Friday, September 5, 2008

TEMPTING CHRIST

“Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.” (1 Corinthians 10:9).

What does Paul mean here when he speaks of “tempting Christ”? Simply put, tempting the Lord means putting him to a test. We tempt him whenever we ask, “Just how merciful will God be to me if I move forward into this sin? How long can I indulge my sin before his anger is stirred? I know God is merciful and this is an era of grace, with no condemnation toward sinners. How could he possibly judge me, when I’m his child?”

Multitudes of Christians casually ask the same question today, as they toy with a wicked temptation. They want to see how close they can get to hell-fire without facing the consequences of sin. In short, they’re tempting Christ. And all the while, such believers are casting off conviction from God’s Word.

Any time we go against truth that God’s Spirit has made clear to us, we’re casting off Paul’s warning: “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall…. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand” (1 Corinthians 10:12, 8).

Ask yourself if you are testing the limits of God’s precious gift of grace. Are you tempting Christ to indulge your sin in the face of your outright rebellion? Have you convinced yourself, “I’m a New Testament believer. I’m covered under the blood of Jesus. Therefore, God won’t judge me.”

By continuing in your sin, you are treating Jesus’ great sacrifice for you with utter disregard. Your present willful sin is putting him to an open shame, not just in the world’s eyes, but before all of heaven and hell (see Hebrews 6:6).

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul describes a way of escape from all temptation: “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.”

What is this means of escape? It’s a growing knowledge and experience of the holy fear of God.