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One either believes in Satan and his horde of hundreds of millions of demons or does not. This is Satan’s world; he is the wicked, invisible ruler. So, who is to say that any human with a measure of success is necessarily blessed by God? Then we have Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 that tell us that we are literally mentally bent toward evil. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are treacherous, and we cannot even understand them. And finally, the apostle makes it all too clear that our natural desire is to do bad.
So, our human imperfection alone can stumble us into a spiritual shipwreck, a life of secret sin quite easily. The surest victims of a spiritual shipwreck are those who stop pursuing spiritual growth because they think they are now spiritually strong. So, they put themselves into innocent appearing situations until they stumble, and their conscience convicts them. But they ignore their conscience again and again until their figurative heart has grown callused, unfeeling.
James 1:14-15 tells us, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. [Or “own lust”] Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is an apostate antichrist and a popular, somewhat worshiped early Christianity and NT textual studies scholar. Does anyone find it strange that the Bible scholars are up in arms over reading Ravi Zacharias books, but they have been reading Ehrman’s for decades, coauthoring books with Ehrman, quoting Ehrman in their books? If that is not enough craziness for us, millions have had a worshipful attitude toward John Calvin who unrepentantly had Michael Servetus killed for believing different, and Calvin said (paraphrasing), ‘Catholics who kill us who are right, so how can we be wrong in killing Catholics who are wrong.’
So, we can read, coauthor books with, quote in our own personal books, quote online an agnostic apostate antichrist that has stumbled at least tens of thousands of Christians out of the faith purposely (Ehrman), but we cannot read the book of a Christian who had a major spiritual shipwreck at the end of his life? So, we can read and quote the books of an unrepentant “Christian” who had someone murdered for believing differently and supported killing Catholics (Calvin). Still, we cannot read Ravi Zacharias, who stumbled spiritually?
I am not saying that it is acceptable to continue reading Zacharias’ books or not. I am not going to do so personally, nor am I going to quote him any more than I am going to quote Calvin or Ehrman. This is a conscience decision that each of us must make. If the information is biblically sound and logical, accurate and true; then, the person reading the book is not sinning by doing so or by quoting such a person’s book, but you need to be prepared for the blowback that you might receive. It might be that the book privately helps you better grasp certain things, and you incorporate those points into a conversation in your own words as you understand them without citing the person. But that would be another conscience decision on whether you should name the person even though you made the argument your own and in your own words.
First, what do you think Zacharias would want you to do if he was alive and he knew the predicament he put you in? So, Ehrman is a different animal entirely. Calvin and Zacharias were writing what they believed to be true to draw Christians to the faith, although doing so as serious sinners who were living in sin. Ehrman is an Agnostic who willfully and purposely misleads, misrepresents, and misinforms. So, it might be good to read him apologetically, to know what he is saying and how he says it. If you quote Ehrman, it might be to undermine him but not any of his information, even if it is truthful. Why? Because it gives this Agnostic apostate antichrist more credibility. If Ehrman says, Jesus was a real historical person, a quote that says something like, “even the Agnostic Ehrman agrees that Jesus Christ was an actual historical person.” With Calvin and Zacharias, the final thought on this is a Christian conscience decision either way, and no one should condemn either side. What is the lesson from the Ravi Zacharias spiritual shipwreck?
DO NOT BE OVERCONFIDENT – GAINING THE VICTORY OVER HUMAN WEAKNESSES
1 Corinthians 10:12a Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Therefore, the one who thinks that he stands beware that he does not fall.
Commentator Mark Taylor says of 10:12 “Paul concludes with a strong, summative warning against self-confidence that captures the overarching intent of this section and paves the way for the imperative in 10:14, “Flee from idolatry!” In context, the phrase “the one who thinks he stands”187 targets “those with knowledge” mentioned in 8:10. Paul began this section with, “I do not want you to be ignorant” (10:1). In the course of his argument Paul has shown how “those with knowledge” have become “puffed up” (8:1) and may not be truly knowledgeable at all. The one who loves God (8:3) has been known by him, and love for God is shown by shunning idolatry. Paul has persuasively made his case that those who “know” and who think they stand may lack the most essential knowledge of all concerning the ways of God. In context, the meaning of “fall” is to die (10:8), which had already occurred in Corinth over abuses of the Lord’s Supper (11:27–30). “Falling” may also be synonymous with standing before God “unapproved” (9:27). Both certainly entail God’s judgment.”
