Prov. 1:17 π Rom. 6:6 π Rom. 6:11; 2nd π Rom. 6:12 π Jas. 1:14 π 1 Jn. 2:15-16 π 1 Jn. 5:4-5
For perpetual victory, therefore, the believer must unceasingly be on guard against the Tempter, praying for his hidden temptations to be revealed. The degree of understanding his working will be determined by the degree of victory experienced, for "In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird." ( Prov. 1:17 ) We have given in preceding chapters much knowledge needed by the believer, if he is to gain victory over every aspect of the Tempter's workings, but especially does he require power of discrimination between what is temptation from the Tempter working upon the uncrucified "old man"; tempting through the things of the world ( 1 Jn. 2:15-16 ; 5:4-5; top ); and temptation direct from the spirits of evil.
In temptation the crucial point is for the tempted one to know whether the temptation is the work of an evil spirit having gained access to him, or from the evil nature. This alone can be discerned by the experimental knowledge of Romans 6 as the basis of the life. Temptation from the fallen nature should be dealt with on the foundation of "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus" ( Rom. 6:11 ), and practical obedience to the resulting command "Let not sin reign in your mortal body." ( Rom. 6:12 ) In the hour of temptation to sin - to visible, known sin - the believer should take his stand on Romans 6:6 , as his deliberate position of faith, and in obedience to Romans 6:11 , declare his undeviating choice and attitude as death to sin, in death union with Christ. If this choice is the expression of his real will, and the temptation to sin does not cease, he should then deal with the spirits of evil, who may be seeking to awaken sinful desires ( Jas. 1:14; top ), or to counterfeit them. For they can counterfeit the old nature in evil desire, evil thoughts, evil words, evil presentations, and many honest believers think they are battling with the workings of the old nature, when these things are given by evil spirits. But if the believer is not standing actively on Romans 6, the "counterfeits" are not necessary, for the old fallen creation is always open to be wrought upon by the powers of darkness.
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