Temptation to Stray

Envy and Pride
Psalm 73:1-9 ESV

Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and we take up our cross, and we follow our Lord in obedience to his will for our lives, he delivers us from slavery to sin. Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection, made the way of escape for us out from underneath temptation to sin. But, we have to take that way out. We have to deny self and daily take up that cross and follow Jesus. We have to daily, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and walk according to the Spirit.

For, although Jesus Christ set us free from our slavery to sin, we have to walk in that freedom, by his grace, and in his power and strength at work within us. Because, the reality of it all is that, as long as we live in these flesh bodies and in this world, we are going to be faced with temptation to sin. And, we will be tempted and allured by the pleasures this world has to offer us, and even by false grace gospels which give us the notion that we can continue in sinful practices and still be saved and bound for heaven.

We will be tempted, too, to compromise our faith and convictions, and/or to be envious of others who seem to have it better than us. But, the envy here is that of wanting the ease and comfort that the ungodly appear to have, which I believe is one of the draws to this false grace gospel.

The true gospel demands death to sin and living to righteousness, a walk of faith in Jesus Christ, which lives by the Spirit and not by the flesh. It demands holiness, which is living separate from the world of sin and living separate unto God, wholly devoted, faithful to the Lord, empowered by the Spirit and strengthened in his might to be mighty conquerors in battle against our enemies of Satan and the flesh. And, it makes no compromise with the world of sin or with the flesh of man.

But, the false grace gospel teaches no need for repentance or obedience to Christ. It teaches, instead, some obscure man-made faith in Christ which allows the follower to continue in sin without guilt and remorse. It requires no death to sin or living to righteousness, and yet it guarantees heaven as the eternal destiny of all who would believe in all that it has to offer. This is a gospel of men. And, it is created in man’s image. And, it is intended to appeal to and to pacify the sins of humankind, i.e. the flesh of man.

Backslidden Christians
Psalm 73:10-15 ESV

Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

Many Christians, who have succumbed to the temptation to fall back into sin’s deceitfulness, have embraced this false grace gospel because it alleviates their guilt and it allows them to live in a false sense of peace while continuing in sinful addiction. They believe the lie which says that God no longer sees their sin because when God looks at them all he sees is Jesus Christ. And, they believe the lie that God’s grace permits them to continue in willful sin against God, and that their continued willful sin cannot impact their eternal security. But, this is not what scripture teaches.

Scripture is real clear on this subject. If we make sin our practice, regardless of what we profess with our mouths, we will die in our sins. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (in practice, in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars who do not live by the truth. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live. If we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will die in our sins. True faith in Jesus Christ dies with Christ to sin and it lives with Christ to righteousness.

[See: Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24.]

God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). God’s grace puts sin to death. It does not codify or console it.

Until I Went
Psalm 73:16-28 ESV

But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.

Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

So, we need to have our eyes opened to the truth. We have to go to the Lord in prayer, seeking his face, and ask him to reveal his truth to our hearts, but we have to do this in truth. He knows if our hearts are not sincere and if we are just trying to make a show of piety when, in fact, we are still holding on to our sins and to the control over our own lives.

But, it is there in prayer, and in the Word of God, that the Spirit of God will prick our consciences and he will show us where we have gone astray. He will reveal to us the lies of the enemy, too. But, we have to be honest. We have to be sincerely seeking, willing to forsake the lies and to embrace the truth, or the exercise will be a waste of our time and efforts.

So many Christians are stuck in their ways and refuse to allow God to reveal his truth to them, because that might require change on their part, and they don’t want to have to change. This can be in the area of sin, but it can also be in the area of false doctrines or beliefs they have embraced over the years which are keeping them from walking in full devotion to Christ and being used of him to minister his love and grace to this fallen world.

If we are confronted with the idea that we may be going the wrong direction, we must be willing to take that to the Lord in prayer, and be willing to hear from the Lord and to change our beliefs, attitudes, and actions where necessary. Obviously we don’t have to entertain false religions or beliefs which are obviously contrary to the Word of God, such as which would deny Jesus Christ or which would try to make him out to be just another prophet of God, but not the divine Son of the One True God. But, we have to have transparent hearts willing to receive from the Lord whatever he has for us.

The truth is that if we walk in sin, and we live in unfaithfulness to God, as our daily practice, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. If we want to have the assurance of eternal life with God and that we are truly saved from our sins, then we need to walk according to the Spirit, by the Spirit, and not live to fulfill the desires of our flesh. The Christian life is a walk of faith, in obedience to our Lord, making God our refuge and our strength, and not the things of the flesh and of this world in which we now live. So, make sure you are on the right path.

Lord, I Need You
Songwriters: Christy Nockels / Daniel Carson /
Jesse Reeves / Kristian Stanfill / Matt Maher

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me…

My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 6:11 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring its truths home to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name.

 

2 thoughts on “Temptation to Stray

  1. Love this. Strong words filled with truth. Thankful for his grace to live the life he is calling me to. I cannot do it without him. But he is my fortress and strength. What is impossible for me is possible through him because I can do all things through him. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beehopper – Thanks so much! All glory to God! Oh, absolutely we can’t do it without him and his strength. Amen! Yes, what is impossible with man is possible with God, according to his perfect will. Thanks so much for sharing with me how God is working in your life. What an encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

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