Delivered from what:
From error to truth:
So the first thing we want to know about the doctrine of deliverance, or the theology of deliverance, is that true Christians have been delivered from error to truth. I
n Colossians chapter 1 I think we can get a good start. Here is a passage that expresses the great miracle of deliverance. And verse 13 is the notable verse, verse 13, Colossians 1:13, "For He the Father delivered us, rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son."
Back in verse 12 Paul says, "We therefore give Him thanks because He has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."
Now here you have that very familiar biblical contrast between darkness and light. We have been delivered out of the domain of darkness. We have been delivered into the Kingdom of the Son of His love, as the Greek literally says, which is a Kingdom made up of saints in light. Darkness is synonymous with ignorance, darkness is synonymous with error. Light is synonymous with truth. We have been taken out of error, out of darkness and delivered into a Kingdom of light ruled by the beloved Son of God, Jesus Christ. That's the first category of deliverance.
True Christians understand the truth. They have come from darkness to light. They have come from error to truth.
Psalm 119:130, "The entrance of Thy Word gives light."
"Thy Word," we read in Psalm 119:105, "is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path."
That is the first great area of deliverance. Out of the darkness of error, into the bright light of truth.
The Apostle Paul when he was commissioned to preach, according to Acts 26:18, was sent to sinners to open their eyes that they might turn from darkness to light so that darkness and light are really symbols or metaphors of error and truth. And notice please, in verse 13, that truth is synonymous with Jesus Christ. We are delivered from the domain of darkness which is the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of His beloved Son and He is the light of the world. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world and whoever comes to Me will never walk in darkness." The light is synonymous with Jesus Christ. It is synonymous with entering into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
So the first thing that is true about the delivered, the true Christians, is that they do not believe error because they have come to the light. They have come to the truth. To borrow the language of Ephesians chapter 6, they are engaged in a battle against the spiritual forces of darkness but they are triumphant because they have put on the armor of God and the first piece of armor is the belt or the girdle of truth.
A Christian is someone then who understands the truth, who has been delivered from Satan's lies to God's truth. To be saved, according to 1 Timothy 2:4, to be saved is to come to the knowledge of the truth. That's a very important verse, write that down,
1 Timothy 2:4, "To be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
That is to say, one and the same. Being saved is not some kind of mystical cryptic, some kind of inexplicable feeling. Being saved is come to the knowledge of the truth. Luke tells us in the book of Acts that when the gospel was preached on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 people believed and they continued in the Apostles' doctrine.
They started there and they continued there. A true Christian is a person who has been deposited, rescued out of ignorance and deposited in the realm of truth. They came into the realm of truth and they continue in the realm of truth. To be saved is to come to the knowledge of the truth. The Christian is someone who understands the truth, who believes the truth, who embraces the truth, who loves the truth and who submits to the truth.
And, you know, it amazes me that there are so many people in evangelicalism today, leaders in evangelicalism, pastors and writers, who believe a person can be a Christian without ever being delivered from error to truth. I'm reading today that there are those saying there are people in countries in obscure places and tribes in hidden back waters of the world who have never had a Bible and never hear the truth of Jesus Christ who are going to be saved because God is going to be gracious and kind to them and they're going to be saved even though they've never heard the truth. Well, that is a lie.
If, according to Romans 1, they live up to the light they have and if they see the creator in the creation and through reason and according to Romans 2 follow their conscience back to a lawgiver, if they live up to the light they have, Christ who is the light that lights every man who comes into the world, John 1:9 says, God will reveal more light to them and they'll come to a greater light because God will give them a greater light. But no one will ever be saved who doesn't come to the knowledge of the truth.
They're saying today that you don't have to come to the knowledge of the truth. Call all the missionaries home. Stop proclaiming the gospel to every creature, even though Jesus told us to do that. But the Bible tells us that when you're delivered, you're delivered out of error into truth and you come literally into a paradigm, a realm, a domain, a kingdom of light. In the words of John 6:45, all believers are taught by God. They possess an enlightenment which sets apart the teaching of God from all the teaching of men. True believers understand the truth as opposed to error. They have received by regeneration a new nature and that new nature has a capacity for the truth. That new nature has an infinity for the truth. That new nature has a devotion to the truth, has a love for the truth.
Simply stated, being saved demands coming to believe whole-heartedly the truth...that saves. And if you don't believe the truth that saves, you can't be saved. You have to believe the delivering truth to be delivered.