David E. Garland gives us a deeper look at 1 Corinthians 10:12,
Paul clinches his argument in this segment: “So then, let the one who presumes to stand watch out lest he fall.” “To fall” in the OT context meant to die (Num. 14:3) and recalls the wretched demise of the desert generation that serves as an enduring warning to the people of God in every age (Heb. 4:11). In Rom. 11:11–12, however, “stumbling” and “falling” refer to “the loss of salvation, not just occasional slips” (Willis 1985b: 157). The Corinthian “knowers” not only need to watch lest they cause others to stumble and fall (1 Cor. 8:13); they also need to watch lest they fall themselves.
The perfect infinitive ἑστάναι (hestanai) refers to those who think that they are standing fast now, and it may refer to a sense of covenant security (P. Gardner 1994: 153; see Jer. 7:8–15). More likely, it is shorthand for standing in the faith (1 Cor. 16:13; cf. also 15:1; 2 Cor. 1:24; Rom. 5:2; 11:20; 14:4; so Wolff 1996: 223). This false assurance does not derive from some mistaken view of the sacramental efficacy of baptism and the Lord’s Supper but from self-confident trust in their own knowledge. The substantive participle ὁ δοκῶν (ho dokōn) recalls Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 8:2, εἴ τις δοκεῖ ἐγνωκέναι τι (ei tis dokei egnōkenai ti, if anyone presumes to have arrived at complete knowledge about anything). That presumed “knowledge” has led them to risk idolatrous associations and to think nothing of it. They remained oblivious to the fact that it placed them, not to mention the person with a weak conscience, in dire spiritual jeopardy. They did not sit down and cooly calculate the potential consequences of their idolatry and reach the theological conclusion that they were immune to any spiritual repercussions. They did not think that there was any danger at all—like thirsty hikers who drink from a mountain stream, unaware of the debilitating giardia that might lurk in the crystal-clear water. Paul sounds the alarm against pagan banquets that may seem to the Corinthians to be only innocuous conviviality combined with meaningless ritual. He is not addressing the question of the security of the believer but calling attention to the pitfall of being careless because of overconfidence (Robertson and Plummer 1914: 208).
Paul does not single out a particular group or indict the whole community with a broad brush. The use of the singular “let each one watch” (βλεπέτω, blepetō; sometimes translated “let those” to be gender inclusive) requires each auditor to examine his or her own life. If Paul thinks that he could fall (9:27), how much more, then, could the Corinthians fall. Their security rests on their continuing fidelity to God and God alone (cf. Rom. 11:22). Calvin’s (1960: 212–13) comments are pertinent. The assurance that Paul attacks is not the assurance of faith that rests on the promises of God but the assurance that “has its roots in nonchalance.” It is the assurance of swollen-headed persons who are guilty of a misplaced confidence in their own knowledge.
GUARD YOUR HEART
James 1:13-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Romans 5:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned,
In addition, God had already informed us that we are mentally bent toward evil, that man’s mind is evil from his very youth.
Genesis 6:5 The American Translation (AT)
5 When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great, and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil, the LORD regretted that he had ever made man on the earth.
Genesis 8:21 The American Translation (AT)
21 I will never again curse the soil, though the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth; nor ever again will I ever again destroy all life creature as I have just done.
Jeremiah informs us that,
Jeremiah 17:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 The heart is more deceitful than all else,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
The apostle Paul writes,
Romans 7:21-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Notice in the above that Paul references “the law of [his] mind.” For a person who has a strong faith, that law of his mind is ruled by a phenomenon that he delights in, namely “the law of God.” Certainly, we see that “the law of sin” is waging war against the law of the mind. Nevertheless, the Christian can conquer ‘the law of sin’ with the help of God. Paul goes on to say in verse 25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.’”
Thus, the imperfect human, in his human weaknesses, has the following stacked up against him, (1) he is missing the mark of perfection, (2) the whole bent of his mind leans toward evil, (3) his inner self is deceitful and sick, (4) which he cannot understand, and (5) the law of sin dwells in his members. Therefore, it is easy to see that if he dwells on, entertains, or cultivates wrong thoughts, as opposed to immediately dismissing them, it will lead to sin.
However, not all is lost, because Paul also tells us that we can ‘be renewed in the spirit of our minds.’ (Eph. 4:23) We can ‘put off the old person with its practices and have put on the new self. We will then be renewed in knowledge according to the image of our Creator.’ We will be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.’ – Colossians 3:9-10; Romans 12:2.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God.” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. (1:13)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God.” If any Christian were under any kind of affliction or hardship, he would be wrong to attribute this to God, as though God were trying to tempt him into sinning. If he lets some aspect of the trial turn into a temptation for him (e.g., if he goes from a refusal to give in to the temptation, to giving in or bending under pressure because of some selfish gain, or because he is looking for a way to evade facing and enduring the trial), it is not God who deserves the blame. We need to understand that God will strengthen us to endure the trials of this imperfect word, only if we continue unwaveringly in our own heart. (Phil. 4:13) God will never carry out any action that would lead his servant to sin. While God permitted sin and imperfection to come into the world after the rebellion of Satan, Adam, and Eve, it was not to test or tempt humanity into sin, but rather to teach us the object lesson that we were not designed to walk on our own. We were designed to be under God’s sovereign rulership, which Adam rejected. The world under Satan’s rulership caters to the fallen flesh, not to God.
