Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our Victory in the Balance

Many claim that it was impossible for Christ to be overcome by temptation.  Then He could not have been placed in Adam's position; He could not have gained the victory that Adam failed to gain.  If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us.  But our Savior took humanity, with all it liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation.  We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.

With Christ, as with the holy pair in Eden, appetite was the ground of the first great temptation.  Just where the ruin began, the work of our redemption must begin.  As by the indulgence of appetite Adam fell, so by denial of appetite Christ must overcome.  "And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stoned be made bread.  But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

From the time of Adam to the time of Christ self-indulgence had increased the power of the appetites and passions, until they had almost unlimited control.  Thus men had become debased and diseased, and of themselves it was impossible for them to overcome.  In man's behalf, Christ conquered by enduring the severest test.  For our sake He exercised a self-control stronger than hunger or death.  And in this first victory were involved other issues that enter into all our conflicts with the powers of darkness.

When Jesus entered the wilderness, He was shut in by the Father's glory.  Absorbed in communion with God, He was lifted above human weakness.  But the glory departed, and He was left to battle with temptation.  It was pressing upon Him every moment.  His human nature shrank from the conflict that awaited Him.  For forty days He fasted and prayed.  Weak and emaciated from hunger, worn and haggard with mental agony, "His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men."  Isaiah 52; 14.  Now was Satan's opportunity.  Now he supposed that he could overcome Christ.

There came to the Savior, as if in answer to His prayers, one in the guise of an angel from heaven.  He claimed to have a commission from God to declare that Christ's fast was at an end.  As God had sent and angel to stay the hand of Abraham from offering Isaac, so, satisfied with Christ's willingness to enter the bloodstained path, the Father had sent an angel to deliver Him; this was the message brought to Jesus. The Savior was faint from hunger He was craving for food, when Satan came suddenly upon Him.  Pointing to the stones which strewed the desert, and which had the appearance of loaves the tempter said, 'If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread'.

Though he appears as an angel of light, these first words betray his character.  "If Thou be the Son of God."  Here is the insinuation of distrust.  Should Jesus do what Satan suggests, it would be an acceptance of the doubt. Satan plans to overthrow Christ by the same method that was so successful with the human race in the beginning.  How artfully had Satan approached Eve in Eden!  "Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Genesis 3:1. Thus far the tempter's words were truth; but in his manner of speaking them there was a doubt of the divine truthfulness.  Satan sought to instill into the mind of Eve the thought that God would not do as He had said; that the withholding of such beautiful fruit was a contradiction of His love and compassion for man.  So now the tempter seeks to inspire Christ with his own sentiments.   "If Thou be the Son of God."  The words rankle with bitterness in his mind.  In the tones of his voice is an expression of utter incredulity.  Would God treat His own Son thus?  Would He leave Him in the desert with wild beast, without food, without companions, without comfort?  He insinuates that God never meant His Son to be in such a state as this.  "If Thou be the Son of God," show Thy power in relieving Thyself of this pressing hunger.  Command that this stone be made bread.

(This was just the first temptation.  Can you see what Christ went through in the wilderness just to give us the power to overcome appetite?  We can do it, but not in our own strength.  We have no power of ourselves to meet Satan on his grounds.  We must have Christ's power within us to be able to resist Satan's temptations, and believe me, he has one or more for every one of us on the grounds of appetite.  I have been through so much over this very sin.  Of ourselves we cannot overcome this hideous sin that Satan has blinded us with.  We must be filled with the fullness of God to be able to meet Satan with "It is Written".  Two good verses for this is Philippians 1:6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24.  Also Jude 24.  There are so many promises to give us the power over Satan, we just need to put them to memory in our hearts so we have them as Christ did.  Grandma Joan)  Taken from the Desire of Ages, chapter 12.

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