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Query for the Month

of February 1999

Next up-date: March 1st 1999 (God willing).

 


Query:

 

Response:

As we saw once before, Adam did not "fall" under temptation - he exercised his right of choice and freely chose to join his wife in her transgression.

1 Timothy 2:14

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Why then do so many commentators and Bible students use the word "fall" for his experience? I believe it is because most of us want to believe that we have no choice when it comes to temptation! We want to be able to sin and then apologise by saying, "I LOST my temper", "it's my nature", etc. If Adam couldn't help it, then neither can we. None want to openly admit (not even to themselves) that the temptation was nicer than the way of God, but this is the actual fact of the matter.

But this excuse was not true of Adam, nor is it true of us. Christians, that is! A non-Christian may come to Jesus and say, "I couldn't help myself", and his or her excuse will be accepted. Not forgiven, but accepted!! Christ cannot forgive another father's children and all non-Christians are children of the devil as He reminds them.

John 8:44

You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

We are all born with the spirit of disobedience which Adam and Eve gained after they had sinned (the knowledge or experience of good AND evil), therefore we are born liars and murderers. There is no ability to live righteously in the new-born, and it is not possible to develop it during a lifetime. The only remedy is rebirth.

What the non-Christian needs is a Saviour FROM sin and a POWER to choose whether he or she will continue in it or not. And this is precisely what Jesus offers to them.

Romans 6:16-18

Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness...

But He has already given that gift to those who are Christians, so He has another message for them. He says, through His beloved disciple,

1 John 3:9-10

Whoever is born of God [i.e. the Christian] does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he [or she] cannot sin, because he [or she] is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest [or easily seen], and the children of the devil.....

These are strong words - "does not" and "cannot" - and they are ones that are often bypassed by saying, "Oh, they don't mean that". But God does mean that! He says so and offers us an alternative,

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If death is the wages of sin, and Jesus does not want us to die as He says in another place,

Ezekiel 18:31-32

Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live you.

Ezekiel 33:11

Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD [what a strong oath!], I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

then He wants us to stop sinning so that we do not die.


 

He also says that ALL power is given to Him since the resurrection,

Matthew 28:18

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth...

therefore His power which He freely offers to use on our behalf is capable of overcoming any and every temptation. He says so in one of the letters to the people of Corinth.

1 Corinthians 10:13

There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

So why is it that so many professed Christians do not seem to be able to overcome temptation? Maybe it is because they are trying to overcome in their own strength. Maybe it is because they are choosing to sin believing they have the excuse, "I fell!" Whichever way, it is because they are NOT allowing Jesus to use His power at that moment, for if He did use it, then the temptation would subside and they would be free. This is proved by the miracles He performed while on earth. There was no power which could withstand Him - not even death.

In practice, this is what should happen. The Christian approaches a situation in which he or she will be exposed to a temptation. The Holy Spirit warns of the danger and begs the individual to be saved. He does not remove the trial for that is not His work. It is good for us to be exposed to temptations and overcome them, for then those who are watching the contest may feel encouraged to try it themselves.

But it must be the Christian's choice how they handle the combat. For combat it is! Not with the temptation or the sin, but with themselves, their choice, in fact.

The person may look at the enticement, recognising it for what it is, and then may apply to his or her Saviour for salvation from THAT sin. If they do so, then Jesus steps in between the temptation and the Christian, and the power of the attraction ceases immediately. The person is able to look peacefully at that which had so strongly tempted before with a calmness which comes of being with Jesus, and then walk away (or not, as the case needs) because they have been saved by faith in His power. No attempt has been made to save themselves. Only a prayer that THEY cannot do it, but He can, has reached God's ears.

This can happen over and over again. We may ALWAYS be overcomers because it is Him and His power that is being used on our behalf. In fact, the more situations we overcome the better witnesses we are to the power of God, for those watching will know that we could not have done it of ourselves. Especially if we give ALL the glory to our Saviour!

The knowledge that we are Christians should go before us - the knowledge of Who saved us should be left behind us.

Isaiah 58:8-9

Then shall your light break forth as the morning [sunrise], and your health shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before you; [but] the glory of the LORD shall be your rearward. Then shall you call, and the LORD shall answer; you shall cry, and He shall say, Here I am.


 

It is not a sin to be tempted! The sin is in refusing to be saved from it.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace [His free gift] are you saved through faith [in His strength]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

2 Samuel 22:3-4

The God of my rock; in Him will I trust. He is my Shield, and the Horn [power] of my salvation, my high Tower, and my Refuge, my Saviour. You save me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies.

Jesus suffered terribly in the wilderness of temptation. But how did He overcome? By using the words (promises) of God which are written in the Book.

Matthew 4:1-4

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered [a very hungry man]. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

He was willing to be saved in the same way that we are, for He was our example. He says,

Revelation 3:21-22

To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that has a [spiritual] ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


 

Conclusion:

Leviticus 5:5

And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing...

Psalm 4:4-5

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

1 Corinthians 15:34

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

1 John 2:1

My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous...

God's desire for His children is sinlessness.

But just as Adam allowed his love for his wife to overcome him and then chose to sin with her, so Christians often allow their love for sin to overcome them and then choose NOT to be saved. Of course, afterwards, we come to Jesus and cry for the RESULT of it, which we don't like! But rarely do we acknowledge that we wanted to do THAT thing at THAT time. Therefore we are not being honest with our Saviour and He cannot accept our prayer. If we want to be forgiven we must be more honest with our Maker.

 


 

Spiritual Dictionary:

Sinning or not sinning?

1 John 2:1

My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And [yet] if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous...

God's desire for His children is sinlessness.

But just as Adam allowed his love for his wife to overcome him and then chose to sin with her, so Christians often allow their love for sin to overcome them and then choose NOT to be saved. Of course, afterwards, we come to Jesus and cry for the RESULT of it, which we don't like! But rarely do we acknowledge that we wanted to do THAT thing at THAT time. Therefore we are not being honest with our Saviour and He cannot accept our prayer. If we want to be forgiven we must be more honest with our Maker.


Next thought. To be discussed from March 1st 1999.

 

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