During Pastor Appreciation week, we’re spotlighting blogs from pastors with poignant messages of hope and thoughts about Christianity.
By Pastor Kevin DeYoung
It’s one of those things we know to be true on an intellectual level, but we forget it easily in personal experience.
Temptation is not the same as sin.
This truth is obvious from the Scriptures.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught to pray “forgive us our debts” and “lead us not into temptation” (Matt. 6:12-13).
Debts and trespasses require forgiveness; temptation needs deliverance. They are not the same.
Just because you are struggling with temptation does not mean you are mired in sin. The spiritual progression in the human heart goes from desire to temptation to sin to death (James 1:14-15).
We are told to flee temptation, not because we’ve already sinned, but because in the midst of temptation we desperately feel like we want to.
If being tempted was in itself a mark of wickedness, we could not confess that Jesus Christ “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
It is possible to experience profound temptations to sin while still being blameless from that sin.
Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Mich.