Countering Temptation, Part 2

Click here to read part 1 of this post.

So the Scriptures are a weapon against temptation and sin, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We need careful study to use them properly. And tradition—the words of godly men and women through the centuries—can aid our understanding. We also have the Holy Spirit to guide us, both individually and collectively as the church throughout the world, both now and as God’s people through the centuries. Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight…

Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

But not all temptation comes from the outside:

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.”

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

But what is the victory that conquers the world? What is able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one? Faith. Not faith in ourselves, not faith in faith, but faith in a faithful God.

How do we receive this faith? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. When we receive the Word and Sacraments in faith, when we receive the Holy Spirit by faith with the laying on of hands, we take His word and Spirit inside us, they become part of us and transform us, enabling us to keep his commands that we could not keep on our own.

Romans 10:5-13

[Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say?]

“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”)

In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.