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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 10 - Verse 13
Verse 13. There hath no temptation taken you. What temptation the apostle refers to here is not quite certain. It is probable, however, that he refers to such as would, in their circumstances, have a tendency to induce them to forsake their allegiance to their Lord, and to lead them into idolatry and sin. These might be either open persecutions, or afflictions on account of their religion; or they might be the various allurements which were spread around them from the prevalence of idolatry. They might be the open attacks of their enemies, or the sneers and the derision of the gay and the great. The design of the apostle evidently is to show them that, if they were faithful, they had nothing to fear from any such forms of temptation, but that God was able to bring them through them all. The sentiment in the verse is a very important one, since the general principle here stated is as applicable to Christians now as it was to the Corinthians.
Taken you. Seized upon you, or assailed you. As when an enemy grasps us, and attempts to hold us fast.
But such as is common to man. (ei mh anywpinov.) Such as is human. Margin, Moderate. The sense is evident. It means such as human nature is liable to, and has been often subjected to; such as the human powers, under the Divine aid, may be able to resist and repel. The temptations which they had been subjected to were not such as would be fitted to angelic powers, and such as would require angelic strength to resist; but they were such as human nature had been often subjected to, and such as man had often contended with successfully. There is therefore, here, a recognition of the doctrine that man has natural ability to resist all the temptations to which he is subject; and that consequently, if he yields, he is answerable for it. The design of the apostle is to comfort the Corinthians, and to keep their minds from despondency. He had portrayed their danger; he had shown them how others had fallen; and they might be led to suppose that in such circumstances they could not be secure. He therefore tells them that they might still be safe, for their temptations were such as human nature had often been subject to, and God was able to keep them from falling.
But God is faithful. This was the only source of security; and this was enough. If they looked only to themselves, they would fall. If they depended on the faithfulness of God, they would be secure. The sense is, not that God would keep them without any effort of their own; not that he would secure them if, they plunged into temptation; but that if they used the proper means, if they resisted temptation, and sought his aid, and depended on his promises, then he would be faithful. This is everywhere implied in the Scriptures; and to depend on the faithfulness of God, otherwise than in the proper use of means and in avoiding the places of temptation, is to tempt him, and provoke him to wrath. See Barnes "Mt 4:1"
Who will not suffer you to be tempted, etc. This is a general promise, just as applicable to all Christians as it was to the Corinthians. It implies,
(1.) that all the circumstances, causes, and agents that lead to temptation, are under the control of God. Every man that tempts another; every fallen spirit that is engaged in this; every book, picture, place of amusement; every charm of music and of song; every piece of indecent statuary; and every plan of business, Of gain, or ambition, are all under the control of God. He can check them; he can control them; he can paralyze their influence; he can destroy them. Comp. Mt 6:13.
(2.) When men are tempted, it is because God suffers or permits it. He does not himself tempt men, (Jas 1:13;) he does not infuse evil thoughts into the mind; he does not create an object of temptation to place in our way, but he suffers it to be placed there by others. When we are tempted, therefore, we are to remember that it is because he suffers or permits it; not because he does it. His agency is that of sufferance, not of creation. We are to remember, too, that there is some good reason why it is thus permitted; and that it may be turned in some way to his glory, and to our advancement in virtue.
(3.) There is a certain extent to which we are able to resist temptation. There is a limit to our power. There is a point beyond which we are not able to resist it. We have not the strength of angels.
(4.) That limit will, in all cases, be beyond the point to which we are tempted. If not, there would be no sin in falling, any more than there is sin in the oak when it is prostrated before the tempest.
(5.) If men fall into sin, under the power of temptation, they only are to blame. They have strength to resist all the temptations that assail them, and God has given the assurance that no temptation shall occur which they shall not be able, by his aid, to resist. In all instances, therefore, where men fall into sin—in all the yielding to passion, to allurement, and to vice—man is to blame, and must be responsible to God. And this is especially true of Christians, who, whatever may be said of others, cannot plead that there was not power sufficient to meet the temptation, or to turn aside its power.
But will with the temptation, etc. He will, at the same time that he suffers the trial or temptation to befall us, make a way of deliverance; he will save us from being entirely overcome by it.
That ye may be able to bear it. Or, that you may be able to bear up under it, or endure it. God knows what his people are able to endure, and as he has entire control of all that can effect them, he will adapt all trials to their strength, and will enable them to bear all that is appointed to them. This is a general promise, and is as applicable to other Christians as it was to the Corinthians. It was to them a positive promise, and to all in the same circumstances it may be regarded as such now. It may be used therefore,
(1.) as a ground of encouragement to those who are in temptation and trial. God knows what they are able to endure; and he will sustain them in their temptations. It matters not how severe the trial; or how long it may be continued; or how much they may feel their own feebleness; yet he who has appointed the trial is abundantly able to uphold them. They may, therefore, repose their all upon him, and trust to his sustaining grace.
(2.) It may be used as an argument, that none who are true Christians, and who are thus tried, shall ever fall away, and be lost. The promise is positive and certain, that a way shall be made for their escape, and they shall be able to bear it. God is faithful to them; and though he might suffer them to be tempted beyond what they are able to bear, yet he will not, but will secure an egress from all their trials. With this promise in view, how can it be believed that any true Christians who are tempted will be suffered to fall away and perish? If they do, it must be from one of the following causes: either because God is not faithful; or because he will suffer them to be tempted above what they are able to bear; or because he will not make a way for their escape. As no Christian can believe either of these, it follows that they who are converted shall be kept unto salvation.
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