1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Representative Biblical references to "temptation"
Matt. 4:1,3; Mk. 1:13; Lk. 4:2,13
- "Jesus...tempted by the devil/Satan"
Matt. 6:13; Mk. 14:38; Lk. 11:4 - "lead
us not into temptation, but deliver from evil"
I Cor. 7:5 - "lest Satan tempt you
because of lack of control"
I Cor. 10:13 - "no trial/temptation
has overtaken you but as is common to man... God will not
allow you to
be tempted beyond what you are able... with the trial/temptation
will provide the
way of escape..."
Gal. 6:1 - "restore the one caught
in a trespass...lest you too be tempted"
I Thess. 3:5 - "for fear that the
tempter might have tempted you..."
I Tim. 6:9 - "those who want to
get rich fall into temptation and a snare"
Heb. 2:18 - "He Himself was tempted
in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid
who are tempted"
Heb. 4:15 - "tempted in all things
as we are, yet without sin"
James 1:13,14 - "Let no one say
when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God
cannot be tempted
by evil, and He Himself does not tempt any one. But each one
when he is seduced
under his own desires."
II Pet. 2:9 - "the Lord knows how
to rescue the godly from temptation"
II. Attempting to define "temptation"
A. Old Testament
language has no specific word for "temptation"
of - Gen. 3:1-7; Job 1:12; 2:6
B. New Testament
words peirazo (verb) and peirasmos (noun)
Derived from peiro, "to pierce in order to test,
try, examine or prove"
peirazo can mean "to test, to try, to tempt"
peirasmos can mean "trial, testing, temptation"
2. A trial
(situation, circumstance) serves to pierce our status-quo and
3. In the
midst of such a trial there is spiritual solicitation
God's solicitation to derive His character creates a testing
in the midst of the trial
Jn. 6:6; Heb. 11:17)
Satan's solicitation to derive his character creates a tempting
in the midst of the trial
Lk. 4:13; James 1:13)
is the devil's enticement to evil character and action
III. Source of "temptation"
A. Temptation does not come
God does not entice to evil - James 1:13,14
of life. Trials are but the opportunities of choice
World of evil is but context and environment in which we live.
- Jn. 17:15,16;
Cor. 4:4; I Jn. 4:4
These are God-given, amoral needs and drives.
desire for riches - cf. I Tim. 6:9
sexual desires - cf. I Cor. 7:2
"tempted under our desires" - James 1:14,15
This is the patterning within our desires of past responses to
temptation. Proclivities, propensities,
B. Temptation comes from
the devil, the tempter
seeking to activate his selfish, evil character
seeking to deny glory to God by misuse of humanity
persons may be used as instruments by the tempter.
Peter was thus used - Matt. 16:23
Jewish religionists used - Matt. 16:8; 19:3; 22:18,35; Mk. 8:11;
10:2; 12:15; Lk. 11:16;
Manipulators of desires - epithumiologists
preachers of religion
IV. Purpose of "temptation"
A. Satan's purpose
1. to solicit
mankind to manifest his evil character
to thus cause men to be misused humanity
to thus deny glory to God (cf. Isa. 43:7)
2. to cause
men to think that by their self-effort they can become "like
God" (cf. Gen. 3:5) or pleasing
to God (Rom. 8:8; Heb. 11:6).
3. to solicit
Christians to misrepresent who they are in Christ; doubt their
identity in Christ
B. God's purpose in allowing for Satan's
solicitations of temptation
1. to preserve
God-intended freedom of choice
2. to allow
for freely chosen faith/love relationship of man with God
V. Forms of "temptation"
A. Temptation to act - I Jn. 2:16
of the eyes" - Personal aspiration
of the flesh" - Personal gratification
pride of life" - Personal reputation
B. Temptation to react
- anger, hostility, wrath, resentment, bitterness
- fear, anxiety, worry
- avoidance, apathy, escape, withdrawal
VI. Some Biblical examples of "temptation"
A. Adam and Eve - Gen. 3
B. David - II Sam. 11,12
C. Jesus Christ - Matt. 4:1; Heb. 4:15
VII. Temptation and sin
A. Temptation is not sin - Heb. 4:15
B. Temptation is an enticement or solicitation
to sin - James 1:14,15
metaphor (14) - attraction, lure, bait
metaphor (15) - seed of temptation; egg of intent; gives birth
C. By freedom of choice in will, we choose
to make sin-decision
D. Sin-decision may then be
- fantasy, preoccupation (Matt. 5:27,28)
- acting out
VIII. Response to "temptation"
A. Man is responsible to exercise
his response-ability in freedom of choice
3. We derive
character in every choice
B. Man may choose to succumb to the solicitation
- cf. James 1:15
- cf. Matt. 6:13; James 1:13
and destruction - I Tim. 6:9
C. Man may choose to resist solicitation
"fight the devil"
of faith, receptivity of God's activity, counters the solicitation
of Satan -
James 4:7; Eph. 5:18; Rom. 12:2
lives by sufficiency of God's grace provision - II Cor. 3:5;
Phil. 4:13; I Jn. 4:4;
may require responsibile action of Christian
to disregard human agents of solicitation - Matt. 16:21-23
to avoid placing ourselves in situations in the world where temptation
might be exercised, and
we know the weaknesses of our fleshly desires might be exploited
Prov. 4:14,15; Gen. 39:13; I Cor. 6:18; 10:14
Not trying to avoid or flee all temptation -
Henry Drummond - "the greatest of
all temptations is to want to be without any."