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13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
If a man examine himself, he will perceive within him something at work, craving after things which the law of God forbids. The best of men are conscious of this enemy within them. It troubled the apostle so much that he exclaimed, "O, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death," (ver. 24) or this mortal body? He thanked God that the Lord Jesus Christ would do it; that is, as He had Himself been delivered from it, by God raising Him from the dead by His Spirit (Rom. 8:11).
Human nature, or "sinful flesh," has three principal channels through which it displays its waywardness against the law of God. These are expressed by "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." All that is in the world stands related to these points of our nature; and there is no temptation that can be devised, but what assails it in one, or more, of these three particulars.
The world without is the seducer, which finds in all animal men, unsubdued by the law and testimony of God, a sympathizing and friendly principle, ready at all times to eat of its forbidden fruit. This sinful nature we inherit. It is our misfortune, not our crime, that we possess it. We are only blameworthy when, being supplied with the power of subduing it, we permit it to reign over us.
This power resides in "the testimony of God" believed; so that we "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (1 Peter 1-5). This testimony ought to dwell in us as it dwelt in the Lord Jesus; so that, as with the shield of faith, the fiery assaults of the world may be quenched (Ephes. 6:16) by a "thus it is written," and a "thus saith the Lord."
Elpis Israel 1.3.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
But man transgressed. He listened to the sophistry of flesh reasoning under the inspiration of its own instincts. He gave heed to this "the thinking of the flesh," or carnal mind, which "is enmity against God, is not subject to His law, neither indeed can be." The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, which pertain essentially to all living human, or ground, souls, were stirred up by what he saw and heard; and "he was drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
His lust having conceived, it brought forth sin in intention; and this being perfected in action, caused death to ensue. Every man, says the apostle, is tempted in this way. It is not God, nor the clerical devil that tempts man, but "his own lust," excited by what from without addresses itself to his five senses, which always respond approvingly to what is agreeable to them.
EUREKA - 'THE DIABOLOS'
'Some think the devil in the case was Christ's own inclinations; but this is untenable in view of the statement that "When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season"Luke 4:13. It is also untenable in view of the harmony that existed between the mind of Christ and the will of the Father', John 8:29.
- --Christendom Astray
Sin is pleasant to the flesh; because the deeds forbidden are natural to it. It is that "good" fruit which the animal man delights to eat. The flesh, the eyes, and life, have all their desires, or lusts, which, when gratified constitute the chiefest good that men under their dominion seek after. But, God has forbidden indulgence in these lusts. He says, "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world " (1 John 2:15-16).
And again, "the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4): and, "if ye live after the flesh ye shall die" (Rom. 8:13).
This language is unmistakeable. To indulge then in the lawless pleasures which "sinful flesh" terms "good," is to "bring forth sin" (James 1:15), or to bear fruit unto death; because "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:21-23). "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal.6:7-8). All "the ills that flesh is heir to" make up the "evil," which has come upon man as the result of transgressing the law of God, which said to Adam, "thou shalt not eat thereof." The fruit of his eating was the gratification of his flesh in the lusts thereof, and the subjection of himself and posterity to the "evil" of eating of the cursed ground in sorrow all the days of their lives (Gen. 3:17-19).
All the posterity of Adam, when they attain the age of puberty, and their eyes are in the opening crisis, begin to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. Previous to that natural change, they are in their innocency. But, thenceforth, the world, as a serpent-entwined fruit tree, stands before the mind, enticing it to take and eat, and enjoy the good things it affords.
To speculate upon the lawfulness of compliance is partly to give consent.
There must be no reasoning upon the harmlessness of conforming to the world.
Its enticements without, and the sympathizing instincts of the flesh within, must be instantly suppressed; for, to hold a parley with its lusts, is dangerous. When one is seduced by "the deceitfulness of sin," "he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14,15); in other words, he plucks the forbidden fruit, and dies, if not forgiven.
Elpis Israel 1.2.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
It comes from God to us, and then from us -- if we fulfil our proper part -- it radiates and diffuses in ever-widening circles. He teaches us not to do things for those who can reciprocate, but for those who cannot -- they will bless His name, and He will complete the chain by blessing us. Not that we do these things for reward, but it is the working out of the great law that as we sow, so shall we reap -- He that rolleth a stone, either good or ill, it will return to him, to bless or curse.
It is upon this law, in its highest form, that God's relation to us is based. He freely pours His blessings upon us, involving us in an obligation that we can never repay, but which is a lifelong incentive to effort, and a powerful stimulus to love. He does not say, "If you do this and that, then I will reward, or bless you." He says rather, "I have redeemed you, I have given you life and hope, I have made you sons and daughters, I HAVE LOVED YOU -- therefore do these things to give Me joy and to show your love and appreciation."
"God commendeth His love toward us in that -- while we were yet sinners -- Christ died for us."
God does not ask us for great accomplishments. He is not an exacting Master -- He is a loving Father. What does a Father ask but love, and what else can we give Him? He asks us to love Him with our whole heart and mind and soul, and to let that love pervade and direct our every act and thought and word. That is all -- but that is everything.
Bro Growcott - Holy And Blameless In Love
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
When others talk, listen. When others want to listen, talk. And don't just chatter. Really try to think something worth thinking, and say something worth saying.
You have the world's most marvellous computer right inside your own skull -- a brain: a multi-billion cell miracle: a gift from God. Don't let it rust, or rot with rubbish.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
The Scriptures have much to say about our speech. The importance of its relation to the way of life or the way of death could hardly be over-emphasized. The Spirit through Solomon declared (Prov. 18:21):
"Life and death are in the power of the tongue."
By the medium of speech, Eve was persuaded to transgress the law of God. By the same medium, countless since have been deceived into the way of death. By it, too, many have been led into the way of Truth and Life.
And not only is our course directed by the influence of speech from without, but our own faithful or unfaithful use of this great power will determine our eternal destiny, for here is the key to a man's character and heart. Jesus said:
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
If the Truth is uppermost in our hearts, it will be uppermost in our speech. We all know brethren and sisters of whom this is true, and we know brethren and sisters of whom it is not true. Here is one of the most searching tests as to whether we truly are "in the Faith." Of course, some talk a lot about the Truth who do not have the true spirit of the Truth -- talking is not everything -- but we can be sure that those whose conversation is always about other things are certainly not "in the Faith."
And it is not just the subject matter of our conversation that determines our heart -- it is the spirit and character. The Truth can be used in conversation as an instrument of abuse and antagonism to gratify pride and the perverse, evil reactions of the flesh within us. Solomon says:
"There is that speaketh like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is health" (Prov. 12:18).
We know, of course, that the pure Spirit-Word is sharper and more piercing than any sword, but it must be wielded in meekness and wisdom and love to purge and purify, but not to condemn and destroy:
"If a man be overtaken in a fault, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).
And again (2 Tim. 2:24-25):
"The servant of the Lord MUST NOT STRIVE, but be gentle unto all men, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves."
"Speak evil of no man, but be gentle, showing ALL meekness unto ALL men" (Tit. 3:2).
The supreme importance of the proper control and use of the tongue is vividly illustrated by Jesus' solemn declaration:
"By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt. 13:37).
And David says in Psalm 34:12-13:
"What man is he that desireth life? Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips from speaking guile."
James' short epistle devotes a whole chapter to the power of the tongue -- to what a tremendous influence it wields, and how difficult it is to control. It is among those things of which Jesus says:
"With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible."
In this matter, we must confess our helplessness, and earnestly seek God's help.
Bro Growcott - Thy Speech Bewrayeth Thee