Temptation and the Purified HeartBro. David Chancellor
5/21/2006 11:00 AM
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
God instituted a plan that would fix the need in the hearts of mankind. “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners…” You can’t expect to walk with God if you don’t turn your heart toward him. “and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” When a sinner comes to God, he has to first deal with the guilt from sins committed in disobedience to God and his word. When we repent, the things that separated us from God are forgiven and gone.
“Do you think the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” There is something within that needs to be purified, a nature that man can be delivered from. It is not necessary to our existence to envy. There are things about our natural person that aren’t changed, but envy is not naturally part of our natural person.
“But he giveth more grace.” In the second work of grace, he purifies our hearts. This doesn’t remove temptation. In our natural being there is an avenue for temptation. In sanctification, we’re delivered from attitudes and desires that are not part of the natural course of life (ex: strife, envy, etc.). We can live as the disciples lived after the day of Pentecost. We will have to continue to resist the devil while we’re in this life. By the grace of God we can overcome the devil. There are still means in the sanctified heart for the devil to tempt. Two examples of this are Eve in the garden, and Jesus in the wilderness. They didn’t have the nature that was contrary to God, but they were still tempted.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The devil came and twisted what God had to say. He came to twist what was normal into what was evil. He used hunger as an avenue to tempt. It is also natural for us to behold and enjoy beauty. There is nothing wrong with desiring wisdom. It is normal and natural to take in what is good for food. The devil took these natural desires and perverted them. He would take the natural and use it to draw us away from God. Adam and Eve disobeyed God because the devil worked on them through their natural desires. The devil would use the natural desires to tempt the purified heart. God’s grace is sufficient for us to overcome the temptation the devil would bring. We can overcome because Christ overcame. Through the grace and power of God within us, we can overcome these temptations.
Matthew 4:1-3, 5-6, 8
Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
The temptation here was to fill the natural desire by misuse of hid divinity. It was a temptation to misuse his position to fill his natural desire. Christ wouldn’t take advantage of his position to fill these desires.
The second temptation was to make use of God’s protection to advance himself. God has promised to do many good things for us, but we need to make sure that God is still glorified. The devil wanted him to take God’s providence and care to draw attention to self. The devil would like to take what is for our good and turn it into something else.
It is normal and natural to desire to succeed, to desire to reach others. Selling out what is right and gaining the smile of the world is not acceptable or right in God’s eyes.
Eve sold out, but Jesus resisted at every turn. We need the grace that Jesus had. We need to resist the devil at every turn and keep close to Christ. Know and understand the word of God. When we have been purified, we’ll have the grace of God, but we must still resist temptation.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
There is a prize, something to look forward to. We need to run and fight so that we can achieve the prize. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection…” Temptations will come. The devil will still work on you after your heart has been purified. The normal and natural desires need to be kept in their place. We still have need of God’s grace. We still can come under temptation and, if we choose, become a castaway. The devil wants to take what is right and pervert it. We need to resist him and hold on to what is right. Jesus faced many temptations. Keep your body under and keep the natural desires in their place. We’re still dependent on God and his grace. We can be overcomers by God’s grace. Stay close to God.