God is holy and pure so he cannot be tempted with evil. It is impossible for God to be tempted by evil of any kind or by any unacceptable situation, or by some condition that would motivate him to commit wrong. It is impossible to make something that is contrary to God’s standards and values attractive to the point that it would be trying him.
God himself tempts no one, just as he himself cannot be tempted into sin. God does not place alluring things before his creatures, to embolden them to transgress against him. He is not seeking to test their weaknesses or their steadfastness. He does not place things before us that we must have for survival, and the situation requires us to violate his standards to achieve it. However, God has allowed the trials of an imperfect world of humanity to continue, as he has “morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil and suffering in the world.” (William Lane Craig) God offers us nothing but good for our improvement, never for our impairment. The ruler of this imperfect world, Satan the Devil, has no qualms about using trials as a means of tempting us to violate God’s Word. This is not to say that God will not allow some trial that he could have prevented for the sake of disciple (i.e., correction), making his servants more complete. – Hebrews 12:7, and 11
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. (1:14)
James states but each one is tempted, which signifies that temptation is on an individual basis. The temptation is not another individual’s problem but is an individual choice that one gives into or rejects. James also writes one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his desire, which exposes that the problem of temptation lies not with God, but rather it is in oneself. James says that temptation is always directed at the desire of one’s heart. Therefore, God is not the one who is causing the temptation, but the temptation comes through the enticement of one’s lust within his heart.
The Greek word James uses here for enticed is deleazo, which means to “lure as bait.” (Vine 1996, 203) James tells us in the passage that the underlying motivation for all temptation is selfish desire, that all temptations spring from man’s desire to satisfy his own flesh and personal forbidden desires. This means the temptation that Satan offers to people always deals with that which is pleasurable to man and appeals to his desires. This is not to say that human desires in and of itself are wrong. Moreover, human pleasure is not bad in and of itself. Satan has corrupted the desires of the flesh, which was perfectly natural before the sin of Adam. For example, there was a natural desire for a physical relationship between man and woman. After the fall, Paul tells us that it has become a standard practice “For their women [to] exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” i.e., homosexuality. (Rom. 1:26) Once the lust is manifested in the heart, then the more it lingers there without being dealt with then it will begin to carry away the individual with the enticement of what that fulfilled lust can bring.
Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (1:15)
Temptation always begins with an enticement towards one’s lust or an unwarranted desire. If not cast down, one then is carried away by the bait of the enticement. Then soon after, one will take the bait, give in to the temptation, and satisfy the lust of his flesh. It is for this reason that James writes then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin. James continues with the progression stating sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. Once the desire is conceived, or once the individual gives acts upon that temptation by giving into its evil desire, it gives birth to sin that can lead to death.
James is telling these believers that once sin is conceived and begins to take root in the heart, if it is not dealt with, it will become full-grown within the heart, to attain what their hearts desire. James makes it very clear that once we give into the temptation of that lust, it will inevitably give birth to sin. What was meant to produce pleasure and satisfaction now only causes chaos and devastation. James warns these believers that the only result of fulfilling their lust brought about death. This death could, for some, have led to physical death depending upon the lust they were giving into. James has a deeper meaning in the fact that it was causing spiritual death to these believers when they gave into sin.
Again, we can see from Adam and Eve that they did so out of their desire and pleasure for power and control that stemmed from their lust when they ate of the fruit. When they ate of the fruit, the promise of fulfillment only resulted in death. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they faced spiritual death, in the fact that their sin had separated them from God. In turn, because of the curse, they would also suffer physical death due to their sin. James is warning these believers of the serious danger of temptation and the consequences if they were to give in to their lust. James wants his readers to understand that for the one who persisted in his temptation and living in that manner, and then, in the end, he would face eternal destruction. Paul wrote in Romans 7:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”
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 Mark Taylor, 1 Corinthians, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 28, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2014), 236–237.
 David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 466–467.
 Lit untempted
 That is evil persons, or evil things
 Or “own lust”
 God does not tempt us, but he does allow us to go through temptations. As we know from Abraham, God can test us, but never tempt us with sin. God allows us to face the trials that the natural course of life takes within this imperfect age. He allows us to face the trials of our own free will decisions. Simply being steadfast to a Christian life that is counterintuitive to the wicked world that we live in can be a trial that God has allowed.