#DailyDevotion Temptations Are Sure To Come. Don’t Be The Tempter
Matt. 186“If anyone leads into sin one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would be better for him to have a big millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the sea where it’s deep. 7Woe to the world because it tempts people to sin! Temptations to sin must come, but woe to that man who tempts others to sin! 8“If your hand or your foot makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to go into life without one hand or one foot than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the everlasting fire. 9If your eye makes you sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to go into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire. 10“Be careful not to despise one of these little ones. I tell you their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father in heaven.
Still having the little kid in their midst, Jesus starts talking about temptation, tempting others and dealing with sin in ourselves. Temptations are bound to come. First, we have our own sinful flesh which is in constant rebellion to the will of God. Paul writes Rom. 7:14, “I am flesh, sold to be a slave of sin.” Again in verse 18 he says, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh.” All we need is a commandment from the LORD and we are ready to break it. Jesus also tells us in verse seven the world we live in tempts us to sin. The sins of the world are covetousness, riches and pleasures. Finally, there is the devil with all his minions trying to tempt us into sin. Yet we are promised, if we resist them, they will flee from us, at least for a moment. We are to remain vigilant.
But woe to us if we are agent of tempting those who believe in Jesus Christ, the LORD! It’s bad enough when our flesh, the world and the devil tempt us into sin. If we ourselves become the agents of tempting God’s people it will not go well for us, particularly the children who trust in Jesus. See how Jesus warns us that it would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone (that’s a big round flat stone used for grinding wheat) and be cast into the sea. Drowning isn’t pleasant. As God’s people we are to be encouraging others to do good and not to sin. Tempting others to sin is like losing our saltiness. What good are we then?
To show us the severity of sin look what Jesus tells us to do to avoid it. If our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. If our hand causes us to sin, cut it off. If our foot leads us to sin, cut it off. Jesus is most certainly using hyperbole here to make a point. What causes the eye, the hand, and foot to sin? They don’t have a mind of their own. Several chapters earlier Jesus told us 1519 “Yes, out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, stealing, lies, slanders.” Why you will need to cut your heart out, but not your physical heart but your spiritual one. You need a heart transplant. You need a new mind and a new spirit.
The good news is Jesus can give us a new heart, mind and spirit. Through baptism the Holy Spirit gives us faith, justifies us, regenerates us and renews us into the image and likeness to Jesus. He continually renews and transforms our hearts and minds with his word, namely the forgiveness of sins, absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Being declared and made a child of the Father we have the assurance of the angels interceding for us to his glorious face that we may overcome sin and temptation, finally being preserved in our faith unto life everlasting.
Merciful God and Father, continually renew us with your grace and mercy so we do not fall into sin nor tempt others to the end we persevere in the faith until we see your son’s kingdom in the world to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.