Call to Worship October 4 2020

Thoughts on 2 Corinthians 10:12-14

Paul continued to weave together the importance of Christian Liberty and Perseverance of the Saints. While he continued this thought he provided an important context to perseverance and striving against sin in verse 13. Paul assured believers that temptation is real and it will frequently occur. As he stated, it is “common to man.” Yet he immediately reminded the readers of the faithfulness of God. In this verse he focused on a particular context of God’s faithfulness. God will never allow a temptation that is too great for a believer to persevere through it. Ultimately, God will provide a way out or an escape route. This path of escape will enable the believer to flee from sin, to persevere, and endure the temptation.

The trouble comes for us in recognizing and utilizing those routes provided by God. Paul continued to emphasize the issue of idolatry as it may stand in the way of believers recognizing the biblical paths opened by God (vs. 14). When something is idolized it distracts our focus from other things. In extreme measures it may become addictive, and any addiction will be the sole focus of a person’s life. Whether distracted, addicted, or both, idols will cloud or destroy our judgment. The inability to discern and turn to the provided way of escape will leave believers in constant guilt and shame of their sin. The guilt will lead to some sense of lethargy or even frustration with God. Also, it may often become so overwhelming that a believer will struggle with assurance of faith.

Temptation left to simmer and boil throughout a life time may prove that one was never a believer in the first place. This is Paul’s idea coming from the previous section and particularly verse 12. So temptation is no matter to play around with in our lives. Especially when we are told in scripture that Satan is constantly on the prowl seeking who he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Satan and his legions want to lead God’s people astray and so does our remaining flesh. With all that going against a believer it seems hopeless. Who is it that will prove to be an actual Christian with all that temptation, sin, struggle, and strife so prevalent? Those who persevere in the faith by repenting of sin and resisting or putting up a fight against it (James 4:7). The ones that seek the path of escape through the righteousness of Christ alone, in repentance and faith, in seeking by the word and Spirit to discern the way of escape in resisting against the tempter and temptation itself.  

By the word of God the Spirit leads His people to not only discern the way of escape in the moment, but to recognize it before the temptation arises. Sometimes these paths are simple to find (Read the Proverbs). Other times they are more difficult to discern (Read the Proverbs). Yet, we have to be looking for them in order to see them. Maybe you’ve seen a person walking on the sidewalk or driving their car with their head down focused on their phone? If they never look up from their distraction or idol, they may walk or drive into all types of dangerous situations. As they navigate through them eventually their chances of survival will decrease if they never look up. Let us look up from the idols of this world and flee to the one and only Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ (1 Cor. 6:18-20. 1 Tim. 6:6-16). May we seek His paths through His word by the power of the Spirit. Let us pray that we not be led into temptation. When God has permitted temptation and trial for our growth, then we must ask for the wisdom to recognize it for what it is and discern the way of escape. When we fall into sin we must repent of our sin according to the promise of God through His Son. It is God alone who is faithful to forgive, restore, and keep His repentant child until the final day of glorification. Soli Deo Gloria! (John 10:1-18)