03/30/T – Escaping Temptation

Nehemiah 10:28-39; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Psalms 34:11-14; Proverbs 12:5-7

NT: “Now I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless God was not pleased with most of them, since they were struck down in the wilderness… These things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:1-5, 11-13‬ ‭CSB)

There is more to a life in Christ that just being saved. Salvation may be a “fire insurance” of sorts, but it is not a guarantee of a life or an eternity of abundant blessing and promise. Apparently, the Corinthian church was in danger of relying too heavily on their initial salvation and becoming disqualified from God’s rewards by giving into temptations. As a warning, Paul reminded the church of the children of Israel. All of the children of Israel were saved from bondage to Egypt by Moses, just as all of the Corinthian church had been saved from sin by Christ. All of the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea with Moses, just as all of the Corinthian church had passed through the waters of baptism with Christ. All of the children of Israel were fed manna and drank the water that flowed from the rock, just as all of the Corinthian church had fed on the word of God and had been filled with the Holy Spirit. However, out of all the people that were saved from Egypt, only two, Joshua and Caleb, were able to fully experience the full promise of God. The rest were disqualified because they gave into temptations along the way and perished in the wilderness.

Salvation is the glorious beginning to a life in Christ, but it doesn’t guarantee a glorious end (2 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 6:7). Along the way there will be temptations, which God has allowed, to test our faithfulness and strengthen our faith. The same temptations that led the children of Israel astray… the same temptations that led countless numbers of believers astray over the years will confront us. Unlike the children of Israel, we have been made righteous in Christ and have the Holy Spirit in us to convict us, warn us and lead us. Thankfully, we have the assurance that God will not allow a temptation that is beyond our ability in Christ by the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit to resist. But that is the key: in Christ by the Holy Spirit. Oftentimes, we place too much trust in our ability to endure temptation – but eventually a temptation will come our way that is too great for us to endure with our own will power. Our ability to escape temptations will come as we submit our will to the Lord, humble ourselves before Him and obey the leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit. If we are submitted to the Spirit, the Spirit will prevent us from entering tempting situations or will lead us out of tempting situations. As one commentator said, “The believer who thinks he can stand may fall; but the believer who flees will be able to stand.” Don’t let the belief of “once saved, always saved” prevent you from experiencing the fullness of all God has for you – in this present life and the life to come.

Psalms: “Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is someone who desires life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:11-14‬ ‭CSB)

David’s advice to those who desire a life full of God’s covering and blessing: turn away (remove yourself) from evil and do what is good. Seek peace (peace with God and peace with man) and pursue that instead of pursuing the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The way that we successfully do that in Christ is to not think too highly of ourselves, submit to the Lord, and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, I know that temptations are inevitable in this life. Even You faced temptations – and because you were victorious over the temptations You faced, I can be victorious over temptations in You. I thank You that with every temptation, you will provide a way of escape as long as I remain submitted to You and follow the leading and conviction of Your Holy Spirit in me. So I endeavor to not rely on my own ability to say “no,” and depend fully on You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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