Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

"It is written ... It is written ... It is written" (Mt 4:4,7,10)

When we sin we start giving excuses and blaming everything and everyone. This explains the continuously defeated lives of many Christians. The first Adam gave excuses for his failure. Under the same and even worse circumstances the second Adam, Christ Jesus, triumphed. Let's study two common excuses today and how we can avoid them.

Ignorance no excuse!

The commandment to Adam and Eve was specific and clear. No interpretation was necessary. It was simple and direct (Gen 2:16,17). Yet they failed. But we have no record that the Father God had told Jesus not to turn stones into bread or not to jump from the pinnacle. How did then Jesus overcome the enemy who tempted Him to do these things? He operated on the "principles" of God's Law. In the first temptation, to turn stones into bread, was a challenge of His Sonship and the sufficiency of the Scriptures. In the second temptation, to jump from the pinnacle, was a call to spectacularity and a suggestion to test God. The devil was cleverly trying to sow doubt in Christ's mind about God's ability. The third one was to attempt a short-cut method to sovereignty. Yielding to these would violate God's principles.

Never say, "I didn't know, so I failed." God has deposited His truth in our hearts. He has written His law in our minds. He has given the all-sufficient Bible in our hands. The Holy Spirit in us is constantly teaching us what to accept and what to reject. We don't need a specific commandment for each situation.

Tempters no excuse!

When God asked Adam whether he ate the forbidden fruit, he threw the blame on his wife (Gen 3:12). To Jesus came one of the most powerful temptations through Peter. While He was speaking about how He would suffer and be killed in Jerusalem Peter rebuked Him saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" Jesus at once recognised satanic suggestion to avoid the Cross, and He sharply answered Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan!" (Mt 16:21-23). Jesus did not for a moment entertain the temptation just because it came through His closest associate. This is what Adam should have done when Eve gave him the fruit. Instead of saying, "Get behind me, Satan," he perhaps said, "Get near me, Sweetheart!" What a tragedy for mankind! Temptations may be through someone we love most. It may come from the most unexpected quarter. "My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent" (Prov 1:10).

 R. Stanley