We easily recognize that Christ died for our sins. But why? ". . . that He might deliver us from this present evil age."
The word translated "deliver" does not just mean being delivered from bondage, the way the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt. It means instead, "rescued from the power of." The meaning "delivery away from" may be implied, but that is not the primary meaning here. The power of this present evil world lies in its ability and power to make an impression upon us or make us conform to its ways.
Paul writes in I Corinthians 5:10, "I didn't mean that you should go out of the world, but rather that you should not fellowship with one who is a brother and who has this sin." He is not talking about leaving a place but about being rescued from the power of this world to impress its ideas, manners, ways, customs, and traditions upon us. Paul reiterates this in Romans 12:2: "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mold" (Phillips). That is what we have been delivered from—not God's law, but the power of the world to squeeze us into its mold.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Childrearing (Part 3)
Many professing Christians view everything from the perspective of this world, blindly assuming it is God's world. They see certain forces of evil in it, which they feel they must oppose. In this vein, they see the Christian duty as working to make this a better world.
However, this concept does not square with Scripture. The Bible speaks of Christ “deliver[ing] us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4). Human society is not of God's making, but Satan's, as are its systems of government, basic philosophies, and business and religious practices. All nations are deceived, swayed, manipulated by the Devil (Revelation 12:9; 20:2-3). In other words, our civilization is Satan's handiwork, not God's.
God's Word tells us to flee from the midst of Babylonian society (Isaiah 52:11; II Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:4). Speaking to the Jews, Jesus says, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23). Later, when questioned by Pilate about His Kingdom, “Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here'” (John 18:36). Although Jesus lived in this world, He clearly saw Himself as a “citizen” of God's heavenly Kingdom. The same holds true of those who follow Him (Philippians 3:20).
Martin G. Collins
Would Jesus Christ Vote? (Part One)
Much of the controversy involved in this letter has to do with Gnostic Judaism, which was not the system that God gave to Moses. Judaism was the national religion of the Jews during Christ's and Paul's time, but it had only a very loose basis on the law of the Old Covenant.
Paul refers to the sacrifice of Christ here as a reminder that He fulfilled the sacrificial law—in living a sinless life and then willingly laying it down, He fulfilled the requirements of every sacrificial ordinance, such that the "blood of bulls and goats" was no longer required in a physical sense. Fulfillment does not equal absolution, however; James 2:8 shows that when we "fulfill" the royal law according to Scripture, we are doing what is right, and there is no way to stretch this into saying that we each individually do away with the law. In Matthew 5:17, Christ shows that fulfilling is the opposite of destroying. Christ's fulfilling of the Law and the Prophets is to be an example for us to follow (Galatians 6:2; Colossians 1:25; II Thessalonians 1:11; James 2:8).
The "world" being referred to here is the Greek aion and means "age"—a time period. The "present evil world" or "present evil age" which we need to be delivered from by God could be a reference to the strong influence the Jews had on the Galatians, as well as the Jews' wish to bind them (the Galatians) to the traditions and ordinances they had added to God's instruction, which He calls "burdens" elsewhere (Matthew 23:4; Acts 15:10).
David C. Grabbe
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Galatians 1:4: