I’m being bombarded with a message lately. Perhaps I should pay attention. Let me share it with you.
2 Corinthians 2:11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
This was the opening verse from today’s “Puritan Devotional Readings: Voices From The Past, Volume I” that I have been mentioning lately. It was written by John Owen. My friend Mark posted an article from John Piper’s site, desiringGod, entitled “If They Fell, So Can You. How Sin Seduced the Strongest, Wisest, and Godliest.” Who are these men, John Owen and John Piper? They both will be considered among the great theologians, that’s who.
In these two articles, both hitting me within nine hours of each other, are examinations of other great theologians in the bible and how they fell. Both of these are warnings yet offer us a way to avoid the pitfalls that the greatest have fallen into. Here’s what Piper’s article said about that:
“But God does not desire us to be consumed. He warns us of sin’s schemes by recording the fall of others who were tempted as we are. Few examples are more sobering than those of Samson, Solomon, and David. They are tragic tales of strong, wise, and devoted men who were overcome by the power, trickery, and allure of sin.”
You can read the rest of this article here: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/if-they-fell-so-can-you. I recommend you do. I’m going to post the Owen’s for today, here. I believe it to be worthy of your time, as well.
It is the great duty of all believers to use all diligence that we do not fall into temptation. Adam was created in the image of God, full of integrity, righteousness, and holiness. He had a far greater inherent stock of ability than we, and there was nothing in him to entice or seduce him. No sooner had he entered into temptation but he was gone, lost, and ruined, and all his posterity with him. What can we expect if we also enter into temptation? We, like him, have the temptation and cunning of the devil to deal with, but we also have a cursed world and a corrupt heart to increase the power of temptation. Abraham is an example for all believers to follow, and yet he entered into temptation about his wife and was overpowered to the dishonor of God. God called David ‘a man after God’s own heart’, yet what a dreadful thing is the story of his entering into temptation! I might mention Noah, Lot, Hezekiah, Peter and the rest, whose temptations and falls are recorded for our instruction. Certainly any with a heart for these things will cry out “How shall I stand, O Lord, if such mighty pillars have been cast to the ground? If such great cedars were blown down, how shall I stand before temptation? O keep me that I do not enter into temptation!’ Are any without a wound or blemish that have entered temptation? How will we fare? Assuredly, if we see stronger men fail, we will seek to avoid the battle at all cost. Is it not madness for a man who can barely crawl up and down (which is the case for most of us), if he does not avoid that which has brought down giants in the undertaking thereof? If you are yet whole and sound, take heed of temptation, lest it happens to you as with Abraham and the rest who fell in time of trial.
I’m going to close with three verses to help us out. All should be prayed back to God as these are our claim to promises he has made to us. Take advantage of it. These are far better than free money.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 26:40-41 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
I wish I knew what particular sin the tipping point of ruin might be, like the great men of the bible experienced. Maybe there is one sin, maybe there is a cocktail of sin over a period of time that allows for the big sin. That’s most likely the case. If so, then we must be on guard for the smallest of sin, to keep from entertaining it and to quickly confess and repent if committed. I am very reluctant to say, “Oh, well, we’re all sinners; we’ll never be perfect” because Jesus tells the adulteress, “Go, and sin no more.” Furthermore, at the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (John 8:11 and Matthew 5:48) Now, let’s not drive ourselves into insanity trying to do what only God can do for us. Rest in God’s presence and let it happen.
John 15:5, 7-8, 16 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing….If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples….You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Monday night I walked into Cub and noticed the liquor store. I was glad and grateful that I no longer desired to go there. That wasn’t always the case. There was a long period of my life that it wasn’t a matter of choice. My sin had so entangled me that I had to go there. Jesus has delivered me from that sin. He will deliver me from any that I choose to ask him to. “Abide in me.”
Father, thank you for including the failures of all these bible giants so that we might be encouraged to seek your protection. You don’t want us to be discouraged and lose hope, thereby succumbing to Satan’s schemes. No, you desire us to enjoy victory that Jesus has provided us through his death and resurrection. I desire to abide in you. I ask that you lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil. I ask that you keep me awake and alert to the schemes of the devil. I ask that I may clearly see the way of escape – and quickly take it! Thank you, Father! Amen!
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers