D. God provides escapes from temptation.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians,
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape …” (1 Co 10:13).
We do not profess to know how God makes the way of escape from some mountain of trial we must overcome. Our lack of knowledge concerning how God provides the escape, however, does not mean that He will not so work in our lives to help us make our way over, around or through mountains.
It may be that God provides the wisdom that is necessary in order to perceive the way of escape (See Js 1:5,6). Whatever He does, we must believe that a way of escape is provided if we will ask for it, and then take the way of escape. If we are to believe what the Holy Spirit is here saying through Paul, then we must assume that God works in our lives in order to provide escapes.
E. God delivers from evil workers.
While in prison, Paul was confident that God would deliver him from evil works. He wrote to Timothy, “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Tm 4:18; see Pv 2:6,8,12,16; 2 Th 3:2; 2 Tm 3:11; 4:17).
Paul believed in the power of prayer. He believed that God the Spirit could and would deliver him from prison. He wrote to Philemon, “But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you” (Pl 22). Paul asked for the prayers of brethren for he had faith that God would work in the environment of his affairs in order to answer those prayers.
“Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us“ (2 Co 1:9-11).
Peter also believed that “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Pt 2:9).
These deliverances for which Paul and Peter prayed, and for which they asked the brethren to pray, were not deliverances as Peter was immediately delivered from prison by an angel in Jerusalem (At 12:1-11). These were the works of God behind the scene, and thus, they were not perceived through the senses, but through faith. The fact that the early saints prayed for deliverance, therefore, is evidence that God works in some ways that are beyond our sense perception. Nevertheless, it is a work of God the Spirit to bring about that which is good.
[Next in series: Nov. 31]