Temptations – Definitions, Sources and Responses
The Lord had been putting this issue on my heart for months. As I continue to study the issues of original sin, fleshly sin, etc. I find that the ‘church’ has systematized sin in a way that most understand it to be something we can’t help and God will overlook.
1 Cor 10:12-14 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Temptation Greek peirasmos(payrasmos) Strongs 3985
1)an experiment, attempt, trial, proving:
Gal 4:14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, [even] as Christ Jesus.
2) an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from one’s desires or from the outward circumstances
a) an internal temptation to sin
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted
b) of the temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his work
Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
When I was in Daytona Beach at Kerrigan’s grandfather’s 6th floor condo after the second day of preaching I was tempted to throw myself down, this happened again the third evening after preaching. Both times I was just relaxing and praying out on the balcony. Then on the way home, I had to tell Kerrigan about it and he said he endured the same temptation! Of course both times when I was faced with the adversary this way, I responded with God’s Word spoken/thought, prayer, and fleeing the balcony. When all this came out I knew we were doing the Lord’s work, and the devil was not happy. Praise God!
c) adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s character, faith, holiness. This greek word is naca(nasa) which means to test or refine like in metals for the good of the person.
Gen 22:1-2 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3) an impotent temptation of God by men. This is rebellion against God, by which his power and justice are, as it were, put to the proof and challenged to show themselves as sinners.
Num 14:22-23 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.
Three Main Sources of Temptation: the Flesh, the World, and Satan
A. The temptations of the ‘flesh’
It was the natural, physical lusts, cravings, or desires of the flesh which were the source of temptation for Eve in the Garden. (Gen 3:6) She “saw that it was good for food”, “pleasant to the eye”, and “desired to make one wise”. These were all natural, physical appetites for food and wisdom which she sought to gratify through sin or disobedience to God. This was the first case in history when a human being submitted their will to serve their flesh supremely rather than submitting their will to the truth of God revealed to their minds. This was the first case in the history of a human individual doing what felt or seemed good over against what she knew was good. And this is exactly what every sinner does.
Perfection is resisting, hating, and overcoming all known temptations by the power of the Holy Spirit working in cooperation with one’s will. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self control.
-How perfect does Christ tell us to be? Matt 5:48 ‘Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.’
In Finney’s Systematic Theology pg. 191 speaking on influences or temptations states:
“Irritable feelings, or what is commonly called impatience, may be directly caused by ill health, irritable nerves, and by many things over which the will has no direct control. But this is not impatience in the sense of sin. If these feelings are not suffered to influence the will; if the will abides in patience; if such feelings are not cherished, and are not suffered to shake the integrity of the will; they are not sin. That is, the will does not consent to them, but the contrary. They are only temptations. If they are allowed to control the will, to break forth in words and actions, then there is sin; but the sin does not consist in the feelings, but in the consent of the will, to gratify them.”
These thoughts ring very true with my own experiences; if I am tired, sick, etc. my level of patience for various situations and people diminishes.
Responses to the temptation of the ‘flesh’:
‘flesh’ But, the suffering through this and controlling ourselves is the heart of the matter. What is happening inside as we practice this is a crucifixion of our flesh. We are to suppress these influences daily, this is part of bearing our cross.
Luke 9:23-24 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Rom 8:13-14 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Mark 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly [is] ready, but the flesh [is] weak.
Warning, many in Christendom call this influence of the flesh; sin. Many in the world also desire to blame Adam as the federal head of our sin. Sin as clearly taught in the Bible is refusing to obey God who is worthy of that obedience.
The flesh has lusts, cravings, or desire, which can be gratified through the forbidden means of sin. (Gen 3:6) These lusts are at first involuntary lusts, cravings, or desires, being strictly physical and not moral. There are involuntary physical desires and then there are intentional committals of the will. One is involuntary while the other is intentional. The former is physical, the latter is moral. But involuntary physical impulses do not bring forth moral (or immoral) sin until the will selfishly serves them supremely (James 1:15) instead of self sacrificially serving the highest well-being of others. (Luke 10:27). Physical temptation becomes immoral sin when the will yields itself to it. –Jesse Morrell
B. The temptations of the world (kosmos)
These temptations are the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
Mk 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Ps 73:12 Behold, these [are] the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase [in] riches.
Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Peter Cartwright a traveling preacher in the Mississippi valley during the mid 1800’s stated this about a worldly temptation we see come to many ministers of God’s glorious gospel in every generation.
‘By the consent of all our traveling preachers, the bishop appoints from year to year every traveling preacher to his field of labor; this saves a vast amount of time and trouble in the ministry, in running about and seeking to contract with congregations for a specified time and stipulated amount of salary; moreover, it cuts off the temptation of selling the Gospel to the highest bidder….’
