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If a devout Christian is not "delivered" in this life, how are they viewed by other Christians?

For example, a black Christian pastor in segregated America, who truly loves the Lord, is killed by the KKK....or a Christian fed to lions in ancient Rome.

How are the events thought of by fellow believers? (is it considered the devil winning a round, the persons fault,a question, expected reality, God's act, etc?)

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Many translations of Matt 6-13 have "from the evil one", not "from evil"; which is more specific, and not really about human concerns such as murder. Meaning: being murdered doesn't deliver you to the "evil one", and could actually (depending on the circumstances) count in your favour (martyrdom). Just a thought. (caveat: I'm a "non-religious observer" here, so my interpretations are ... questionable) –  Marc Gravell Mar 22 '12 at 22:30
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Keep in mind that "deliver us from evil" is the second half of a complete thought, the first part being about asking God to not allow the believer to fall into temptation. Trying to separate the second clause from the first is a good way to end up misinterpreting it. –  Mason Wheeler Mar 22 '12 at 22:41
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

From a purely Biblical perspective, there is nothing in God's word that promises that we will not suffer. In fact, it teaches the opposite.

From a tract put out by Living Waters Publications:

It is true that God loves you, but you decide if His plan is "wonderful." If you have heard that happiness comes through Jesus Christ, you may like to think again. The first thing Jesus said of the Apostle Paul (who wrote most of the New Testament) was that He would show him "how great things he must suffer for (His) name's sake.1 Three times Paul was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he suffered shipwreck, a night and a day he spent in the sea. There were times when Paul was so unhappy, he wanted to die.2

The Bible says, "All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."3 It says we enter the Kingdom of God through much distress,4 and that we were appointed to afflictions.5

Jesus said if we followed Him we would be reviled, persecuted, hated, and all manner of evil would be said against us falsely, for His sake. He warned that we would have to take up our cross daily, deny ourselves and follow Him, saying, "In the world you shall have tribulation," and even that we may be called to die for our faith.6 : That is 100% true. Being delivered from Evil is a valid prayer request, but we understand that it doesn't mean we will always be delivered. Someone on this site recently said "God isn't some Genie that goes around granting wishes." That's also 100% true.

The question appears to come from the perspective that "God has a wonderful plan for your life" and also a variation of the Prosperity Doctrine (where all our evils are caused by our own sin, but if we are just, we'll get whatever we desire).

I've always had a problem with both teachings. For a more lengthy discussion on the topic, I recommend Ray Comfort's book on the topic, freely available online in pdf format.

Some relevant verses:

(Mark 8:34-36) If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

(Acts 9:15-16) But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

(John 15:18-21) If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you... because they do not know Him who sent Me.

Also, the book of Job is a pretty good example of someone that God loves, suffering because God allowed it. We are reminded in that story that God is sovereign, and that He allows suffering for His purposes.

Suffering increases faith, encourages reliance on God, and destroys pride. In short, pain makes you stronger and better. It refines us as a fire refines fine metals:

(Isaiah 48:10) Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.


So, in short, when we see Believers not "delivered from Evil" we don't think it's unnatural. And we darn well should be thinking "what can I do to provide comfort or help".

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+1 for Living Waters... best tracts –  Eric Mar 23 '12 at 0:12
    
Great and complete answer –  David Laberge Mar 23 '12 at 0:31
    
I personally believe that someone else's suffering isn't necessaily their own punishment or test - it may very well be a test of the rest of us. –  Clockwork-Muse Mar 23 '12 at 18:39
    
nicely put, thank you. –  Greg McNulty Mar 23 '12 at 18:52
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For the Christian suffering for his or her faith is an honor. If it is the result of his faith not just is wrong behavior (It is not suffering for your faith, if you are uncaring for example).

The first example in the Bible that comes to my mind is :

41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ac 5:41). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

The apostle were rejoicing from the fact that they suffer "evil" because of Christ. For the Christian God is not cut short when suffering happens. He is still sovereign in the hard time as he is in great times. For as Paul said it:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ro 8:18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

The Christian hope is in living eternally with God, not on fulfilling the american dream.

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Amen to all of it, but especially the last sentence. And +1. –  David Stratton Mar 23 '12 at 0:27
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thanks for making that distinction about the American dream... –  Greg McNulty Mar 23 '12 at 18:54
    
@GregMcNulty The idea is more explain in: Radical by David Platt and Crazy Love by Francis Chan –  David Laberge Mar 23 '12 at 21:07
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