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About Doctrines

Temptation



God may be all-powerful, but God in His gracious wisdom has determined that He will allow us to make decisions, even when they are contrary to His Will. Thus, even after we are children of God, we have the ability to choose sin over God. And, especially to our mortal bodies, sin seems so pleasurable and exciting.

Our physical body becomes the domain where sin is exercised. Sin is viewed as a force to be dealt with, but a force we can over come. God has not taken away our power to sin, rather He has given us the power not to sin. There is a major difference here, a difference that Paul specifically addresses in Romans 7. We are not longer a body of sin (Romans 6:6) or a body of death (Romans 7:24), but we are still a mortal body, a physical body that still acts under the realm of sin, at least some of the time.

James explains the sequence to us.

James 1:14-15
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. NKJV

Our lusts give rise to temptations. Temptations are not sin until they commence to draw us away. This may be into an overactive fantasy life or relationship. At some point, our lusts and desires give birth to sin. Sin starts to control and dominate us. This may be in one little area of our lives, or it may drain into many areas. Ultimately, sin may consume us.

The point Paul makes is that we can fight that initial lust or desire. We know, or should understand, our weaknesses. We may take steps to fight those weaknesses. Don't go into the bar, don't watch certain TV shows, don't mix with certain people. Build fences in the form of moral boundaries. Don't attempt to climb over the fence. The grass is not greener on the other side!

We have the ability and power to fight these lusts when we walk with God. This is what Paul calls walking in the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, we have the spiritual wisdom necessary to establish the proper boundaries for protection from sin. Further, when we walk in the Spirit, we have the power to honor those boundaries. But, it is always our choice. God will not force any decision upon us. This is the granting of free will.

What we often fail to understand is that while Paul talks of sin in our mortal bodies, this includes the entire process and centers of man, body, mind, and spirit. Lusts start in the mind as we envision the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. When we give into these lusts, we dishonor our physical bodies. Enough of this quenches the spirit and we are no longer able to relate with God the Holy Spirit. Paul will focus on this in chapter 12 when he admonishes us to renew our minds.

This idea of renewing your mind is the shortfall of modern Christianity. We focus too much on the things and ways of the world and lose sight of the truly spiritual nature of Christianity. For now, understand that while Paul uses the mortal body as the seat of sin in the Christian, to the Apostle the body includes mind and emotions.

If you want a simple sequence of events as to how we might summarized these passages, consider

 

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November 12, 2018

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