Monday, 20 October 2008

All Things For Good: The Worst Things Work for Good to the Godly- Temptations

Carrying on with the second chapter of the book 'All Things for Good' written by Thomas Watson.

Watson's claim is that when a Christian is tempted it works for his or hers good.
Satan is the tempter. He is responsible for all temptations but with God's input these temptation produce a positive outcome.

The section is divided into three parts:
1) Satan's method in tempting
2) The extent of Satan's power
3) The proof that these temptations work for our good

1) Satan's method in tempting
'He labours to storm the castle of the heart, he throws in thoughts of blasphemy, he tempts to deny God; these are the fiery darts he shoots, by which he would inflame the passions.'
When Satan tempts, he tempts well. He studies the person in order to make temptations appeal to our weakness. He tempts at the best time. He knows when we're not expecting him to attack us. He's always ready to do what he can to pull us back from seeing more of God's glory.

Satan sometimes uses people close to us. Job's wife told Job to curse God and die. Satan even uses people who are Christians to tempt us. He did this with Christ by getting Peter to tempt Him.

Satan loves to transform himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14) to trick people into sinning in the name of Christianity. He uses scripture to validate himself. When he tempted Christ he said to him 'it is written'.

2) The extent of Satan's power
How much reach does Satan have?
He implanted evil thoughts into Judas to make him betray Christ (John 13:2). He works by exciting our existing corruption. He acts like a catalyst by making sin look more wonderful than God. He talks us into sin by using arguments that include scripture.

3) The proof that these temptations work for our good
'A tree that is shaken by the wind is more settled and rooted; so, the blowing of a temptation does but settle a Christian the more in grace.'
  • Temptation makes the Christian pray. 'The deer being shot with the dart, runs faster to the water.' Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8 prayed to get rid of the thorn in his flesh.
  • The more someone is tempted the more someone fights against temptation. Temptation helps us to humble ourselves (2 Cor 12:7).
  • Temptation is a trial of our sincerity. The power of a saint 'is never more seen than on a battlefield, when he is fighting'.
  • Temptations work for our good because through being tempted we can comfort others who are being tempted.
  • Temptations work for our good because they stir up the passion of God for us as we are His children. 'When a saint lies under the bruising of temptations, Christ prays, and God the Father pities.'
  • Temptations make the Christian want Heaven more. When we are tempted we look forward to a place where temptation doesn't exist!
  • Temptations work for our good because 'they engage the energy of Christ'. He was tempted to comfort us as we are tempted (Heb 2:18).
Luther said: 'there are three things that make a Christian- prayer, meditation, and temptation.'

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