(From the book: "Holiness Manual" by George D. Watson, D.D. 1882)
We are living in a state of probation. It does not end until we die, or Christ calls us up. If we were free from danger, we would not be probabtioners. The idea of trial involves danger. The problem of salvation is to make us as secure as possible with the facts of probabtion. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Matt. vi, 13.
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt. xxvi, 41.
We must not confound temptation with sin; but while temptation is not sin, we are to avoid the causes of temptation. "There hath 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 ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1st Cor. x,13.
Many ask, How can a pure Christian be tempted to sin? How could a pure Adam and a pure Saviour be tempted? Angels had temptations peculiar to their nature. We have such as belongs to man's nature. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the firey trial which is to try you, as through some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad with exceeding joy." 1st Peter iv.12,13.
Temptation may appeal to the body or the mind or the spirit. If we yeild to those of the body, we become sensual; to those of the mind, we become worldly; to those of the spirit, we become devilish. According to this text, some trials may be so severe as to be like arrows of fire shot in the soul; yet think it not strange. "For in that He Himself hath suffered, He is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb. ii, 18.
The temptations of Jesus were not imaginary, but real, so distressing Him as to cause great suffering. So are the sanctified sometimes tried. "For we have not a high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Heb. iv, 15.
Christ was tempted in His physical, His intellectual, and His spiritual being in "every point," yet without sin. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God can not be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man; but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James i, 13 - 15.
When the heart is impure, it will be often tempted from itself; its own evil promptings will often lead it to "bring forth actual sin" which, if not repented of, will bring forth eternal death. Whereare the dangers that beset a beliver? Those that lie in the external world, those that appeal to the five senses, those that appeal to the mind, they are one class; another class lurk within - an unsoundness at the center; an inward aptitude for unholy things. Those dangers the lie within a man are greater than those that lie without. A seed of sin within a soul is like a beatiful palace with a keg of gun-powder concealed within it - it may be the house will never burn down, but it wouldbe a great deal safer with the gun-powder removed. A seed of sin in the soul is like a keg of powderin the closet, and the devil shooting lightening all around you.
1. Satan endeavors to reach a pure heart through the pressing wants of the body, or through wrong suggestions to the mind.
2. Impure suggestions dwelt upon will soon corrupt the heart.
3. The evil one may shoot his wrong suggestions into the mind, and then accuse the saint of havingforfeited his trust in the cleansing blood.
4. The sanctified may yeild to temptation and sin just as the holy Eve did.
5. If any should unwittingly yeild to evil, let him fly to Jesus for the perfect application of his blood.
We must stay in the cleansing stream.
Well, that was a good word! The Bible tells us that we are not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good. We can only do this when we are walking "in the Spirit" and not the flesh. But we're not yet perfect or perfected. We still live in this body of flesh and it does not live by God's law.The warfare between our flesh and spirit-man will continue as long as we're living and breathing in this present world. And it's a dark world. It may be dark, but God's Word is a lamp unto our feet when we lean not on our own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all our ways!
Hopefully, you've found something in this little message that can be used against the wicked one when he comes to assault your soul. Remember, when temptation seems overwhelming, God has said He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our abiliy to resist, and that He will always make a way ofescape. And He'll do His part.
The question comes down to whether we will do ours. And we will have failures. When you fail, just remind yourself that He has said: "I will never leave you, or forsake you." So, run into His arms and ask for forgiveness. He will never deny the honest, repenting heart!!!