Deliverance, in charismatic and Pentecostal circles, refer to the ministry that sets people free from demonic oppression and activity in their lives. Deliverance in this narrow sense is definitely one of the benefits of receiving Christ’s finished work. It is quite clear from Colossians 1:13 that God has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness under Satan’s rule, to the kingdom of light, under the lordship of Christ. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son”. In the next chapter verse 15, apostle Paul gave the basis of this deliverance as the finished work of Christ: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Satan was defeated by Christ through his death and resurrection, and we Christians are no longer under his dominion or power.
Other attacks of the devil
Deliverance is not merely being set free from the demonic oppression. We also do not have to be afraid when we go through trials and temptations because the devil has no power over us. During such times, as in the case of the Christians apostle Peter wrote to, the devil prowls around persecuted Christians like a hunter after its prey, seeking to devour them, but if they dug in, endured suffering and persecution, and resisted the efforts of Satan to coerce them to give up our faith, they will be victorious (1 Peter 5:5-9 compare with 1 Cor 10:13).
Deliverance includes overcoming Satan’s fiery attacks on our mind and body. Jesus was attacked in his mind, appetite and desires during his forty days fast, and it was his faith in God that delivered him from the devil’s lies. In the same way, deliverance for all Christians can come through putting on the whole armour of God and fighting the fight of faith, and victory is possible only because of Christ, who is our shield, sword, belt, breastplate, helmet, and shoes (Eph 6:12-17).
Other kinds of deliverance
By extension, deliverance includes our deliverance from the coming wrath of God on the day of judgment (1Thess 1:10), from the power of sin in our life (Rom 7.23), from the power and influence of a world-system that does not bow to Christ (Gal 1:4), and from earthly enemies and persecutors(2 Tim 4:18).
The Old Testament has a more physical idea of deliverance and the main one was God’s rescue and deliverance of the people of Israel out of danger, death and bondage to slavery in Egypt in the Red Sea miracle. Of course this event pointed to Christ’s salvation of people who are slaves to sin, death and the devil. However, the physical and practical aspects of deliverance is for us as well.
The meaning of deliverance in the Old Testament was defined by the experiences of people in trouble and this includes sickness (Ps 107:20), fears (Ps 91:3), troubles (Ps 50:15), persecutors (Jer 1:7,8) and enemies (2 Sam22:1), and most relevant to us in these days of Covid-19 pandemic – deliverance from plagues (Ps 91:3). Israelites have experienced countless deliverances in their lives and so describe their God as the Deliverer (2 Samuel 22:2; Ps 40:17). We Christians can experience all these too, because it is in God’s nature to deliver and rescue and save his children. Christ’s finished work is an expression of God the Deliverer, and we should not limit our expectation of deliverance to spiritual blessings only, but to include the practical day to day occasions when we need his intervention and rescues.
(This is part 4 of a series: “A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”)