The Gospel of Matthew: Takeaways of Temptation. Part Three.

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.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

What are some takeaways about temptations in the Christian’s life that we can glean from Scripture? There are several principles regarding the subject that can be taken from today’s text.

First, temptations will happen in our lives. We may not know when, how, or by whom they will occur. What we do know is that temptations will occur.

Secondly, God is faithful. For God to be faithful means that He is always trustworthy, dependable, committed and praiseworthy. Not only is God faithful when life is good, but the context of today’s text indicates that He is also faithful when His children face temptations from the world, their sinful nature (flesh) and the devil.

The Lord will not only not allow His children to be tempted beyond their ability to resist, He will also provide a way of escape. Once again, the sovereignty of God is clearly taught in the text. He is in sovereign control of all that happens in our lives. The word escape (ἔκβασις; ekbasis) refers to the means for a getaway. In other words, a way out of the circumstances and the situation.

Why does God provide the way for an escape for believers in Christ when they are tempted? It is so we “may be able to endure it.” To be able (δύναμαι; dynamai) is best defined by the word “can.” God gives us the capability to endure. To endure (ὑποφέρω; hypophero) means to bear up under and stand up under pressure (1Co 10:13; 2 Tim. 3:11; 1 Peter 2:19). This is God’s personal promise to each believer in Christ.

“You will remember that one of the main problems with the Corinthians’ eating in pagan temples was that they thought it was a display of their own spiritual strength. Because they knew other gods do not exist as gods and because the act of eating was indifferent in itself, they believed that they could not possibly be guilty of idolatry if they ate alongside pagan worshipers in pagan temples (ch. 8). But as Paul notes in I Corinthians 10:12, such confidence in their own spiritual strength was misplaced. When Paul says that those who think they stand should take heed lest they fall, he is basically saying: “Don’t think that you are so strong that you will not be guilty of idolatry if you do not stop eating in pagan temples. The Israelites thought they would be fine when they associated themselves with paganism, but they fell into apostasy,” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.

We see, then, that although God glorifies everyone whom He justifies (Rom. 8:29–30), we have a part to play in persevering in saving faith. We must not think ourselves so strong that we cannot fall into grievous or impenitent sin, but we must take heed of ourselves lest we fall. Christ will be faithful to complete the good work of salvation in everyone whom He regenerates (Phil. 1:6), but He does this by working in and through us so that we work out our salvation in fear and trembling, continuing to trust Jesus and repenting of our sin until the day we die (2:12–13). There is no contradiction between God’s guaranteeing the salvation of all those who have true faith and the need of the truly converted to keep watch on their hearts,” Dr. Sproul concludes.

“Those whom God has promised to save, he has promised to render watchful,” Charles Hodge comments,

We need not fear that the Lord will not enable us to resist temptation. He promised to do so. God always gives His people a way out of succumbing to temptation.

We resume our study in the Gospel of Matthew when next we meet. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

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