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Satan tempts us to not fear sin, so that we will not keep a safe distance from it. That’s Satan’s strategy.
Brooks characterized this strategy as “making the soul bold to venture upon the occasions of sin.” Like many of the devil’s lies, it distorts a truth, namely that temptation is not sin. The Christian who is tempted only sins when he surrenders to the temptation; being outwardly tempted is not a sin. But the Tempter twists this truth into an untruth that says that there is no harm in getting close to sin or exposing yourself to temptations, so long as you don’t take the final step and do the sin. It goes like this:
Distance - Sin - Temptation - Sin - Situations
“You need not keep a safe distance from sin. You are strong enough to resist temptation; you are strong enough to go near sin without falling into it. You need not avoid compromising situations. Sin is not so strong, and you are not that weak.”
Here’s how Brooks expressed this temptation:
Saith - Satan - Harlot - Door - Harlot
“Saith Satan You may walk by the harlot’s door though you won’t go into the harlot’s bed; you may sit and sup with the drunkard, though you won’t be drunk with the drunkard … you may with Achan handle the golden wedge, though you do not steal the golden wedge.”
The Scripture’s primary teaching regarding temptation is to flee from it. Few Bible truths today are as neglected as this one. Our spiritual forefathers understood well both their own sinfulness and the alluring power of sin; for them, fleeing temptation was the Christian’s first strategy for growing in holiness. But today, we think far too little of sin’s power and far too much of our own spiritual ability. As a result, fleeing temptation...
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