We All Live on Temptation Island

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  10 : 13
Subject: Temptation

In the 17th century, John Owens wrote a devotional entitled, “Temptation” which was based on John 17:15. Note Jesus’ prayer to His Father on our behalf:

“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

“As we have no strength to resist a temptation when it doth come, when we are entered into it, but shall fall under it, without a supply of sufficiency of grace from God; so to reckon that we have no power or wisdom to keep ourselves from entering into temptation, but must be kept by the power and wisdom of God, is a preserving principle, 1 Peter 1:5. We are in all things ‘kept by the power of God.’ This our Saviour instructs us in, not only by directing us to pray that we be not led into temptation, but also by his own praying for us that we may be kept from it: ‘I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shoudest keep them from the evil,’ – that is, the temptations of the world unto evil, unto sin, - which is all this is evil in the world; or from the evil one, who in the world makes use of the world unto temptation. Christ prays his Father to keep us, and instructs us to pray that we be so kept. It is not, then, a thing in our own power. The ways of our entering into temptation are so many, various, and imperceptible, the means of it so efficacious and powerful, - our weakness, and our unwatchfulness, so unspeakable- that we cannot in the least keep or preserve ourselves from it. We fail both in wisdom and power for this work.” John Owen

1 Corinthians 10:12-13, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

This passage speaks of man’s over-confidence in his own ability to resist and conquer temptation. In verse 13, “common to man” is one word in the New Testament meaning, “that which is human.” Christians that become self-confident become less dependent on God’s Word and God’s Spirit and become careless in their living. As carelessness increases, openness to temptation increases and resistance to sin decreases.

Remember, “…an unguarded strength is a double-weakness.”

In verse 13, the word “temptation” is a word meaning to simply test or prove and has no negative connotation. Whether it becomes a proof of righteousness or an inducement to evil depends on our response. If we resist it in God’s power, it is a test that proves our faithfulness; if we do not resist, it becomes a solicitation to sin.

Temptations are human experiences; they are usual or typical. Temptations are never unique experiences to us. We can never have a temptation that has not been experienced by millions of others. Circumstances differ but basic temptations do not.

1 Corinthians 10:13 is a great reminder that “no temptation is inherently stronger than our spiritual resources.”

I. The Satisfaction Of Perseverance 12

A. Congratulation

“blessed is the man who endures temptation” – carries the idea of profound inner joy and satisfaction, a joy that only the Lord Himself is able to bestow on those who, for His sake and in His power, faithfully and patiently endure and conquer trials. Means to be congratulated or fortunate. To endure is to remain steadfast, remaining firm.

Never relinquishes his confident trust in God Perseverance brings God’s approval

Approval brings the crown of life (symbolizing persevering triumph) “when he is approved” – tried and approved

James 5:11, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord — that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”

B. Association

James clearly associates faithful perseverance under trial with genuine love for God.

“promised to those who love Him” – the spiritual motivation is love. The ones loving Him will be triumphant in trials. Love is the outcome of faith.

II. The Rationalization of Temptation. 13

This passage is a transition in that it deals with trials that become temptations. Trials are external testings of faith but temptations are internal testings of faith Same word is used for both and the context is that which determines. The primary difference is not in the word used (trial) but in the person’s response. If the believer responds in faithful obedience to God’s Word, he successfully endures a trial; if he succumbs to it in the flesh, doubting God and disobeying it, he is tempted to sin.

1. Every person can escape temptation.

2. You can endure temptation.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God…” translates, let no one say to himself - that is to rationalize to himself.

Man’s natural inclination is to attempt to shift the blame for temptation to God, circumstances, or disposition.


A common Christian delusion is to say that since God ordains everything, he has ordained that we succumb to sin. God never ordains or approves sin.


Others fault God for placing them in circumstances which are simply too much for them. (the drunkard who blames his partying friends)


God has given me passions and appetites so strong I can do nothing but yield to them.

“I am tempted by God” – preposition apo carries the connotation of remoteness, distance, and indirection. James is saying that no one should say that God is ever indirectly responsible for temptation to evil. He is in no way, and to no degree, responsible, directly or indirectly, for our being tempted. This lie is as old as time.

Genesis 3:12-13, “Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’"

“for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” Temptation appeals to our desire for things. God has no needs to be supplied because He is completely sufficient. Evil means base things.

God is unable to be tempted, He is un-temptable. God is unsusceptible to evil, evil has never had any appeal for Him. Evil cannot promote even the slightest appealing try in the heart of God. God is without the capacity for temptation. He is invincible to assaults of evil. He has no vulnerability to evil and is utterly impregnable to its onslaughts. God does test us to prove or improve our character, but God does not tempt us. God allows the trials in which temptation can occur, not to solicit believers to sin, but to move them to greater endurance.

