguishing true Christians from false Christians. Jesus emphasized making this distinction when he admonished his disciples to "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matt. 7:15) He looked in the eyes of his disciples as he proclaimed this and saw the question there, "How will we know who is and who is not?". Christ answered the unspoken question, "By their fruit you will recognize them…a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." (Matt. 7:16,18)
Instead of asking "Are you saved?" perhaps we should ask, "Are you delivered?" Romans 11:26 says, "The Deliverer will come and He will remove ungodliness." He turns our unrighteousness into righteousness, our putrid hearts into pure hearts. What does the fruit of a true Christian look like? When we are delivered and become followers of Christ, we have "fruit unto holiness." Its foolishness to declare we can't tell who is and who is not a Christian. Christ strongly refuted this. You can look at an Eskimo all dressed in furs and tell he is not from the Congo. You can look at a Japanese woman dressed in her Kimono and tell this is not an Australian Aborigine. We can also distinguish between Christians and non-Christians by observing what they have been delivered from.
Our politically correct world will accuse us strongly of being discriminatory. Christ is discriminatory. One day he will discriminate between the goats and the sheep. It will be the ultimate act of discrimination when he will send the goats one direction and the sheep another. We do a tremendous disservice to God when we 'cover' for the non-Christians by declaring we just don't know. A word of caution, we dare not infringe on what belongs to God and God alone. We cannot know the heart of every man, true. But we can be fruit inspectors as Christ commanded us to be.
So, what have you been delivered from? Have you been delivered from alcohol addictions or drug addictions. Sex and pornography addictions are rampant in our culture today. Have you been delivered? Have you been delivered from sin? 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." It sounds almost too easy.
Have you been delivered from evil. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he instructed them to say, "…lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." Have you been delivered from the fear of death, Christ has taken away the 'sting of death'. Have you been delivered from yourself, have you taken off "…your old self with its practices and put on the new self…"
When you are truly delivered your lies are replaced with truth, your sinfulness with righteousness, your fear with faith. You will no longer love the world but you will now love Christ. You will no longer serve a ruthless enemy but you will serve a gracious Savior.
Many will declare it is a free gift. In a manner it is but don't misunderstand. Full salvation and complete deliverance will cost you….it will cost you everything. Christ demands we give him our all. No fifty-fifty deals, its all or nothing. The consequences of failing to confess or accepting his deliverance is eternally devastating. Whatever you do, make your confession real and in so doing assure your deliverance is real. For those who want a superficial relationship with Christ his warning is clear, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"