Digging Deeper into Lesson 6
The Pathway of Temptation: Head to Heart Guide
Temptation and our two natures—the old and the new. In order to understand this dynamic of the spiritual life and live in the midst of many temptations without taking on condemnation or giving way to sin, we need to see that…
1) It is not a sin to have a sinful nature. None of us asked to have a sin nature. God allowed it to be so at our birth. Even in the new birth the Lord does not remove our sin nature. In fact the sin nature will only be removed when we get to heaven. Until then it remains a part of who we are, much as a shadow clings to our bodies on a sunny day, but it is not who we are in Christ.
2) In Christ God crucified the sin nature, so that its power over us has been broken. We can now go a different way than the way of the flesh, because we have a new nature within us that desires the ways of God. Whenever we entrust our life to God through faith in Christ, the sin nature remains crucified within us and we are raised to new life by the power of the Spirit acting within and upon our new nature.
3) The new nature within us is the sinless nature of Jesus. When we are tempted as Christians we are now much more like Jesus was when He was tempted. Just as with Him, we now have a nature within us that is sinless, given to us through the new birth. We can choose to live in and by this new nature through trusting and obeying the Lord—in perfect surrender to His will.
4) Temptations test our commitment to trust and obey God. If we learn to recognize and resist temptation, we can remain in our place of rest, trusting and obeying the Lord as His Spirit keeps the sin nature crucified within us. If we give way to the temptation, the sin nature “springs back to life” within us. Temptations tests and grows our allegiance to the Lord..
5) Having a sinful nature is not where bondage to sin comes from. When the New Testament speaks about the sin nature the language is that of putting off the old man as simply as one puts off old clothing and puts on new. We have a new nature and are expected to be able to dress up in it. However, when the spiritual powers of the enemy are involved, the language is that of a pitched battle in which real resistance and determined effort are required for victory. These battles almost always arise out of stronghold areas that we are called to take down (see Spiritual Strongholds or wait for it to come along—it's Lesson 11).
If you want to get victories over areas of strenuous struggle with sin in your life, you need to know the power you have. You have incredible power! Do you know that the single greatest power in your world lies right there within you—at all times? It is the freedom of will God has given you: the power of choice.
If we have power to resist God and His desire to save us, we certainly have power to resist Satan and his desire to enslave us. God says in Deuteronomy that He is calling heaven and earth to “witness against us” (since we keep denying we have this power) that He has given us the power to choose life or to choose death. He clearly wants us to know that we have already been given the power we need.
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV
Surely this is an awesome power! How does it play out? Simply by saying no—with great resolution and conviction—to that which is death, brings us over to the side of life. We have incredible power to resist temptation.
The problem is twofold:
a) We don’t always have an ability to recognize the temptation as death in disguise and
b) We aren’t always motivated to combat it.
But we can always choose life by calling on the Lord for:
a) Discernment and
b) His strength.
Let's be determined to call and keep on calling! (Romans 10:13)
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