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Part Two

Vers. 3. Then came to him the tempter, &c.

Before we come to the particular temptations, we have four general points to be considered. First, the changing of the Devil’s name, from Devil to Tempter: secondly, that it is said, He came unto him: thirdly, that he came when he was fasting: fourthly, the diversity & order of the temptations.

I. Trial and Temptation[1]

First, in James 1. 13[2] it is said, that God tempts no man; and yet in Deut. 13. 3[3] it appears, that God doth tempt some; we must then make difference between temptations, between God’s temptations, and the Devil’s.

The Devil indeed tempts us, but God (as our English translation has it) “tries” us. The latter is to commend us, Rom. 5:2, or rather that our tribulation may bring forth patience and patience hope, Rom. 5. 3.[4] It makes us know that to be in ourselves, which before we knew not, as we see in Job. So, the Lord proved the Israelites, to see if they loved him or no, Deut. 13. 3. The Devil’s temptation is to know our corruption: for knowing the innocence of Adam, he went about to corrupt him. It is like the Israelites’ proving of manna, to try conclusions. God’s is like the trial of gold, 1 Pet. 1. 7[5] which the oftener it is tried. the purer it waxes [grows, becomes]: the Devil’s like that of manna, which stinks and corrupts by trial. Gods’ is like the trial of the fan, Matt. 3. 12;[6] the Devil’s like that of the sieve, Luke 22. 31[7] which lets go the flour, and keeps the bran.[8]

Notes

Andrews begins his discussion of the temptation with the question of whether God “tries” or “tempts” us. A trial is test designed to do us good, and that comes from God. As Calvin explains, “For when he is tried. He gives a reason for the preceding sentence; for the crown follows the contest. If, then, it be our chief happiness to be crowned in the kingdom of God, it follows, that the contests with which the Lord tries us, are aids and helps to our happiness. Thus the argument is from the end or the effect: hence we conclude, that the faithful are harassed by so many evils for this purpose, that their piety and obedience may be made manifest, and that they may be thus at length prepared to receive the crown of life.” John Calvin, James, electronic ed., Calvin’s Commentaries (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1998), Jas 1:12.

The references given by Andrews, Romans 5:2-5 and 1 Peter 1:7 demonstrate that the intended outcome of God’s trial of our faith is intended to produce good in us. On this ground we should consider the often misapplied text of Romans 8:28:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28–30, ESV) Notice that in verse 19, the good is defined as being “conformed to the image of his Son.”  A similar end is noted in Colossians: “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:9–10, ESV)

God’s trial are designed to renew us in the image of Christ. The Devils’ temptations are designed to lead us away from God.

II.  The Devil’s Approach, “He came unto him.”

Secondly, the Devil hath two shapes; in the one he tempts and allures (and in that came he now to our Saviour): in the other, he assails us, that is, by assault and violence, Eph. 6. 11[9]. The first is the temptation of hypocrites: Matt. 22. 18, “Shall we pay tribute to Caesar?”[10] The second, of Judas  who in the garden assaulted our Savior, John 6. 70. So, Satan sets on Christ by violence. He came Unto Christ, by casting sparks of fire into him; for he was devoid of any wicked and vain thoughts coming forth of him.

Two ways may a man be tempted: either by doubts arising in our hearts out of us, Luke24. 38[11], or by a sop entering into us. John 13. 27.[12] Christ could not be tempted the first way: for he was devoid of any wicked & vain thoughts coming forth of him. To us the Devil needs bring but a pair of bellows, for he shall find fire within us: but to Christ he was fain to bring fire too.[13]

Notes

In this section, Andrews explains the psychology of temptation in two ways. First, he explains that temptation either comes to us as fraud or force. A temptation can make an appeal to give something we desire. This is common understanding of temptation, you are allured into sin: “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.” (Proverbs 5:3, ESV) Alternatively, we are tempted by being forced or threatened into sin. The demand to worship the idol or being thrown in the furnace would be such a temptation. Daniel 3.

He then explains temptation in terms of doubt and a “sop.” Doubt would roughly correspond to force. In doubt, we do not believe that obedience will yield us some good. John Piper has an interesting discussion of this form of temptation in his book Future Grace. The general idea is that we doubt that obedience will work out for our good. But “sop” does not seem to correspond to fraud. Sop seems to indicate more of permission to engage in the sin.

