Ron Witbeck: Temptation isn’t sin; salvation is possible

By Ron Witbeck

Associate Pastor, Resurrection Life Church
Have you ever been tempted, then followed by the thought you have just sinned? If we are honest, all of us at times have been tempted to reach out beyond what we know is the right thing to do. Then guilt can begin to make us feel unworthy of God’s love, or Satan may make his entry, causing us to feel we have just failed at living a righteous life. We may at this point blame God for this temptation, feeling He has placed it upon us. Wrong!

When we look at the truth in God’s Word, we find this is just another lie of the devil; we are told in James 1:13-15;

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God;’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (NKJV)

Now if temptation was sin, Jesus would be the greatest sinner to ever live. Jesus’ temptations were part of God’s plan. Through these temptations Jesus paved the way for our salvation. As with Jesus, the devil tempts us when we are at our weakest point. Luke 4:1-2 says:

“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.”

We are faced with the ever-increasing temptations of this world, as Jesus was, as we read in Luke 4:5-7:

“Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.'”

Our answer to these temptations should as Jesus responded in verse 8; “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Temptation leads to sin only after we have put action to it — when we allow these thoughts to manifest in our minds. Paul, in his writing, referred to these thoughts as fiery darts of the devil.

We may ask ourselves, “Why do these thoughts get into my mind? I am saved, I believe in Jesus, I go to church.” We can begin to question whether or not we are actually living within God’s will for us.

We can find our answer to this in Luke 4:13;

“Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.”

So we can see Satan continued to tempt Jesus for the rest of His walk here on Earth, in the Garden of Gethsemane, while facing the false charges the religious leaders were bringing against Him. Until He took His final breath, He never gave into temptations!

If we do fall to temptation, because Jesus died for us, we have the Grace of God so we can be forgiven rather than living in guilt. We read in 1 John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Now we know Jesus also was tempted, but He used God’s Word to resist. We have that same Word available to us! If we have yielded to temptation, don’t live in guilt: Confess, and accept God’s forgiveness!

Leave a Reply