Using Faith Against Temptation ~ blog
This morning I have been meditating on James 2. I like James … he is short and to the point. He is sort of a black and white individual with no gray crayons in his box.
If you have been reading or listening to my daily encouragements you know I am very big on the reality that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We could never be saved by our works because to be saved by our works we would need to be perfect.
God our Father requires that we have righteousness and since we are all sinners and not one of us is righteous on our own, we need a righteousness to be given to us … and thankfully through Jesus Christ God has done that. See Romans 3:21-22;
“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
When we accepted Jesus Christ to be our Savior there was a great exchange that took place. All of our sins for all of our life were removed from our account and the righteousness of Christ was given to us in return. We have what we call a credited righteousness or an imputed righteousness.
In light of things we really got an utterly amazing deal. All of our sins cleansed and forgiven by the finished work on the cross. And in return, we receive forgiveness and eternal life. It really is Amazing Grace and it is all the gift of God … not by any works on our part … it is the free gift of God.
However, James raises a very important point in his letter relative to faith and works. James is focused more on the practical side of living out our new life in Christ. Paul is writing the Romans to give a powerful theological foundation on which one can build their Christian life. James is more interested in the “What about this?” side of living out our new life in Christ.
Apparently, there were some Christians who were taking one idea about faith and the complete forgiveness given by God to those who believe but were not living out that faith so that their lives were helpful to others. In James 2 he talks about Christians showing partiality to those who show up for church. The well-dressed man gets ushered to the best seats while the poor man in dirty clothes is asked to stand over to the side or to sit on the floor next to the stool one on which one would be resting his feet.
James’ point is that we have the tendency to treat the more wealthy and successful people with favor, even though they are the ones who oppress us and drag us into court cursing us along the way. Yet, the poor of this world are chosen by God to be rich in faith and heirs to the Kingdom of God.
Then from this illustration James makes his point about those who are saying they are saved by faith but are not showing it by their works. They see a brother or sister in Christ without clothing or food, pat them on the back and say to them;
“Good luck to you … go in peace and be warm and filled.”
They usher them out of the church into the cold with no coat and hungry because they have not eaten for a while and then those who have plenty put on their heavy coats and rush off to the Hometown Buffet to commit their Sunday ritual of gluttony.
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. However, those who are truly born-again and alive in Christ will demonstrate that they are believers and followers of Christ by the way they live their lives … by their actions and how they treat others who are in need.
Now let’s apply this to our battle with sexual sin. When we are being tempted so we see it as an opportunity to do the right thing instead of collapsing and giving in to it because we have become addicted to sexual sin?
We need to finally learn that it is not a sin to be tempted. Temptation is “common to all” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13. And God is Faithful …and He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can resist.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT IS TRUE???
It is true … but if you do not believe it is true you will dissolve again and bow down to your idol of sex, eating your vomit and thinking it tastes good.
When tempted we are “lured away and enticed” by something that appeals to our sexual appetite. We have developed neurological pathways over time so that even a thought or an image can send us back to sexual sin. This has resulted in our feeling that we must fall again and do not have a choice.
Tomorrow I want to address this powerful and sin inducing unbiblical lie and make the case that our faith, the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, and a community of other believers can help us demonstrate our faith by maintaining a righteous path even when being overshadowed by temptation.