[forthright] Temptation is the gateway to sin

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2012 02:56:44 -0800 (PST)
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

Richard Mansel goes to the Bible to answer ... "The
Most Important Question." Great for classes, groups,
evangelistic studies and individuals.


Temptation is the gateway to sin
 by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Temptation is a powerful force that strives to lure us
into dangerous areas. Its insatiable hunger will pursue
us relentlessly until we are destroyed. Yet, we cannot
personally do anything to stop its attacks. He just
keeps coming at us with teeth bared.

No one is immune from temptation because Satan has his
own addiction (1 Peter 5:8). He will win battles
against every one of us (Romans 3:23). However, if we
will follow the right path, we will find the answers
that will save us from Satan's clutches (James 4:7).

Temptations are unique to the individual context and
preferences of each person. Temptations come in every
form and the ones we feed will grow until they consume
us. At this point, they take over our lives and we are
slaves to their appetites. Sin pushes righteousness
aside and God departs from our lives.

Temptation, when we have given it teeth, pounds at us
relentlessly until we comply. We are unable to think of
anything else for very long. It must feed or else.
Satan rules our lives as we become a husk to be
discarded onto the trash heap.

The reality is that temptations cannot be stopped and
we must resign ourselves to this reality (Matthew 4:1-
11). God's people are never immune to them. All we can
do is come to Christ and employ the weaponry he gives
us to protect our souls. We cannot blame God because
Scripture educates us to the dangers (James 1:12-15).

God never tempts us so blaming him for our temptation
is ludicrous. Temptation is wholly foreign to God.

   "Not only is God himself not susceptible of
   evil through temptation, he tempts no one.
   Untemptable himself, because of his inherent
   goodness and eternal abstinence from every
   evil thing, he does not thrust into the
   lives of others that which is wholly foreign
   to his own."/1

James uses the language of hunting and fishing when he
says we are "drawn away by his own desires and enticed"
(James 1:14, NKJV). Satan is a master fisherman and
knows the exact bait that will capture each of us.

We must remain focused, fully aware of where we are
vulnerable, and avoid the traps placed before us
(Ephesians 6:10-17). Being honest with ourselves and
God is essential to survival.

Temptation leads us to sin and James uses the imagery
of birth to make his point.

   "Then, when desire has conceived, it gives
   birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-
   grown, brings forth death" (James 1:15).

Temptation is the gateway to sin. Seemingly small
decisions in our lives can lead to eternal
consequences. We must become well-versed in Scripture
so we can be alert to the dangers facing us (2 Timothy
3:16-17). Only in Christ can we be safe (Hebrews 11:6).

All blessings are found in Christ, so we must be added
to his body (Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 3:27). If we are
in Christ, and we reject Satan's tricks, we are certain
to be with the Lord in heaven for all eternity (Romans
8:1). Through the grace and mercy of God, we can
overcome Satan and live in peace (Hebrews 13:5).

1/ Guy N. Woods, "A Commentary on the Epistle of James"
(Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1964), 58.

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