“I Am Delivered”
If you are on any social media platform, it is safe to assume that you have seen videos, memes, tweets, and statuses with the words spoken by a man named Andrew Caldwell at the 107th Cogic Holy Convocation. If you haven’t seen the video, Andrew tells a large crowd of attendees that, “He’s not gay no more” instead, “He has been delivered.” He proceeds to mention how he no longer likes men, and how he will marry a woman. Though this video has been perceived as comedy by some, encouragement for others, and a scam to a few, I believe it has allowed the topic of deliverance to rise to the surface in conversations among many African-American believers.
I Have Been Delivered
I have been delivered from a lifestyle of homosexuality, too. I experienced same-sex attraction as early as 5 years old. I didn’t act out on these desires until my senior year of high-school — when I entered into a long-term relationship with a woman. This lifestyle progressed into me becoming a stud (a lesbian female who takes on the dominant role in a lesbian relationship as well as dressing in men’s apparel). But God, in His grace, met me at 19 years old, showed me my sin and it’s consequences along with His beloved Son and the promises available to me if only I’d repent and believe in His name. My life was forever changed.
With that said, the statements of Andrew Caldwell hit home for me because in my own personal experiences along with the hundreds of stories I have heard from Christians struggling with same-sex attraction or Christians that once lived a homosexual lifestyle, it seems as if the concept of deliverance has been defined more by leaders and members of charismatic black churches than from the scriptures. Leading to a form of evangelism, preaching, and testimonies that lean away from the gospel and headfirst into unbiblical ideas about deliverance.
The common view of deliverance that I plan to address sees it as being freed from a certain “stronghold” or sin in ones life that leads to the eradication of any of the temptations or desires that would lead someone to walk in a particular sin again. Lest they were never really delivered in the first place. We hear hints of this in the testimony of Andrew Caldwell with the statement, “I don’t like men anymore.” Granted, God is able to deliver us in ways that are utterly miraculous, but is this particular view in line with the deliverance mentioned in the Scriptures?
Deliverance in the Bible
In seeking to find out what God’s word has to say about deliverance, I learned that there are 109 Old Testament and 53 New Testament references to the term. Most Old Testament texts that speak of it refer to God rescuing His people from a place or situation of danger or oppression.
For example, after God had freed Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh a
nd the iron hand they were under while in Egypt, Moses had a conversation with his father in-law Jethro about all that God did for the people of Israel. Jethro responds by saying, “…Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered [to strip, plunder, be delivered, snatch away] you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.” ()
In New Testament texts, “deliverance” is often presented as an outworking of what Christ has done on behalf of those whom He has called to Himself, namely His church.
For the believer, God has delivered us from the bondage and realm of darkness we once walked in. And He has transferred us into the kingdom of Christ. Delivered from darkness into light. From bondage into freedom. Deliverance is not just the compartmentalized removal of a sin. Rather, it is the complete transformation of a person who is a slave to sin into a slave to righteousness.
The Old and New Testament texts on deliverance all point to one common theme: God’s salvation. When God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, He was saving them out of the bondage and oppression that they were subjected to. When God saves people in the 21st century, He is doing the same thing. The difference is that the bondage humanity is under is not merely a political dictatorship; it is sin, which is an inherent desire to rebel against God. It’s a missing of His perfect mark willingly. This sin manifests in our lives in a myriad of ways. For me, it was homosexuality, arrogance, laziness, drug abuse, and lust (to name a few). For others, it could be self-righteousness, fear, worry, pride, etc. How does God deliver us not only from these sins, but from the incapability’s within our souls that we have when trying to resist them?
He saves us.
God provided a way of a escape through the death and resurrection of His son. All who turn from their sins and put their faith in Christ will be delivered from the penalty of their sins and given power by the Holy Spirit to flee from the sins that so easily beset them.
John MacArthur puts it this way, “Salvation is deliverance. That’s how the prophets said it, and that’s how the New Testament affirms it. So we are delivered from sin. We are delivered from wrath. We are delivered from the world. We’re delivered from enemies. And, of course, the greatest enemy is Satan, and we are delivered from him and from his kingdom.”
