A Three-Fold Temptation

Saturday, July 2, 2011

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world” (1 John 2:16 KJV).

Every temptation in the world fits into one of the above categories. Did you know that Eve faced all three temptations at once? Compare 1 John 2:16 to Genesis 3:6:

  • “the lust of the flesh” — the forbidden tree was “good for food” (Was Eve hungry?)
  • “the lust of the eye” — the forbidden tree was “pleasant to the eye” (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — the forbidden tree was “desired to make one wise” (Eat from it, and you can be like God, Eve!)

Using this very cunning scheme, Satan triumphed over Eve, and later Adam. Sadly, they both ate the forbidden fruit.

In Matthew 4:1-10 and Luke 4:1-13, Satan tempts Christ using the same format. However, where Adam and Eve failed, the perfect Man, Jesus Christ, triumphed. Remember that Christ has been fasting for forty days.

  • “the lust of the flesh” — Satan tempts Christ to turn stones into bread  (Christ was hungry!)
  • “the lust of the eye” — Satan tempts Christ to cast Himself from the Temple pinnacle, and have angels rescue Him (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — Satan tempts Christ to worship him, promising to give Him the kingdoms of the world (You can have God’s power! Little did Satan know that Christ would one day have the kingdoms of the world, without having to worship Satan; Revelation 11:15.)

How did Jesus Christ triumph over Satan? The Bible says Christ properly quoted Scripture! Eve could not triumph over Satan because she did not properly quote Scripture. Find verses in Paul’s epistles that fit your temptations and weaknesses, and memorize them. Then, whenever you are tempted with sin, bring to mind the applicable grace doctrines. Do not just quote random Bible verses, quote from Paul. Properly quoting (and believing) the Bible is your key to triumphing over the three-fold temptation!