Heidelbasics: Brief Weekly Reflections on the Heidelberg Catechism by Rev. David Fagrey, Pastor of Grace Reformed Church of Rapid City, SD
127. What is the sixth petition?
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one;” that is, since we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand a moment, and besides, our deadly enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh, assail us without ceasing, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we may make firm stand against them and not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, until finally complete victory is ours.
It is Satan, not God, who tempts us to sin (James 1:13). But God does lead us into temptation; just as He once led Jesus into temptation (Matt. 4:1). Therefore, we pray that our Father would not lead us to a place where we will be tempted to sin. Our heavenly Father leads us into temptation so we learn how weak we really are (Deut. 8:2). Peter found out the hard way that he was powerless to resist the temptation to deny Christ three times! None of Christ’s disciples listened to His warning, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Without Christ, we cannot resist temptation (John 15:5), which is why we must seek His help. We need to pray to be delivered from our three deadly enemies that attack us without ceasing: the devil (1 Pet. 5:8), the ungodly world (John 15:9; 1 Cor. 15:33), and our own sinful flesh (Rom. 7:18-24). The devil “is the author, leader, and architect of all malice and iniquity” (Calvin); and he seeks to use our other two enemies against us (John 13:2; Matt. 16:21-23; 2 Tim. 2:23; 1 John 5:19). Satan cannot take away our salvation but he can take away everything else, if God permits (remember what he took from Job!). We need to pray, “Deliver us from evil.”
128. How do you close this prayer?
“For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever;” that is, all this we ask of You, because as our King, having power over all things, You are willing and able to give us all good; and that thereby not we, but Your holy name may be glorified forever.
The word “for” indicates the reason we can be confident our Father will answer these six petitions. “You are the best king. Therefore, You will give to Your subjects what is necessary and tends to their salvation. You are most powerful. Therefore, You will show your power in giving these greatest of all gifts, which can be given by none, besides You. It shall contribute to Your glory. Therefore, You will do it” (Ursinus, 658). This prayer is rooted in the OT. “Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all” (1 Chron. 29:10-11).
129. What is the meaning of the word “Amen”?
“Amen” means: so shall it truly and surely be. For my prayer is much more certainly heard of God than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of Him.
Our confidence is not based on our feelings, but on the promises of the God who has caused us to desire these things from Him. This is why we can confidently say: Amen!