Now that we’ve looked at how the Bible defines deliverance, let’s talk about some application. Understanding the Biblical View of Deliverance should do two things.
Application #1: A biblical understanding of deliverance should impact how believers view their temptations.
Growing up in the Baptist church and being a new believer while attending an apostolic-Pentecostal church greatly influenced how I viewed my temptations early in my Christian walk. I either saw them as “spirits” trying to attack me (to be clear, I do still believe a believer can be demonically influenced when it comes to sin, but the greater responsibility still lies within the heart of man; see ) or a sign that I was not fully delivered yet.
The danger in this thinking is that the believer struggling with temptation can lose focus on their identity in Christ and the promises of God given to the believer because of the gospel.
For example, let’s consider the man who has been saved by God, but is still dealing with homosexual temptations. If his view of deliverance is that those kinds of temptations should not exist any more in any capacity, he can potentially begin to believe that He is not actually a child of God, which is his identity and position in Christ regardless of how he feels. But instead he begins to believe the lie that he must still be gay. Which could further lead to an increased pre-occupation with self, decreased faith in the power of Christ, and a failure to fight sin.
To believe that deliverance is the complete absence of temptation is not found anywhere in the scriptures. We are actually reminded about temptation in relation to the believer time and time again.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape that you may be able to endure it.” ()
“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrew 2:18)
Some of the texts above not only mention temptation in relation to the person who has already been delivered by God, but they also continue to point the believer back to the hope they have in Christ in the midst of their struggles. So, Christian, you must remember:
- In your temptations, God is faithful.
- In your temptations, God provides a way of escape so that you can endure.
- In your temptation, Christ can help you.
- In your temptation, Christ can sympathize with you.
Having a right view of deliverance can keep the believer from falling into the sea of constant discouragement and strengthen the hope they have in Christ by increasing their faith in His promises.
Application #2: A biblical understanding of deliverance should impact how believers communicate the Christian experience to others.
Testimonies such as Andrew Caldwell have the potential to highlight the power of God in being able to set people free from certain sins. But they also can give a distorted view of the Christian experience if not presented alongside other biblical products of salvation.
For me, when I first came to the faith, my temptations with women, lying, and the like did not completely disappear. Yet, I was pretty convinced that God had saved me because along side my temptations came a greater desire to die to them instead of submit to them.
As I began to share my testimony at churches and schools, the common thought that I worked hard at trying to dispel is that being delivered from homosexuality and sin as a whole does not necessarily mean that you wont still deal with certain temptations and learned sin habits. Statements like ,”I don’t like men” anymore can create the notion that ‘if I am to be a Christian, then many of my struggles should go away over night.’ And this is not true.
In sharing our testimonies of deliverance or when speaking with unbelievers or new believers about the topic, we must be sure to communicate the balance of still having temptations and a sin nature as well how those coincide with the process of sanctification in the life of the believer.
Since true deliverance is salvation, one of the truths of the Christian experience is that indwelling sin does still exist. There is a constant dying to self that must take place daily. But right along side that is the awareness that when the believer was saved, they entered into the process of sanctification. The practical progression of holiness in the believers life. Therefore, to expect certain sins or affections to be gone overnight is unrealistic.
Unbelievers must hear of and new believers must be taught that a crucial part of the Christian experience in alignment with the process of sanctification is being apart of a solid local church that will equip them for the work of ministry and grow them up in the knowledge of the Son of God. From the preaching of God’s Word, to small group, discipleship, prayer, daily devotionals and bible studies alone with God, all of these spiritual disciplines play a factor in the Christian experience, and should not be neglected when discussing biblical deliverance.
Are you delivered?
For the Christian, the child of God, and The friend of Jesus, if God has saved you and reconciled you to Himself, you can proudly say to anyone who asks, “Yes, I have been delivered!”
10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. (ESV)
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (ESV)
2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (ESV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (ESV)
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. (ESV)
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (ESV)