“14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (NKJV).
Last week we talked about the help we have in Jesus when it comes to temptation. Jesus was tempted, the Bible tells us, in all points like we are, and yet, He never sinned. You and I are tempted, and we sin. Sadly, we sin more often than we would like to be honest about. Jesus did not even sin by accident. We often do. We are caught off guard, and we say, do, or think something that is sinful. Jesus never did that. Not once. This morning I was reading in my devotions, and I came across this verse; it reminded me of what we had explored last week, and I wanted to expand on this to add to the benefits we have in Jesus and His humanity. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, says this through the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it” (Berean Study Bible).
When we add this verse to the verses above, there is an understanding that we are able to say ‘No’ to sin much more often than we do. These are convicting verses. But as with all scriptures, we need to explore all things. God is a practical and realistic God. In 1 John 1: 8-9, John tells us that if we say we have no sin, we are liars, and if we confess our sins, God will forgive us because He is faithful, and He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Once again, God’s faithfulness is emphasized as the reason that He will forgive. God is faithful, even in our temptations and even when we fail. So, yes, we can sin less, but we will not be sinless in this life, at least on the outside. Inside we are already sinless as the Holy Spirit lives in us and marks us as children of God.
- Jesus Will help, Hebrews 4:16
Jesus will help you and me when we are faced with temptation. He is there for us from experiential knowledge, and He is compassionate and kind. Maybe you think this is overkill. But temptation never goes away, even as an old man Solomon’s wives helped to turn him away from the Lord. There is no time in our lives when there is no temptation. We are tempted in many ways: money, sex, power, revenge, and pride. This list is far more exhaustive than this. But as long as you are breathing, you will be tempted. Satan will find a weakness, find a pressure point, find a crack that he can exploit, and it is important that we know that we have a Helper – Jesus, our Friend, who is there to help us.
Sadly, too many of us, myself included, have ‘pet’ sins. We have nurtured them over a lifetime, and the same sin that haunted us as young men/women seems to still haunt us as we get older. Often, and it is true for me, we get better at avoiding or saying ‘no’ to some sins, but for others, we are less able or rather willing to say ‘no.’ These sins satisfy something in us even when we know the end will be shame and guilt. Jesus, our Friend, will help here as well.
- God will temper your/my temptations, 1 Corinthians 10:13
We are promised that the temptations we face are common to all men. All men, even the greatest evangelists and famous preachers, the apostles and the saints that have gone on before us, were all tempted the same way as you and I. We are not unique, and the sinful opportunities placed before us are not some netherworld concoctions that no one has ever seen before. We are tempted in one of three ways or all of these three ways over a lifetime:
1 John 2:16 “16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life— is not from the Father but from the world” (Berean Study Bible).
These are the only three categories of sinful temptations; all sin falls into one of these. All sin is common to all men, nothing new or unique just for you or me. There is nothing new under the sun, not even sin. But we are promised that God will NOT allow us to be tempted beyond that which we can bear. This is a part of His faithfulness; God does not set us up to fail.
- God will provide a way out
Sometimes the best way to avoid sin is to run. Remember Joseph and Potiphar’s wife; Joseph ran and left his cloak behind. Run, run, and keep running as far as possible. Often, we need to change the people we hang around with.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good character'” (Berean Study Bible).
One of the hardest things to have to do as a person, and especially as a Christian, is to leave the friends that you are familiar with so as to lessen the power and frequency of temptation. But this may be yours or my way out; this may be yours or my help from Jesus. Some of the ways out are practical: don’t steal, go to work; don’t commit sexual sins, get married, and on we can go. These are practical ways out that we can see and take steps to do.
Not all of God’s ways are miraculous and other-world fixes; some are simple and practically executable and for our benefit. We must also remember that making the right choice may also come at a cost. Joseph still went to prison, even though he did not sin against God. Daniel went to the den of lions, and the three Hebrew boys still went into the fiery furnace. Choosing not to sin is not about earthly rewards; it is about honoring God’s faithfulness to us, even when and if it costs us.
- God will help you stand
When we have to endure the fight that comes between the flesh and the Holy Spirit in us, God will help us to stand and make the right choices. But if and when we fail, He is just as faithful to forgive, and He still loves us. Standing up is like a muscle, and the more often you use it and exercise it, the stronger it will become. Just don’t quit, don’t give up, and know that when we fail, Jesus is still our Friend, and He still loves us. Grow in this grace, my dear brothers and sisters; Jesus is there to help, and God our Father is faithful.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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