The Door of Escape 6/30/2020

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by Suzanne D. Williams

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.”  (Matthew 16:1)

This story is also told in Mark 8:11-13. On my first read of either gospel, I got all hung up on their need for a “sign,” but that isn’t what matters here. We should know and understand Jesus’s response to them, yes. He had replied about this subject earlier in Matthew 12:38-39. His reason for that response and this one, however, is because their motive for asking was a TEMPTATION.

Maybe you’re still cloudy and not following me. The other day, scrolling Facebook, I came across a woman’s remarks on a controversial topic. She sought to have a “discussion” and seemed frustrated no one would join in. Now, I have deliberately avoided sharing the topic itself because I believe that will not help anyone. But whether she realized it or not, she was TEMPTING people into strife and debate.

1 Corinthians 10:30 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

The church has largely misunderstood this verse. Three times, the apostle Paul says “temptation” is the subject here. A temptation is an OPPORTUNITY to sin. An opportunity can be refused or accepted. It is never something dumped on you that you can’t refuse to participate inYou are not FORCED to take temptation. This sounds cut-and-dried, but we know in our hearts how hard it can be not to react to people’s conduct.

Not every temptation is obvious. Some are like that woman’s post, a chance to say what would be better off forgivenGod is never behind strife and confusion. He never supports arguments. We are to love our neighbor, and we are told our motive for that love is of utmost importance. (Php 2:3; 1Co 14:33; Jas 3:16; Rm 1:29; Gal 5:14; 1Co 13:1-3)

Jesus had given the people plenty of signs of who He was, healing all manner of disease and delivering the demonically oppressed, and in the days to come, He would give an even greater sign with His sacrificial death(Act 10:38) He said this same thing to the Pharisees and Sadducees with His reference to Jonah spending three days and nights in a fish. (Mt 16:4) In short, He didn’t need to prove Himself to anyone. That “proving” would have caused Him to sin.

The church has taken this verse in 1 Corinthians 10:30 and applied it to any sort of calamity, removing the point of the discourse—temptationThe verse has become an excuse to bear up under pressures that Jesus died to remove, physical and mental healing especiallyBut in the verses preceding it, Paul lists a number of temptations (opportunities to sin). He talks about lust, idolatry, sexual sins, and also murmuring and complaining. He gives the Israelites behavior in the wilderness as an example of what not to do when faced with a choice to obey or disobey God. When presented with the temptation to say and do the wrong thing, to complain about leadership, for example, they accepted it and suffered as a result. (1Co 10:6-10; Num 14:1-2; Num 21:5-6)

God has made us strong in Him and more than able to say “no” to whatever wrong opportunities are presented to us. Jesus’ victory over death and the grave provides us with the wisdom to see temptation for what it is, and He gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us to refuse it. We are not weak and helpless, loaded with cares, waiting for God to decide if He feels like opening the door of escape.

The door of escape has already been opened, and it will never be closed!

I warn you, though. People will not like it when you refuse to join in, and it can hurt to walk away. We want to have our say, but instead must do like Jesus. Standing in front of Pilate, with an opportunity to defend Himself, He said nothing. He knew the power of His words. He’d once said He could ask, and His Father would send 12 legions of angels to rescue Him. He held silent and gave His life for those who slandered Him instead. (Mk 15:4-5; Mt 26:53; Mk 15:18-20)

We must never forget that but emulate it and with our actions show clearly the love of God.

~~ 

“There is no better portrait of God than in His Word. Though many men held the brush over thousands of years, God directed each stroke, never altering in His purpose.” 

A Good Life 

A GOOD LIFE 

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About the Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or www.suzannedwilliams.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at @SDWAuthor 

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