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Query for the Month

of March 1998

Next up-date: April 1st 1998 (God willing).



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". If there is always a way of escape, why are we subject to temptation? Why is it necessary for us to undergo such experiences?


Temptation is not restricted to sinners. Sinless beings are also subject to temptation as can easily be seen in the experience of Jesus immediately after His baptism. He was "led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil". Matthew 4:1. He told us that His baptism by immersion was a fulfilling of all righteousness (Matthew 3:15) and so was this experience! What temptation does is reveal what is in us. This is shown by our response. When Jesus suffered deeply under temptation, He revealed that there was "nothing in Him" which responded to the devil's attempts. John 14:30.

The purpose of temptation then, is to reveal to us, and to others, what we are made of. It sorts out the "boys from the men", the "girls from the women" and the Christians from the sinners. Without temptation, or test, which is a better word for it today, we would not know ourselves. Not until we are placed in a situation do we know for sure how we will react to it.

Peter was sure that he would not betray Jesus even if all the others did! But he denied Him not once but three times in quick succession. John 18:15-27. Once he had learned what he was capable of without his Saviour, he quickly came to Him in prayer, and was forgiven and cleansed. The evidence of this is found in his replies to Jesus as they walked along the lake-side one day after the crucifixion. John 21:1-17.

So temptation (test) plays a major part in the Christian experience. Like any other exam (such as a vehicle driving license), the anticipation of it is normally scary, the doing of it can be hard, but the aftermath is a pleasant surety, IF we know our subject and have practiced often.

In our sample prayer we are told to say,
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen". Matthew 6:13. This is amplified in the words, "Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak". Matthew 26:41. And, "Watch you and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak". Mark 14:38.

This is explained fully in the letter of James.

"Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning". James 1:12-17.

Thus we find that God does not tempt us into sin, we do that ourselves much more successfully. The devil tempts when he wants to hurry us into a problem, but most of the time even he just allows us free rein! If we would be forgiven after a transgression, we need to know this fact. Only if we freely and completely admit that the sin was of our own making can we be cleansed of it.


Temptation, then, is essential for those who have choice. Without the pull of two 'ways' we would not be able to choose the right because it is right and have the satisfaction of being 'good'. It was not deliberately designed by God but came into being as part of the freedom of the universe.

All this is explained more fully in this month's free book.

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.
Spiritual Dictionary.

This is the method by which we grow in character and understanding. Temptation to behave illegally is NOT sin - giving in to it is! Overcoming temptation, or test, is uplifting.

Next thought. To be discussed from April 1st 1998.

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