Fighting Temptation (2) – S.Ferguson

In Christ Alone - SFergusonThis is a follow up to the previous post, in which S.Ferguson concludes his look at temptation. I repeat here the context of his analysis.

In the forty-sixth chapter of his book In Christ Alone, Sinclair Ferguson treats the subject of temptation, plainly and powerfully, under the title “An Anatomy of Temptation.” The content speaks specifically to men (although women face the same evils and often in the same ways), as Ferguson deals with two parallel passages: David’s fall into sin recorded in 2 Sam.11:2ff. and the “anatomy of temptation” described in James 1:14-15.

I found his entire treatment soul-searching and faith-building, as he warns us about the power of sin within and without. Here is what he says about the fourth stage of temptation:

Stage 4:Temptation unresisted leads to death.

The death of David’s son illustrates the final fruit of sin. Its wages are death (Rom.6:23) – death as the destruction of blessing, death as separation from God, death as decay, loss, and darkness. If only David had asked, ‘Where will these desires lead me?’ But when our desires bring their objects near, vision is obscured. We forget Scripture’s sobering warnings that we reap what we sow, that the mind set on the flesh is death, that only those who put to death the misdeeds of the flesh can live (Gal.6:7-8; Rom.8:6,13).

Fourth Antidote: Always ask where an action will lead you, and what its final destination will be, before you become volitionally or affectionally drawn into it. Live always for the future, and in such a way that you will not be ashamed at Christ’s coming.

Yes, we fail [painfully true!]. But here is a word of encouragement from one who likewise failed: ‘Brothers… if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 1:10-11, NIV).

What things? [At this point Ferguson takes us back to vss.3-8 of 2 Peter 1, which we would do well to read and pray over.]

And he concludes:

Here is the apostolic medicine for sickly souls – prescribed by one who fell grievously ill but was raised up!

Praise be to the amazing mercy and grace of God! May we weigh these things well, fellow brothers in the Lord, and heed the only wisdom there is – Christ’s.

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