Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jesus is able to Rescue Us from Temptation

Jesus crushed the Serpent, the Devil under His feet at the Cross. Jesus wins. 
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one
(Matthew 6:13, NLT).

Traditionally the first half of this verse asks, “Lead us not into temptation” (KJV), but a more accurate translation is “Don’t let us yield to temptation.” God doesn’t tempt us, as James clearly states: “When you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:13-14, NLT). At times God allows us to be tempted, as a test. But this testing always has a purpose. Always. God continually works to refine his people, teach them to depend on him. How he does this differs in every person’s life. Don’t try to compare.

The next line has been translated “Deliver us from evil” (KJV), but the more accurate translation is “Rescue us from the evil one.” Satan, the evil one, is actively looking for ways to harm God’s people, to throw them off course. Jesus wanted his followers to place their trust in God during trying times and to pray for deliverance from “the evil one” and his deceit. We can’t – absolutely can’t – resist temptation or defeat in our own strength; we must depend on God working in us and in our situation. Believers who pray these last lines of the Lord’s Prayer seriously will realize their sinful nature and their need to depend on God in the face of temptation.

Think about this: All Christians struggle with temptation. A temptation can be so subtle that we don’t even realize what is happening. Yet hear this promise: “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT). When temptations hit, thank God for trusting you that much, ask him to show you what to do, and pray for his strength to deliver you from the evil one. Ask God to show you ways to resist and endure, and thank him in advance for his promise of deliverance.

The truth is Jesus himself when he became human were being tempted (Matthew 4) but he never sinned. The Bible says Jesus “shared fully in our experience of temptation, except that he never sinned. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace will fullest confidence, that we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need” (Hebrew 4:15-16, J.B. Philips). Thus, as man, Jesus experiences our temptations; as God, he is able to rescue us from temptation and the deceits of the evil one. And even if we fall into temptation (it won’t be long, repent), his mercy and grace is there to lift you up again. Amen.

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