“…who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…”
who gave Himself
Jesus “gave” Himself for our sins in the sense of grant, bestow, impart. His death on the cross was an act of grace. It is also the basis of our salvation. Jesus donated His earthly life so that we might have eternal life. No one extracted His life from Him; He donated it for us willingly. His death on the cross was no accident but within His purpose of salvation.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
“…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).
for our sins,
Jesus’ death for our sins was substitutional (Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). He was our substitute. The righteousness and justice of God required payment for sin; otherwise, God would compromise His character. Jesus paid it all; all to Him, I owe.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
We have nothing with which to pay for our sins. We are totally bankrupt toward God. God’s character is the standard for heaven, so we can never measure up to that standard (Romans 3:10-23). We have nothing with which we can barter with God. There is nothing that we can give God that is acceptable to Him. There is no exchange on earth we can offer to the bank in heaven. All that we can do is rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:5; Titus 3:5).
that He might deliver us
The word “deliver” means literally to take out. Here it means to take out for oneself. Jesus had a special interest in saving us from our sins. He took pleasure in setting us free from this present evil world. There is no deliverance apart from the work of Christ.
from this present evil age,
Sin enslaves us to this present evil age. Literally, the word “present” means to stand in, or set in. The idea is to be present or to be imminent. We need deliverance from time as well as eternity. Jesus delivered us not only from eternal suffering in hell but also from evils of the present age. Galatians addresses Christians about their legalism. His point is not about the need for salvation for non-Christians (although He does clear up distortions about the principles of Christian living by clearing up distortions about the doctrine of salvation).
Jesus’ death emancipates us “from” [out of] this present evil “age,” from this current world system. Jesus went beyond saving us from eternal judgment; He saved us from the evil of our age. The culture in North America is full of customs and practices that powerfully influence our daily lives. The attraction of this age still snares Christians. Jesus’ work on the cross spoils us for attraction to the world. Only the supernatural work of Christ can save us from the supernatural work of Satan.
according to the will of our God and Father
The “will” of God the Father here is His sovereign decree in sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Jesus did the will of God the Father from eternity by His death on the cross.
In this pithy verse, Paul draws the shape of the clash that will surface throughout this epistle. If we revert to legalism, we deny the work Christ did for us when we try to work for salvation. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus suffered all that needs to be suffered for our sins. The bad news of religion is that we need to suffer for our sins.
Jesus not only delivers us from the penalty of sin but from the power of sin.
Jesus died for more than our sins; He died to help us cope with our age, the system that influences our daily lives. He does not save us to remove us from our world but to help us cope with our world. He does not keep us from the world but shows us how to live in it.
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world” (1 Corinthians 5:9-10).
There is a natural tendency for every Christian to revert to legalism, a do-it-yourself system of works because we feel that somehow we gain God’s approval by this. However, this false doctrine minimizes the work of Christ on the cross. We imply somehow that His work was insufficient, and we have to help Him with our salvation. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we cannot earn or deserve our salvation. We lean on the finished work of Christ.