2003-11-25 - Faith and Temptation
Genesis 3: 4,5 "And the serpent said to the woman, 'You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"
When I was young I used to go, on occasion, fishing with my dad. We would go get worms to bait the hooks so we could catch the fish. If you have ever fished you know that this is a ploy to fool the fish into biting the hook. I think we all know that, but the fish always fall for it. We should never think that satan's subtle malice of deception is any less today than it was when he deceived Eve. It is just like baiting a hook. Satan is just as active and baiting the hooks we are all susceptible to bite.
Eve's apple was given a candy aspect, "You shall be like God." Let us not be so foolish as to think that satan is dumber in his deception today than he was when he deceived Eve. If you ever go fishing, or can picture it in your head, think of that fish on the end of a hook. It is usually helpless. It is caught. That is exactly what satan has in mind for us. He wants to bait the hook and catch us in our fall. Satan, as it were, is also a fisher of men. Christ is a fisher of men, but let us not lose sight that so is satan. Let us not put down our guard. Let us not simply enjoy our bites by enjoying them with danger.
Sin and temptation are evils that only belong on earth. They will have no place in heaven. However, for those that are in Christ, they should have no place on earth even while we live. We will be tempted, but we must not succumb to that temptation and yield. Sin is a criminal weakness. One author coined it well in the title of his book, "The sinfulness of sin." Sin is sinful and there is not much more harsh that we can say about sin. It is sinful. It is ungodly. It is against our Provider, Sustainer, Savior, and Lord. We are to seek to live, as Dr. Watts, the great hymn writer says, from glory to glory. I have said it before, and probably will again, but I urge us all to live up to our faith and never settle for less than our precious faith demands and encourages.
I would like to end by a quote, on faith, by Oliver Heywood who wrote my favorite book, "Heart Treasure." "While I was pondering how to get my rent discharged, and had no way but to borrow it, there came a dear friend to me, and brought me five pounds, which furnished me with an overplus besides my rent. It was a seasonable present, sent by a liberal hand; yet I own God chiefly in it. That is a perfumed gift which comes from God as a token of love, after the exercise of faith in prayer. How good God is to me! I live nobly, and am so far from wanting, that I have all, and abound; and, when supplies fail on way, God makes them up another."
Heywood finished his life in exile, living in caves, because he was persecuted for his faith in Christ. He could not see his family and by law could not be within five miles of his congregation. He continued to minister to them in secret. Such is the strength of godly faith.
Soli Deo Gloria,