Responses to the temptations of the world.
Flee, Pray, and Capture
Flee those temptations
Matt 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another:
1 Tim 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Pray against those temptations
Matt 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Capture the thoughts of temptation
2 Cor 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Matt 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
C. Temptations by Satan or his demons
Matt 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?
I Cor 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Incontinency – denotes “powerless, impotent;” in a moral sense, unrestrained, “without self-control,” 2Ti 3:3, RV (AV, “incontinent”).
Self Control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, not spoken of in many Christian circles.
Responses to devilish temptations
II Cor 2:9-11 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I [forgive] also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave [it], for your sakes [forgave I it] in the person of Christ;Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
II Cor 2:14 Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
II Cor 12:8-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
John Wesley speaking on temptation and the Christian desire to be perfect as God is perfect, said,
“From such infirmities as these none are perfectly freed till their spirits return to God; neither can we expect till then to be wholly freed from temptation; for ‘the servant is not above his master.’”
II Cor 13:4:5 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance(self control): against such there is no law.
Heb 2:17-18 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
1 John 2:3-6 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
How did Jesus walk? Perfect of course. He was tempted as we but he resisted and had victory over sin and the devil. We ought to walk the same way.
As we walk out our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we are to examine ourselves, test, adjust our thinking, deeds, and motives to align our will with the Word of God and His will to be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.
Scriptures and teachings from Youtube:
James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience
Why? becuase it is an opportunity to show God you love Him by not sinning. Well, it’s one of many reasons….
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
We are considered free from sin after putting faith in Jesus, because we are no longer under bondage to it(slaves to sin can’t help but sin). Sin is always a choice and it never happens automatically against your will. Sin is a choice from our hearts. It doesn’t originate from the playground the Devil likes to mess with called the mind. Stop saying your temptation is sin, because that is bondage. You will never learn how to live free from sin if you believe sin is automatic and every little evil thought that pops in your head is sin. Jesus had those thoughts too because he was tempted as we are.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. God always leaves a way out , so sin doesn’t HAVE to happen.
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Self-control, when free will is submitted unto God, is possible and required for all moral agents. No matter what temptations a person’s nature inherits (natural or unnatural desires) they never have to obey these temptations (1 Cor. 10:13). Because of free will, or man’s natural ability, he is responsible and accountable for his choices, he cannot blame it on his nature.
God has given us natural desires that can be gratified lawfully or unlawfully (Gen. 3:6).
“When God made us He gave us many different appetites… But God looked at the being He made and to whom He had given all these appetites and urges and said, ‘It is good!” Paris Reidhead
(Finding the Reality of God, pg 141)
A. We have a natural desire for food (Gen. 2:16).
B. We have a natural desire for sexual relations (Gen. 1:28; 2:24).
C. We have a natural desire for well-being (Gen. 2:18).
D. The natural desire God has created us with are good, not evil (Gen. 1:31).
3. Sin is when the will of man seeks to gratify a natural desire in an unlawful manner (Gen. 3:6).
A. Our natural desire for food can be used for gluttony.
B. Our natural desire for sexual relations can be used for fornication, adultery, or homosexuality.
C. Our natural desire for well-being can lead to selfishness and greed.
“Now temptation is not sin. Temptation is the proposition presented to the mind that you can satisfy a good appetite in a forbidden way. Temptation leads to sin…. Sin is the decision of the will…. sin is the decision to gratify a good appetite in a bad way.” Paris Reidhead
(Finding the Reality of God, pg 141-142)
“Don’t mistake temptation for sin. Temptation is a suggestion to gratify a desire in an illegal way
or amount. Temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted.” Winkie Pratney
(Youth Aflame, Bethany House, pg. 83).
“The bodily appetites and tendencies of body and mind, when strongly excited, become the
occasions of sin. So it was with Adam. No one will say that Adam had a sinful nature. But he
had, by his constitution, an appetite for food and a desire for knowledge. These were not sinful
but were as God made them. They were necessary to fit him to live in this world as a subject of
God’s moral government. But being strongly excited led to indulgence, and thus became the
occasions of his sinning against God. These tendencies were innocent in themselves, but he
yielded to them in a sinful manner, and that was his sin.” Charles Finney
(You Can Be Holy, published by Whitaker House, p. 215).
“We have a nature that is capable of being perverted from legitimate to illegitimate, from the natural to the unnatural, from the pure to the polluted.” Sin is to “pervert… natural, legitimate, human desires.” F. Lagard Smith
(Troubling Questions for Calvinists, page 134-135).