Saturday, April 3, 2010

Temptation and sin

Q. Jesus seemed to infer that to think the sin is to do it, and elsewhere said it is not a sin to be tempted. Where is the line between the one and the other? What exactly is the mechanism of a devil's tempting us? Is he putting thoughts into our heads using telepathic communication (without revealing his own presence) and therefore making us think it is our own thought and proof of our own corruption? How do we distinguish between a devil-made thought and our own thought? Remember Jesus telling Peter that Satan was speaking through him? I'm sure that was news to Peter.

Because his heart is entombed in the lusts of the flesh, fallen man is attracted to the sounds and sights of the carnival attractions with or without the carnival barker.

Q. But how can you blame the depressed from reaching for comfort from alcohol or drugs? He did not necessarily cause the depression that makes him vulnerable to addiction.

A. They're reaching out in the darkness...and finding it

Q. They may be in the dark, true. But what sets the dark minded people away from the light minded people?

A. There's different ways to put it and many different supporting verses, but a favorite is:

Trust and Obey
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21.
I assume we're talking about a believer?

Q. But I try to put away such filthiness and yet filthy thoughts keep invading my mind. What do I do about those thoughts?

A. I'll take that as a 'yes' to my question...

When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death as well as his life.. Both have a mark on the transformed mind of a believer---one eliminates the negative and the other accentuates the positive.. As for being one with His death, we are to be dead to the lusts of the flesh just as a corpse in a casket is dead to the outside stimuli of the world---also known as the crucified flesh, or circumcised heart. However, since a believer's heart and mind still exist in the flesh while on earth, we need to be wearing God's truth like a helmet. Only then will we live in the place of the crucified flesh where the Spirit flourishes in love.--which is the point of Col 3:1-6, 1Peter 4:1-10, most of Romans 6, most of Galatians 5---among others. So, what is it like to view the world's enticements through the eyes and ears of the circumcised heart? Read Phil 3:8.

Q. Ok, but we have wandered away from the original question, which is: What is the difference between thinking bad thoughts and actually sinning? Think of those boys who killed their fellow students at Columbine Colorado, for example. What if they had merely thought the evil thing but did not do it and later actually repented of even having thought it? I'll bet there are thousands who are of this type.

A. In the eyes of God, as revealed at the Sermon on the Mount; one man has evil thoughts and acts on them...another man has the same evil thoughts and does not act on them, both are guilty of sin. If they are unconverted, they need to repent and receive the word of God unto salvation..If they are believers, they need to repent and continue receiving the word (trusting and obeying) unto sanctification---that is, spiritual growth.

Q. I repent of being an alcoholic. But I can't quit. What am I to do?

A. You need to join a local body of Godly believers that are confessing their faults to one another and carrying one another as they are praying and ministering their gifts to one another. The Lord wants to build you up, and his tool box is at the local assemblies.



  1. Here's one of my favorite verses related to the discussion:

    5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

    Finally, my daily prayer is (similar to the Hymn - Turn your eyes upon Jesus) for God to provide me the strength and courage to focus on Christ and have his love fill me so my desire for the things of this world grow strangely dim.

  2. Good question. Great question in fact.

    I think the answer is temptation is the act when something external comes into your path. It becomes sin of thought when your mind dwells on the temptation and your mind takes the act beyond the temptation. There is an old saying that sums it up. "You can't stop the birds from flying overhead, but you can prevent them from nesting in your hair."

    The bird is the tempter and the nesting is your "letting" the birds take hold of your mind. All that from someone who no longer needs to worry about the "nesting in hair" thing. But I can assure you that the "nesting in the mind" is still a problem.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.