Do you ever feel like God tempts you or gives you over to sin in order to teach you a lesson? I have, but is that an accurate perspective on the nature of God?
I used to think that when I would sin, God would give me over to greater sin as a way to chastise me. I thought that if I did well, I would be rewarded with the righteousness I sought after. There are some problems with this idea.
For one, if sin is the punishment for more sin, then we can easily become stuck in this never-ending cycle of destruction. Sure, when we walk after the flesh and do sin, we are more likely to continue making bad choices and we will most likely continue sinning. But, this does not mean that God is the one leading us into temptation. He is not the tempter. He is the relief from the tempter.
The more accurate perspective is that when we walk after the flesh and do sin, we are more likely to make a bad choice when temptation comes, and temptation is always in the world. Isn’t Satan as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour? He is in this world constantly deceiving, accusing, and killing — and when we walk after this world, we are vulnerable to succumbing to his devices.
On the other hand, when we walk after the Spirit, we are more likely to make good choices and resist the temptations that are to come. Through Jesus, we are given a way to live free from the tempter and the destruction he brings to our lives. As Jesus writes the laws of the kingdom in our hearts and teaches us to walk therein, we are given peace, rest, and refuge from the dark ruler of this world.
Another problem with my former view is that it keeps us in a place of bondage. When we forget that the righteousness of God is a good gift given through Jesus, we fall into legalism and a works-based road to pleasing God. Sure, I knew that we need the Lord to write these things in our hearts by his Spirit, but I still struggled with an idea that is in direct opposition to the truth of the gospel.
The Accuser Is A Master Deceiver. Do Not Allow Him or His Ministers to Cause You to Stumble!
If you’re like me, we need to stop looking at God from a punitive perspective, but rather from a perspective of liberty. God does not lead us into temptation. The world is currently under dominion of the tempter, and Jesus provides us a shelter from this world.
There are those who misunderstand this (as I have) and will cause you to fear God, weaken your faith, and make you doubt your salvation. These are tactics of The Adversary AKA The Accuser (Slanderer).
The gospel is “good news,” and we often allow the lies of the enemy to pervert how we perceive God and the promises offered through Jesus.
God is merciful, loving, kind, and gentle. He is slow to anger, and when He corrects us He deals with us as children. When we view God as someone who is ready to strike us down, we are not walking after the Spirit, and we are vulnerable to lies from the Accuser who would tear down our faith and make us fear the wrath of God — a wrath that is for this world and not for us.
Instead of walking after the fears, lies, and other sins of the flesh, we should seek to walk after the Spirit — so that through Jesus who first overcame this world, we too can overcome the world!