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Everyday Enticements - Part 7

By: Arnie Cole & Michael Ross

Resisting Sin at Its Head

The seven deadly sins remind us just how prone we are to sin. But we can stop the flow of sin when we recognize that every temptation is a life-shaping moment. As Philip Howard notes, “the lightest inclination toward an act which is not wholly clean may be the real pivot on which his whole being turns just then and for all time. As he chooses then, so he may come to be.”[1] Every choice makes us who we are, and that’s why “every temptation is worth a fight to the death.”[2] . That means that every time we justify a sin as “small,” we weaken our defenses against much greater sins. But every time we turn away from even the smallest sins, we build up our resistance to the patterns of sin that seek to destroy us.

Still, we must ultimately remember that our hope of overcoming temptation lies not in ourselves, but in Christ’s power at work in us. In his short booklet on Temptation, Dietrich Bonhoeffer places every temptation in the world into one of two categories: “Either the Adam in me is tempted—in which case we fall. Or the Christ in us is tempted—in which case Satan is bound to fall.”[3] For Adam failed at the decisive moment and led all of humanity into sin, but Christ “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

As Christ resisted every temptation, so through his death and resurrection he applies that overcoming power to his body, the church. And when we appropriate Christ’s strength, only then can we overcome the deadly sin in our lives.

[1] Philip E. Howard, Temptation: What It Is, and How to Meet It (Philadelphia: The Sunday School Times Company, 1911), 1–2.

[2] Howard, Temptation, 2.

[3] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Temptation, trans. Kathleen Downham (1953; repr., London: SCM Press Ltd., © 1963), 14.

From Tempted, Tested, True

© Back to the Bible.


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