Every new believer’s favorite verse!
Many who read my blog I know are longstanding disciples of Christ. For some it has been decades since that day of repentance, confession, and commitment. They have endured many trials, proven Him faithful again and again, grown in their knowledge of God, study of the Word, witness to the world, fellowship in the Church, and love toward God in Christ Jesus.
For such, it may be difficult to remember the days when the largest part of their lifetime was lived for this world, without thought for eternity, the possibility of hell or the potential of the Kingdom of God.
Paul urged his Gentile readers to recall that time: “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12).
“Remember those earlier days,” writes the author of Hebrews (Heb. 10:32). This was a time when you were just learning the darkness of sin, the brilliance of God’s holiness, and your place along His path to righteousness. You were just learning fight sin, temptations, and the flesh… just learning to use the Word of God in these battles as Jesus did when tempted in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11).
But some who read these blogs are newer to Christ, are shocked by the temptations which still allure them, disgusted by inner lusts which yet rise up within them. To these Peter says “…do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Pet. 4:12). This battle between Spirit and flesh is real. To them this promise is a daily anchor, a claim to which they lay hold daily… hourly,
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).
God has made this promise: for every temptation there will also be a way to avoid it, a way to choose other than sin. We will always have a choice: sin or righteousness.
But mature believer, be not duped! For you the warning is this: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12). You too must remember to fight, to cling to God, to claim His promises. Think not that you have reached some secure plateau. There is none. “Watch yourselves,” warns Paul, “or you also may be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1).
It’s a dirty world out there, and the enemy has set landmines. — Beware!
To hear Kurt Billard’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Dec. 8 message.