Deliverance

Concise Bible Dictionary:

See LIBERTY.

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

Like salvation, deliverance is a very broad subject in Scripture, with many applications. The need for deliverance could be from trouble resulting from sin without in men who oppose the truth (Matt. 6:1313And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13); 2 Cor. 1:1010Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; (2 Corinthians 1:10); 2 Tim. 3:11; 4:17-1811Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (2 Timothy 3:11)
17Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:17‑18)
, etc.), or it could be the result of sin the working within the believer’s heart (Rom. 7:24; 8:224O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
). However, when the topic of deliverance is in view, it is usually assumed to be trouble resulting from sin within the believer. This pertains to the soul’s experience of being set free from the working of the sin-nature (“the fleshRom. 7:55For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (Romans 7:5), etc.) within, whereby he is able to live a holy life for the glory of God.
Christians, with the best of intentions, have sought to control their sin-natures in many ways—but it has only brought them frustration and disappointment. All such human efforts have been to no avail. Men have applied asceticism (flogging the body to keep the flesh down), monasticism (trying to run away from the temptations in life by sequestering oneself from society), introspection (which only leads to morbid self-occupation), psychology (the study of human behaviour), culture, etc. As mentioned, these things always result in failure. Like the demoniac in Mark 5 who could not be tamed, the flesh in man cannot be controlled by human appliances.
What many Christians don’t realize is that the blessing promised in the gospel not only has to do with deliverance from the eternal penalty of their sins (Rom. 3:21-5:1121But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. 1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 3:21‑5:11)), but it also includes deliverance from the power of sin working in their lives (Rom. 5:12-8:1712Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 1Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. 7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 5:12‑8:17)). It is not God’s intention to leave those whom He has forgiven, justified, reconciled, and saved, in this world under the dominion of their fallen sin-natures, and without the power to walk uprightly. Therefore, we don’t need to look to human devices and methods to control the flesh (which don’t work), but to God—He has the solution. It is all part of His gift of grace in the gospel.
The subject of our soul’s deliverance is taken up in detail in Romans 5:1212Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12)–8:17. First of all, in chapter 5:12-21, we are taught that believers on the Lord Jesus Christ are no longer under Adam's headship or part of that old race, as far as their position before God is concerned. Being "constituted righteous" believers are now part of a new race of men under Christ's headship, where grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life.
Then, in Romans 6:1-101What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (Romans 6:1‑10), we are told how this transfer from Adam’s headship to Christ’s has come to pass for the believer. Acting as our federal Head (meaning that He acts on behalf of all under Him), Christ, in dying, severed Himself from the whole system of sin under Adam. In doing so, He has severed us from it too. Through our identification with Christ's death, God sees us as "dead," and thus disconnected from Adam's race and the principle of sin that dominates it (vs. 7). Furthermore, in being “raised from the dead,” Christ has entered a new sphere of life where He “lives unto God,” and that sphere is now open to all who belong to His new race (vss. 8-10). Then, in verses 11-12, we are exhorted to “reckon” (“think it to be so”) with God that these things which are true of Christ are also true of us. Thus, on account of our identification with Christ's death we are entitled to consider ourselves to be "dead indeed unto sin" but “alive unto God” in that new sphere in which Christ lives unto God. In chapter 6:13-14, we are exhorted to yield ourselves to Him and to begin practising righteousness in that sphere of life—one act at a time. And, by the repetition of good habits we become the servants of righteousness, because sin no longer has dominion over the believer.
In chapter 6:15-23, we are warned that if we choose to live in the sphere of life that pertains to the flesh, we will come under bondage to the sins that we allow. It is, therefore, imperative that we live practically in the right sphere of life wherein is a new range of objects to occupy our hearts. These things are called “the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:55For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)) and have to do with the interests of Christ. They are things such as: reading the Scriptures, praying, attending Christian meetings for worship and ministry, singing hymns and spiritual songs, reading Christian literature, listening to recorded ministry, teaching the truth, sharing the gospel, fellowship, meditating on spiritual things as we go about our daily responsibilities, serving the Lord with good works, visiting, etc. When the believer lives practically in this new sphere of life, and is thus occupied with Christ and His interests, the power of the Spirit of God will be felt in his life in keeping the flesh in check (Rom. 8:1313For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)). Thus, on this principle of displacement, the flesh will not be given an opportunity to act in the believer’s life.
In a parenthesis, in chapter 7:7-25, Paul shows that this deliverance is not accomplished through human effort, but by looking to Christ and being occupied with those things that pertain to Him. When we do that, the Spirit of God will help us live the normal Christian life, which is above the impulses of the flesh. This is illustrated in chapter 8:1-16.
The great question is: In which sphere do we live our lives? By saying, "if" in Romans 8:1313For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13), Paul shows that the onus is on the believer. God wants us to be responsibly exercised about having victory over the flesh. We have to make a conscious decision to live in the right sphere of life. This comes down to a simple matter of our wills. Our problem is that we want to surround ourselves with earthly, natural, and worldly things, and to pursue them, and at the same time expect to have the benefit of practical deliverance from the power of sin that the Spirit gives. But we can't live in the shade and enjoy the sunshine at the same time. If we pamper the flesh, we’ll hamper the Spirit! It is not that we need more of the Spirit, for God does not give the Spirit in measures (John 3:3434For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (John 3:34)). Actually, it's the other way around—the Spirit needs to have more of us! If we yield our lives to His leading, which will always be to pursue Christ and His interests, we will not lack the power of the Spirit in our lives to keep the flesh down, and thus experience deliverance.