Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sin And Temptation

       Our consciences automatically sense the dangers of presently existing sinful temptations, for God has inscribed His moral precepts into our hearts (Romans 2:14-15). In other words, God has programmed our minds to sense the presence of good or evil. Thus, our conscience is the underlying reason we instinctively feel as if temptation, by definition, is wrong. Everybody experiences temptations. However, it is vital for us to recognize that vast distinctions exist between the concepts of sin and temptation. For instance, forgiveness is required for debts and trespasses, whereas temptation requires deliverance (Matthew 6:12-13). Our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in the same manner as we are, yet remained unblemished from the stains of sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). He was tested and shown to be faithful.

       Temptation can originate from one of two sources: Satan or our own inherent desire to entertain sinful ideas. While the devil is the ultimate source of all evil, our sinful nature works alongside him to ensnare our souls. The process of spiritual temptation begins with desire, blossoms into temptation which leads to sin, and can then lead up to spiritual death (James 1:14-15). Temptation becomes sin when we choose to act in accordance to our sinful desires, even if they take place in our minds where such desires are not made manifest. Christ was tempted externally, but not internally inclined to act sinfully. He does not have a sin nature.

       Worldly thoughts, which can include but are not limited to pride, lust, greed, and covetousness, come from within and defile us (Matthew 17:19). We need to flee from temptation because being in such a state revolves around sin. Evil thoughts are sin. Temptation makes us want to act contrary to the will of God. What sin and temptation have in common is that both can harm our relationship with Him.
       All people who die in a state of unbelief will end up eternally condemned in the lake of fire. What we need to do is replace the fruits of the flesh with the fruits of the Spirit. Despite the fact that overcoming temptation can refine our character, we need to do our best to avoid situations that will place us into a state of temptation (Romans 13:13-14). We need to distract ourselves from the sources of temptation by focusing on what God wants for each of us. Only through Him can we have true and lasting joy, hope, peace, and fulfillment.

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