By Brooks Cochran
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:12,13).
The word temptation (peirasmos) “is used of (1) trials with a beneficial purpose and effect [cf. James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6]; . . . (2) Of trial definitely designed to lead to wrong doing; . . . (3) Of ‘trying’ or challenging God, by men” (Vine, Expository Dictionary of N. T. Words, p. 622). The first definition has to do with trials which test and/or prove a person; i.e. how real, sincere, or true is his faith. The second deals with that which entices a person to do evil. In this sense, God does not tempt us (Jas. 1:13,14). It is with this meaning that we shall direct our thoughts.
1. Temptation is a universal experience. Adam was tempted in the garden of Eden and fell (Gen. 3). Christ was tempted in the wilderness and overcame (Matt. 4). Christ, because of his experience as a man, is able to help us as we meet with trials in life (Heb. 2:14-18; 4:14-16).
2. No one is secure from temptations. Paul, in the above text, warns not to be lead into a sense of false security. When we think or assume that we are secure, we are in danger. The presumptuous individual disarms himself and becomes an easy target for the “fiery darts of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). The devil often strikes unexpectedly, often finding us unaware and unprepared (1 Pet. 5:8).
3. Temptations should not cause one to become discouraged. Again, in the above text, Paul states that God “is faithful” and will not allow us “to be tempted” beyond that which we are able to bear. He also will provide us with a way of escape. How often do we use the way provided by God?
4. Overcoming temptations requires effort. It may require resistance (Jas. 4:7,8); meditation, prayer, and watchfulness (Psa. 119:11; Matt. 26:4 1); or running away from the evil (1 Cor. 6:18; 10:14; 2 Tim. 2:22; Gen. 39:12).
In the temptations we face, there are two possibilities: (1) We yield and thus we sin (Jas. 1:14-15); (2) We resist and overcome Satan and the world (1 Jn. 5:4,5; 5:18-21). By doing the latter we gain strength and prepare ourselves for Satan’s next attack (cf. Lk. 4:13).
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 18, p. 557
September 17, 1992