Are you tempted?

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JM

Puritan Board Doctor
A Compassionate High Priest and a throne of Grace
Then you may see for your comfort, if the Lord is pleased to apply it to your soul, that Jesus was "tempted in all points" like as you. But then, there is this difference betwixt the blessed Immanuel and you and me, that when we are tempted it is not without sin. But he was "tempted in all points," like as we are, "yet without sin." Sin never touched him; it recoiled, if I may use the expression, from his holy, sinless, spotless nature. Sin charged upon him was the grief of his soul; but sin never found an entrance into his holy, spotless nature. Satan might hurl his darts against him; but "the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." But it is not so with us. When temptation comes, there is that in our heart which responds to it. And this makes temptation to be such a dangerous and painful thing to a child of God, that there is that in his fallen nature which answers to the temptation; there is that in him which temptation suits, meets, and intertwines with; so that only by the grace of God is he kept in every hour of temptation.

Now, I believe firmly, that every child of God will have to endure temptation. James says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations:" and he adds, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation". Jas 1:2 Jas 1:12 Peter says, "Though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations" . 1Pe 1:6 And when Paul was recounting, in the eleventh chapter of the epistle before us, the sufferings of the noble army of worthies, he says, "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword". Heb 11:37 Thus these saints of God, in their day and generation, were tempted: and you and I, so far as we are saints, and children of God, must be tempted too. But how numerous and various are our temptations! Some of these temptations are carnal: "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life:" with all those base workings of our deeply-fallen nature, which are better alluded to than described. Then there are temptations to infidelity, temptations to error and heresy, temptations to deny the truth of God, temptations to doubt the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, the personality of the Holy Ghost: in fact, there is not one branch of truth against which the most subtle temptations do not easily find an entrance into the carnal mind, yea, temptations too base to name, too horrible even to hint at.

Now here is the difference betwixt the Lord Jesus Christ and us- that these temptations fell upon his holy and spotless nature, but never entered into it: but these temptations do find access to us. ‘But if that be the case,’ one may say, ‘how can the Lord Jesus Christ feel a sympathy for a poor tempted sinner like me? The Son of God was spotless, holy, harmless, undefiled: and I am sinful, evil, and wicked. I feel something within me that closes in with temptation. I have never heard of an error in which I have not found something for my heart to lay hold of. I never hear of a sin without there being something in my heart that seems at once to close in with it. Heresy cannot come abroad without there being something in me that is ready to fall in with it. If the Lord Jesus Christ, then, were tempted like as we are, what is the difference between him and us in this matter?’ I would ask you, what is it in us that makes us feel temptation and groan and cry beneath its weight? What is it that makes us hate sin, abhor heresy, and cleave to the truth -which makes us look to the Lord to deliver us from the power of sin, and trample temptation under our feet? The grace of God in the soul; is it not? The Holy Ghost, we would fain hope, having raised up, through mercy, in our hearts a spiritual and new nature that sees the temptation, feels the temptation, hates the temptation, groans under the temptation and flees unto God to deliver us from the temptation.

Now, if temptation is painful to us, it is only painful so far as we are partakers of grace. Temptation is not painful to the ungodly: it creates no agonizing feelings in the dead sinner; but those whose consciences are made and kept alive, those who desire in their heart and soul to love God and live to his glory, and to hate with perfect hatred everything that he hates: they, and they alone, feel, groan, sigh, cry, and lament deeply under the power of temptation.​
 
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