The Christian, Temptation, and Sin–Part 1

How can a Christian resist temptation and sin?

Have a Biblical Understanding of the Character and Effects of Sin and Temptation

First, understand how the Bible describes sin. Remember this definition: Sin is a lack of conformity to the moral law and character of God, in acts, nature, thoughts or omissions (Rom 7:19; Jer 17:9; Eph 2:3; Gen 6:5; Jas 4:17).

It can be easy to think of sin only in terms of actually doing something wrong—you sin only when you say something hurtful, break a law, or lie. There is a real danger though in thinking that sin only happens when you do something: after awhile, if you think you’re not actively involved in actually doing much sin, you can develop a sense or feeling that you’re alright and are doing good.

Guess what? That “sense or feeling” is a disposition—an attitude, nature, or mood—and you can have sinful attitudes and dispositions!

As the definition states, sin is anything that falls short of who God is (His character) and what God expects (His law). That sounds a lot like Romans 3:23, doesn’t it? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

You fail to conform to God’s character and law in your:

  • Actions—“…I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Rom 7:19)
  • Disposition/Nature—“The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick” (Jer 17:9), “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh [sinful nature], indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Eph 2:3)
  • Thoughts—“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Eph 2:3), “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5)
  • Omissions—“For the good that I want, I do not do” (Rom 7:19), “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jas 4:17)

Temptation occurs when you are enticed or lured to sin. Through temptation you are being lured and persuaded to go astray from the course God intends you to follow. Temptation, like sin, can take many different forms:

  • Deception—“Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” (Gen 3:13). Satan succeeded in getting Eve to rebel against God by planting the seeds of doubt and disbelief.
  • Desires—Matthew 4:1-11. Satan failed to tempt Jesus to rebel against God through physical desires, pride, and greed.
  • Doubt—1 Thessalonians 3:1-8. Satan tried to get the Thessalonians to turn their backs on God through doubt.

It is so important to know that temptation in and of itself is not sin—Jesus was tempted and He was without sin (Heb 4:15)!

You must understand and recognize that as a believer your battle against temptation and sin occurs in every aspect of your life, and that sin in any aspect of your life has serious, harmful, and detrimental effects. You must be committed to doing whatever it takes to resist the many different ways temptation and sin can erupt in your life

Second, have a biblical understanding of the effects of yielding to temptation:

 

  • You will obey it and become the servant of sin (Rom 6:12-14)
  • The Spirit is grieved (Eph 4:30) and quenched (1 Thess 5:19)
  • Your zeal/enthusiasm to serve is lessened (Titus 2:11-14)
  • Your experience as a believer of fellowship with God, joy in the Lord, and the peace He gives are lost (Psa 38:1-8; 51:8, 12)
  • Your love grows cold for Christ and Christians (Rev 2:4-5)
  • Your heart is calloused to sin (Heb 3:13)
  • You’re deceived to think that you’re okay when in reality you’re headed for trouble (Heb 3:13)
  • Growth is stunted (Heb 5:11-14)
  • Ability to discern between good and evil is weakened, (Heb 5:11-14)
  • Desire to pray and ability to continue in it are weakened (1 Sam 12:23; Jas 4:1-10)
  • Provision is made for the sinful nature and you’ll stand aloof from Christ (Rom 13:14)
  • Pursuit of sanctification is derailed (Heb 12:14)
  • You’re conformed more to the world than to Christ (Rom 12:1-2)
  • You will not want to do God’s will (Rom 12:1)
  • You allow thoughts of rebellion against Christ to exist (2 Cor 10:5)
  • Your prayers are unanswered (Jas 4:3; 1 Pet 3:7)
  • You allow the enemy to infiltrate your soul (1 Pet 2:11-12)

 

 

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