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Presumption versus faith

Query for the Month


October 2004

Next up-date: November 1st 2004 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!Flying bird


Numbers 15:

30 “But the soul that does ought [any thing] presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproaches [turns away from] the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” 

What's the difference between a presumptuous sin and an ordinary one? 


Often when Satan has failed of exciting distrust, he succeeds in leading us to presumption. If he can cause us to place ourselves unnecessarily in the way of temptation, he knows that the victory is his for then we lack the protection that God offers. Presumption is simply “presuming” that what we are doing or saying is right. But unless we check with God’s word that it is so, then we will invariably choose our own way and be disobedient.  It may be in “ignorance”, but if we have taken the name of “Christian” then we should have known the truth, for He will tell us if we ask.


The Son of God will preserve all who walk in the path of obedience; but to depart from it is to venture on Satan's ground. There we are sure to fall. The Saviour has bidden us, "Watch you and pray [and listen], lest you enter into temptation." Mark 14:38. Meditation and prayer would keep us from rushing unbidden into the way of danger, and thus we should be saved from many a defeat.


Yet we should not lose courage when assailed by temptation, for temptation is not sin, but that which leads to it. Often when placed in a trying situation we doubt that the Spirit of God has been leading us, but it was the Spirit's leading that brought Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Matthew 4: 1.  Therefore when the Son of God brings us into trial, He has a purpose to accomplish for our good which includes overcoming the temptation!


While Jesus was on earth He did not presume on God's promises by going unbidden into temptation, neither did He give up to despondency when temptation came upon Him.


Nor should we.


We should always keep in mind that "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." 1 Corinthians 10:13.  He also says, "Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay your vows unto the Most High: and call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." Psalm 50:14-15.


Thus Jesus was victor in the first and second temptations (Matthew 4:1-7), and then Satan manifested himself in his true character. But he did not appear as a hideous monster, with cloven feet and bat's wings. He is a mighty angel, though fallen. He openly declared himself the leader of rebellion and the god of this world, a tactic he had found very successful with many men and women before then. Matthew 4:9.


Placing Jesus upon a high mountain, Satan caused the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, to pass in panoramic view before Him. The sunlight lay on cities with temples of worship, marble palaces, fertile fields, and fruit-laden vineyards. The traces of evil were hidden. The eyes of Jesus, so lately greeted by gloom and desolation, now gazed upon a scene of unsurpassed loveliness and prosperity. Then the tempter's voice was heard: "All this power will I give You, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If You therefore will worship me, all shall be Yours."


Christ knew that His mission could be fulfilled only through suffering. Before Him was a life of sorrow, hardship, and conflict, and an ignominious death. He must bear the sins of the whole world. He must endure separation from His Father's love. Now the tempter offered to yield up the power he had usurped. Christ might deliver Himself from the dreadful future by acknowledging the supremacy of Satan. But to do this was to yield the victory in the great controversy. It was in seeking to exalt himself above the Son of God that Satan had sinned in heaven. Should he prevail now, it would be the triumph of rebellion. Because of His closeness to His Father, Jesus was not deceived.


When Satan declared to Christ, “The kingdom and glory of the world are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it,” he stated what was true only in part, and he declared it to serve his own purpose of deception.


Satan's dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was only the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God's, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan's hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. Thus the Lord had said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will." Daniel 4:17.


Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits, but it is His purpose that rebellion should be seen for what it is, and therefore He allows him great latitude.


When the tempter offered to Christ the kingdom and glory of the world, he was proposing that Christ should yield up the real kingship of the world, and hold dominion subject to Satan. This was the same dominion upon which the hopes of the Jews were set. They desired the kingdom of this world as do many professed Christians. If Christ had consented to offer such a kingdom, all would gladly have received Him. But the curse of sin, with all its woe, rests upon it and it is not worth having. Christ declared to the tempter, "Get you behind Me, Satan: for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve." Matthew 4:10.


By the one who had rebelled in heaven the kingdoms of this world were offered to Christ, to buy His homage to the principles of evil; but He would not be bought nor did He presume to act on His own.


He had come to establish a kingdom of righteousness, and He would not abandon His purpose but He would do it God's way.


With the same temptation Satan approaches men and women, and here he has better success than with Christ. To them he offers the kingdom of this world on condition that they will acknowledge his supremacy. He requires that they sacrifice integrity, disregard conscience, indulge selfishness.  Why would they do it?  Because they want the kingship desperately.  This is what Adam has bequeathed to us through his leap into sin, the desire to boss others. 


Christ bids us seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; but Satan walks by our side and says: “Whatever may be true in regard to life eternal, in order to make a success in this world you must serve me. I hold your welfare in my hands. I can give you riches, pleasures, honour, and happiness. Listen to my counsel. Do not allow yourselves to be carried away with whimsical notions of honesty or self-sacrifice. I will prepare the way before you.”


Thus multitudes inside and outside of the church are deceived.


They consent to live for the service of self, and Satan is satisfied.


While he allures them with the hope of worldly dominion, he gains dominion over their mind. But he offers that which is not his to bestow, and which is soon to be rejected by him. In return he beguiles us of our title to the inheritance of the sons of God.


Satan had questioned whether Jesus was the Son of God. Matthew 4:3. In his summary dismissal he had proof that he could not gainsay.  The Father’s divinity flashed through suffering humanity and Satan had no power to resist the command. Writhing with humiliation and rage, he was forced to withdraw from the presence of the world's Redeemer. Christ's victory was as complete as had been the failure of Adam.


So we may resist temptation, and force Satan to depart from us.


Jesus gained the victory through submission and faith in God, and by the apostle He says to us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:7-8. We cannot save ourselves from the tempter's power; he has conquered humanity, and when we try to stand in our own strength (presuming), we shall become a prey to his devices; but "the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe." Proverbs 18:10.


Satan trembles and flees before the weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name (character). Thus faith is the conqueror.




The difference between faith and presumption is simply the difference between “knowing” and “presuming” that what we are doing is right.  And how can we know?  Only by using the word of God in its right place, as Jesus did.  Saying “It is written  . . .” followed by the promise or statement that the Spirit tells us fits the situation.

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from November 1st 2004.

Genesis 4:3-5

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect to Abel and to his offering: but to Cain and to his offering He had not respect.

 Why didn't the LORD respect Cain’s offering?

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