Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Sixth Petition of the Lord\'s Prayer

April 11 - And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.

Temptation.  Ever since our first parents took of the forbidden fruit, all of mankind has known and fallen into the same trap.  It is a prison we keep finding ourselves lured into and then trapped in as the steel cage swings shut the moment that we fully embrace the hook.

Luther is here reminding us of how temptation goes, and he reveals to us in his explanation of how human nature is.  We are the ones who are lead astray. The devil, the world, and our sinful flesh lure us into sin and we are eager often to do it.  We cave, and usually there is no one forcing us into it!

The only hope we have is to turn to God.  Our cry goes up to God as we are being dragged away by our vices and sins.  “Lead me not into temptation!”  That is the cry of someone who knows they are trapped and there is only one place to go for rescue.  God is the only one who can lead us out from temptation.  He is the only one who can give us victory.
This victory happens in Jesus Christ.  The one who is tempted in every way that we are yet without sin.  Perhaps we pray in this petition that the temptation that Jesus Christ endured and won in the wilderness would be enough for us.  We pray that his victory may be our victory.

And that is the chief prayer that we pray here.  That our confidence that is put into Christ is well founded on his promises.  We pray that God would guard us and keep us from our enemies so that we are not led into a false belief in what we think is true about God.
And also to keep us from despair.  Despair is when we give up hope that Christ is our Savior.  That I am too good of sinner for Jesus to save me.  That is despair.

And then to also be guarded from shame and vice.  These things throw us into embarrassment and leave our reputation in shreds.  We ask that God guard them too.  This fits in with the needs of the 8th commandment.  We recognize here that Luther is using the Lord’s prayer to fit the needs we have from the 10 Commandments.
We do see often that we are attacked by these things and so we cry out to God to give us the victory over them through Jesus Christ our Lord.  And indeed Jesus is quick to share the spoils of his resurrected victory.
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