Friday, March 20, 2009

Before the Last Exit

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
(1 Corinthians 10:13 – ESV)

In 1 Corinthians 10:1-10 Paul uses the children of Israel in the wilderness as an object lesson about presuming upon the grace of God. Although they had escaped the bondage of Egypt, and had known of God’s grace and had experienced it (vs.1-4), nevertheless, many were still in bondage to sin, and they were judged (vs.5).

Indeed, from that first generation only Joshua and Caleb made it to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:30-32). Paul describes the nature of their offense as the desire for evil things (vs.6 / cf. Psalm 106:14), and then he gives us some specific instances which are representative of how they were confirmed in their sin.

· Idolatry (vs.7) (cf. Exodus 32:1-6)
· Immorality (vs.8) (cf. Numbers 25:1-9)
· Incitement (vs.9) (cf. Numbers 21:5-6)
· Indictment (vs.10) (cf. Numbers 16:41-49)

Paul then tells us that these things are a warning to us (vs.11). God dispensed judgment upon them in the physical realm and this is to be our warning about spiritual judgment, which might also have temporal, physical manifestations. He warns us to always be careful, because the minute that we think we have a particular sin mastered we are in danger of that very sin actually becoming our master (vs.12).

Now in context, verse 13, therefore, is telling us that we need to take the turn offs when they appear and stop traveling down the rotten road before those ways of escape disappear. The children of Israel presumed upon God’s grace and proved their lack of true faith. You have to continue down the grace road; if you do not, you are manifesting the lack of faith.

You can’t continue down the dark path and think that there will be an escape pod just waiting whenever you feel like turning back to God. People think they can coast, and then they wonder why this verse doesn’t seem to “work” for them. The examples Paul gives are a warning against precisely that. Repentance means we are turning back onto the Holy Highway. It is time to turn off of Temptation Street; believe me, you can’t afford the toll.

14 comments:

MrsEvenSo... said...

This reminds me of a passage in Pilgrim's Progress that I was reading last night. Christian and Hope (I believe it was) had taken a path which Christian thought would be easier on them because they were becoming weary and their feet were sore. Hope didn't mention his thoughts on the matter because Christian was more mature than he so why should he question him? The field looked pleasurable but caused them much trouble and affliction, then when they turned back to the Way they discovered it was much more difficult to get back than it was to leave it in the first place. Not only did he lead himself astray but also his friend and follower who looked up to him as a leader. A lesson we all need to heed. We could avoid much trouble and affliction if we will stay on the straight and narrow path no matter how good the other paths may appear.

SQUIRL said...

I sot of remember something you said on Sunday. I dont remember exactly what you said but i know how it felt. It was along the lines of "when God decides he's done with our (Carbon Rich Acid Product), done with our constant excuses, done with our rebellion, and done with our spitting him in the face." We dont know when the grace will run out. Its time to be sure. Hits your stomach to think, if God was through with your continual sin.

JoyfullyHis said...

Just to stray a little, it's Carbon Rich Anaerobic Product. Acid product sounds more like you need some Kaopectate...hehe.

Back on. We've all heard the whole, "I'm not addicted, I can stop whenever I want" spiel. What you don't realize is that rehab sucks. And you have to rebuild your entire life before you can live it again.

Even So... said...

Of course, saving grace never actually runs out...but that is the point, those people who have actaully received saving grace make turn arounds by His grace, and there are many that may think they have received saving grace when it is just the common grace of God's longsuffering and mercy giving them opportunity to repent...

Even So... said...

And you have to rebuild your entire life before you can live it again.

And the process of whether or not you are going to let the Potter be the Potter and the clay be the clay starts again...

Even So... said...

Pilgrim's Progress is must reading for all Christians...

Even So... said...

I think our previous post Supernatural Lies fits in well here also...

Christopher said...

What a call to true repentance these past weeks have been.

Awesome post. Awesome comments.

Dan said...

Something to consider...
Most believers, I don't believe, intentionally go on the wrong path. There are typically deceived into believing that what "they" are doing is not that bad. It is the same mentality that says "I can quit whenever I want".
The Israelites were believers. Believers gone astray but none the less believers. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11... But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Even So... said...

The Israelites were believers.

Not necessarily, Dan, and that is the point. Paul is using the Israelites as a warning to those who might call themselves Christians but are deceived. Not all the descendants of physical Israel were actually children of promise, and it is the spiritual, not the physical descendants that made up "true Israel"(Romans 9:6-8)...

Thus only Joshua and Caleb made it from the first generation, and those from the second generation (under 20), and of course Moses and Aaron and others who a case might be made for. But the point is that the Jews in the wilderness were, for the most part, unbelieving (cf. Hebrews 3 & 4, etc.), and Paul is using their example as a warning to those who have known something of God but are not truly His. This is why he tells them, and us, to take heed (1 Corinthians 10:12), to continue on (1 Corinthians 15:2), and to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5), etc.....

Even So... said...

Most believers, I don't believe, intentionally go on the wrong path.

Perhaps, but that only strengthens the argument, becasue Paul says they desired evil, they lusted after it, they wanted it on purpose...and so, if your statement is true, that means that the Israelites were not believers after all, which again, is the point...

Even So... said...

There are typically deceived into believing that what "they" are doing is not that bad. It is the same mentality that says "I can quit whenever I want".

I agree, so does Paul, and thus the warnings...

Dan said...

Thanks for the correction. I guess that I was assuming that just because they were Israelites then they must be believers. Much like today, just because someone says they are Christians does not neccessarily make them a believer.

Even So... said...

just because someone says they are Christians does not neccessarily make them a believer

Indeed...