In his work, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, Thomas Brooks lays out a number
sops to the conscience, such as it is a “small sin,” or “even David sinned.”  There are a species of fraud, but the fraud concerns the importance of sin, not what the sin will provide (such as pleasure or comfort).

He ends with the final observation that it takes little to turn us to sin. The trouble with temptation is that we are already primed to receive it:

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:12–15, ESV)

The combustible material is already there, all that is needed is for the Devil to toss a match:

“Satan with ease puts fallacies upon us by his golden baits, and then he leads us and leaves us in a fool’s paradise. He promises the soul honour, pleasure, profit, &c., but pays the soul with the greatest contempt, shame, and loss that can be. By a golden bait he laboured to catch Christ, Mat. 4:8, 9. He shews him the beauty and the bravery of a bewitching world, which doubtless would have taken many a carnal heart; but here the devil’s fire fell upon wet tinder, and therefore took not. These tempting objects did not at all win upon his affections, nor dazzle his eyes, though many have eternally died of the wound of the eye, and fallen for ever by this vile strumpet the world, who, by laying forth her two fair breasts of profit and pleasure, hath wounded their souls, and cast them down into utter perdition.” Thomas Brooks, The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 13.


[1] While Andrews says the first section will be on the change of the Devil’s name,  but this section actually contains something other than the Devil’s “name”. This section concerns the concepts of temptation, which is a deliberate leading into sin, and trial, which could result in a sinful response, but does not require a sinful response.

[2] “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” (James 1:13, ESV)  The

[3] “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3, ESV)  The Geneva Bible has “proveth” for testing.

[4] “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:2–5, ESV)

[5] “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6–7, ESV)

[6] “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”” (Matthew 3:12, ESV) “WINNOW—Corn was winnowed, (1.) By being thrown up by a shovel against the wind. As a rule this was done in the evening or during the night, when the west wind from the sea was blowing, which was a moderate breeze and fitted for the purpose. The north wind was too strong, and the east wind came in gusts. (2.) By the use of a fan or van, by which the chaff was blown away (Ruth 3:2; Isa. 30:24; Jer. 4:11, 12; Matt. 3:12).” M. G. Easton, Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893), 694.

[7] ““Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,” (Luke 22:31, ESV)

[8] “While Simon is addressed, it is clear that Satan has the whole band of disciples in view. “Asked for you all” makes best sense in connection with the kind of image of Satan that is found in Job 1–2: Satan needs God’s permission to bring the kind of difficulties upon people that, he (Satan) hopes, will reveal their lack of integrity in their devotion to God. As in Job, God is understood to have given his permission for the trial. The imagery of sieving is used of this trial: the Satanic attack will sort between the wheat and the rubbish (since a double sieving process was used, it is uncertain whether the grain should be pictured as retained by the sieve or as let through). The sifting image may be dependent upon Amos 9:9.” John Nolland, Luke 18:35–24:53, vol. 35C, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1993), 1072.

[9] “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, ESV)

[10] “Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.” (Matthew 22:15–22, ESV) The goal of this trial was to put Jesus into political conflict, “Actually, their partnership is more apparent than real. No matter which position Jesus takes regarding paying taxes to Caesar, He is bound to offend one of these groups or the other. The Pharisees hate the Roman tax; the Herodians are in favor of it since Roman money keeps the puppet king on his throne. So Jesus cannot win, it seems. Whichever answer He gives, they think, will mark Him as either a revolutionary (thus pleasing the Pharisees on this issue) or as submissive to Rome and Herod (thus incurring the Pharisees’ wrath as much as the Herodians’ pleasure).” LeRoy Lawson, Matthew: Unlocking the Scriptures for You, Standard Bible Studies (Cincinnati, OH: Standard, 1986), 265–266.

[11] “And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38, ESV)

[12] “So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So, when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”” (John 13:25–27, ESV) A “sop” is both the actual soaked bread as well as something given to pacify another.  It seems to be mean that temptation works by offering something desirable.

[13] A fire which could flame up into sin is already within us. Therefore, the Devil needs to merely add a breeze and fire will explode. But with Christ, there was no fire to begin with. The Devil would need to bring the fire as well as the bellows.