III. The Conception Of Temptation. 14

“But each one is tempted” – emphatic, no one escapes temptation. Tense of “tempted” suggests constant temptation; continually being tempted.

Three Steps:

A. Drawn Away.

Carried away; dragging away so as if compelled by an inner desire. It is often used as a hunting term to refer to a baited trap designed to lure an unsuspecting animal into it. The ancient Greeks used these words to describe drawing a fish from its original retreat under a rock so that it succumbs to the bait.

When the temptation passes by, we are drawn away from the things which keep us safe. No person is immune.

B. Desire.

“by his own desires” (lust) – drawn away from a straight course toward something attractive for which he craves. Temptation to evil has its roots within man’s evil heart.

Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man."

There would be no attraction of sin were it not for man’s own sinful lust, which makes evil seem more appealing than the things of God. We cannot blame Satan, his demons, ungodly people, or the world in general for our own lust.

The fault is entirely within us, in our unredeemed flesh.

Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

PAUL’S CONFESSION: Romans 7:18-25, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

TRUTH TO BE KNOWN: While we are all vulnerable to the sins Scripture forbids, each person has his or her own set of special desires or lusts. Behavior which is powerful solicitation to one person may have much less appeal to another.

Just as one type of bait or lure works well with one kind of fish but not with others, so one person’s passion is another person’s repulsion.

Our commonality is not in the particular lusts but in the fact that we all have them, are susceptible to them, and have sole personal responsibility to them.

C. Deceived.

“enticed” – seduced; refers to the bait, whose purpose was also to lure the prey from safety to capture and death.

Word used of the work of False Teachers

2 Peter 2:14, “having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children.”

2 Peter 2:18, “For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.”

Animals and fish are successfully lured to traps and hooks because the bait is too attractive for them to resist. It looks good and smells good, appealing strongly to their senses. Their desire for the bait is so intense that it causes them to lose caution and to overlook or ignore the traps or the hooks until    it is too late.

“Look for the Hook!”

“James well knew that Satan is busy tempting believers to sin, but he also knew that the root of the problem is our own evil. We should never be surprised by this, as was the young priest who served in the confessional for the first time, accompanied by an older senior priest. At the end of the day the older priest took him aside and said, ‘My boy, when a person finishes with confession, you have got to learn to say something other than, ‘Wow!’ We are all sinners and are frequently guilty of sins of commission and omission. (Regarding omission, I chuckle at the answer a little boy gave his Sunday school teacher: ‘Omission? They’re the sins we should have committed but didn’t get around to.’)”

Bonhoeffer, in his book entitled Temptation describes how this works:

“With irresistible power desire seizes mastery over the flesh…It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money…Joy in God is…extinguished in us and we seek all our joy in the creature. At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real…Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves: ‘Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?’ ‘Is it really not permitted to me, yes – expected of me, now, here, in my particular situation, to appease desire?’…It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God.”

IV. The Consummation of Temptation. 15-16

“Then” – speaks of the next step that leads to the final step. He changes from the language of a hunter or fisherman to that of childbirth.

There are two births in this passage: Evil desires give birth to sin

Sin gives birth to death

A. Design.

“when desire has conceived” – this is figurative language that describes the next step in temptation. Lust entices and seduces man. Man surrenders, joins his will with lust, and conception takes place.

Conceived is a compound word meaning to take together.

This is when plans start to be made to fulfill the emotional desire that we have rationalized and justified with our minds. This stage involves our will, our conscious decision to pursue the lust until it is satisfied. It is now that we have made a choice to consciously pursue our lust.

B. Disobedience.

“it gives birth to sin” – if we allow the process to continue (or take the truth of 1 Cor 10:13 to heart), the design inevitably produces disobedience, which is sin. It gives birth as a mother births a baby.

Being tempted is not a sin. It is only when the desire of man meets and embraces the forbidden thing and an unholy marriage takes place between these two that sin is born. (Ross)

C. Death.

“and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” – speaks of the cycle of temptation is completed. A child has been born of sin and his name is death.

Sin produces spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death. Romans 6:23a, “For the wages of sin is death”

1 John 5:16, “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”

Verse 16 is a warning against the consequences of sin Truth About New Testament Teachings on Temptation:

1. Temptation is permitted by God. 1:13

2. Temptation is restricted by God. 1 Cor 10:13

3. Temptation is produced by man’s evil nature. 1:14

4. Temptation is provided with an escape. 1 Cor 10:13

5. Temptation is deadening if not resisted. 1:15