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Question and Answer

My friend says that if you're living a life of victory in Christ, you will no longer be tempted, but that certainly has not been the case in my life. What's that all about?

It is a wonderful thing to live a life that says no to sin, but any honest believer will tell you that temptation is a real "spiritual disease" that we will constantly fight. The necessity to say no will always be there. Scripture makes it clear that we regularly battle the world, the flesh, and the Devil. As much as we'd like to believe that at some point in our Christian life we will be immune to thoughts of doing wrong, neither the Bible nor our own experiences back it up. Young people struggling with the sins of alcoholism, drugs, or promiscuity who rededicate their lives to Christ are often under the impression that once they've made that decision they will no longer struggle with their besetting sins again. Those battling homosexual behavior, for example, are convinced that their decision to follow Christ will eradicate their sinful desires. When the impulse to sin again comes around, they feel it's obvious Christ is really not a part of their lives or can do nothing about their sinful behavior and they fall back into their gay lifestyle. The problem for many is the mistaken notion that temptation itself is the sin. They've confused temptation with the sin itself.

James said that we should consider it joy when we are tempted or tested (see James 1:2). If temptation were the actual sin, how could we find that joyful? Here's what Scripture means: the testing or temptation is an opportunity to prove that the Spirit of God is in you to overwhelm evil desires.

James goes on to say, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12). The only way to overwhelm our sin is to submit ourselves to God. The idea of submission involves a tender heart willing to be obedient. Our submission is actualized in our obedience.

Yes, there will be times of failure, and the Word reminds us that we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ (see 1 John 2:1). And when we sin, He tells us to confess the sin, and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin (see 1 John 1:9).

We are in a battle. When some suggest that at some point in time, this side of heaven, the battle with temptation is over, they are wrong. Dead wrong. But it doesn't mean that Christ can't bring about His victory in and through us. He certainly can!

BY C. Donald Cole

C. DONALD COLE hosted Moody Radio’s Open Line for 26 years before retiring in 2008. Before joining the team at the Moody Bible Institute in 1971, Pastor Cole and his wife, Naomi, served the Lord as missionaries in Angola from 1948 until 1966. Pastor Cole then served as a faculty member of Emmaus Bible College of Dubuque and as editor of Interest magazine.

Pastor Cole authored several books, and was married to his wife Naomi for 65 years before he went home to the Lord in 2012.

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