But when you are tempted...
Thoughts for Today:Forty years ago, comedian Flip Wilson unveiled two characters in his television show: Reverend Leroy, the pastor of the "Church of What's Happening Now", and Geraldine Jones, one of his parishioners. Geraldine would impulsively buy a dress, and then excuse the urge by saying, "The Devil made me do it!" America laughed at Geraldine's silly excuse. We all know Satan wants us to sin, but we also know the truth.
In our passage today, Paul doesn't say, "If you are tempted." He says, "When you are tempted." Unfortunately, while on this earth, temptation is a part of life that we must all learn to deal with. In the Garden of Eden, God confronted Adam and Eve (the first man and woman) after they sinned. Their response set the tone for all of mankind. Just like Geraldine Jones -- they shifted the blame to someone or something other than themselves. Adam said, "The woman You gave me made me do it." The implication of course was that it was not only his mate's fault, but God's as well. Eve said, "The serpent deceived me." However, regardless of Satan's influence, God held them both accountable for their sin. The Devil might have provided an enticement, but he did not make them do it.
What was God's solution to the sin of Adam and Eve? Was it to blame Satan? Rather, God encouraged a confession of sin from the sinners, "I ate." He then provided a sacrificial death as compensation for their transgression. Genesis 3:21: "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." The animals had to be slain by God so He could give them garments of skin. This was the beginning of the concept of sacrifice and the shedding of blood as covering for sins. Hebrews 9:22 spells this out clearly: "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."
Nothing has changed. God's plan for removing our guilt involves removing the sin that caused it. In other words, when we recognize our sin and receive God's provision through the finished work of Jesus Christ, we have the forgiveness we desperately want. We no longer need to try and excuse our guilty consciences by shifting the blame to someone else.
Questions to Ponder:Do you have a guilty conscience? Who or what is to blame? If you answered, "Sin," you got it right. When we cross from temptation into transgression it is no one's fault but our own. But there is a way back to grace. 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Will you go to Him now?