Surely one of the worst things about temptation is its inherent deceitfulness. The Bible pictures Satan as a lying deceiver who relies on misrepresentations and half-truths, and the devil lives up to his reputation. If temptation were subject to truth-in-advertising laws, we can be sure there would be far less sin. Just imagine–if every enticement to sin came with a disclosure statement that we had to read and sign before being tempted, we might even learn to recognize evil for what it is in fact–thoroughly dangerous and (in the big picture) always undesirable.
An honest disclosure statement would mention that any featured sin is noted for its temporary pleasure, but such pleasure is short-lived and is replaced by feelings of shame, remorse, and actual guilt. And that all happens before any other human being even knows about the sin, knowledge that can produce loss of respect, esteem and reputation. We must not forget the loss of enjoyment of intimacy with God which is the special birthright of everyone born from above and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Does temptation come with such an announcement? Is it framed by a banner flashing with colored lights, reminding us that the devil’s goals are to kill, to steal and to destroy? Not in a thousand years! Instead the tempter whispers: “Bend the numbers on the IRS tax return–the government sticks you for more than your fair share anyway.” “The lonely heart on this no-spouses business trip only wants a little company, and the room is a more comfortable place to visit.” “The hotel’s internet connection is anonymous, and besides you are by yourself and no one will be hurt.” The truths left unstated are many, and the list of lies is long.
The next and final post of this series on temptation will be “Overcoming Temptation”. Many thanks to my dear friend Edward Fudge for this study and for his 50 plus years of preaching Christ.