Flip the Script
Temptation just shows up. Whether it comes from the tempter himself or from our own sinful nature, how can we overcome it? C.S. Lewis and others give us good advice. All agree that the Word of God is key.
Remember when Jesus experienced direct face-to-face temptation by Satan? Three times Satan raised issues and “opportunities,” and three times Jesus responded by quoting appropriately from the Word of God. Contrast this with Satan’s original tempting conversation with Eve (and Adam, who was with her—Genesis 3:6). Satan questioned the accuracy and truth of God’s Word. “Did God really say—did he really mean—that you would die if you ate that forbidden fruit? God is deceiving you. He doesn’t want you to know what he knows. He’s keeping something good from you!” Our first parents couldn’t answer, believed the lie, and the rest is history.
But when Satan tried out his insinuations on Jesus, Jesus took the temptation script from the Garden of Eden and flipped it completely. All Jesus had to say to Satan was what God the Father had already said in his Word. That answer was more than sufficient. How wonderful that Jesus has shown us how to use the sword of the Word of God! (See Ephesians 6:17.)
We might be tempted to assume that God’s primary purpose behind Jesus’ encounter with Satan is for our instruction. But is it?
No. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). He didn’t need to be baptized, but he did so to identify with us sinners. Then Jesus faced Satan’s tempting as our representative and, unlike our first parents, he won. Finally, three years later, the sinless Son of God died in place of us sinners on the cross.
Jesus didn’t just flip the temptation script. He flipped the WHOLE script. Listen to the Apostle Paul in Romans 5, verses 15 and 18: “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! …Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”
Two people, two actions, two results. Adam sins and all die. Jesus dies and there is life again for all who believe. Adam got the story backwards and we had to accept it as normal. Jesus rewrote the story and restored the normalcy of God’s will.
Temptation? As Adam’s children, we couldn’t win. But in Christ, who flipped the script, we can.