I have been reading John Wesley’s sermons on the issue of sin and the believer in order to better understand his position on the issue of what happens if a Christian sins. In doing this, I just gained a better insight for myself on how I can resist temptation so that I will – by the grace of God – never fall into sin. In Wesley’s sermon The Great Privilege of Those that Are Born of God he has a list of the 8 steps he calls “The Progress From Grace to Sin”.
In this list, I consider the number 3 step to be the key to halting this progress. The number 3 step is “The Spirit of God gives him warning that sin is near, and bids him more abundantly watch unto prayer“.
In my post on Do You Know What Your Spiritual Needs Are? I list (after retiring early and getting up early and having proper devotions), this very point — #3 Listen to and Follow the Voice of the Spirit.
While I was thinking about how the Spirit of God guides and directs us to help souls, and be careful in our Words and actions, I see that I need to also have this in my mind – that when a temptation arises I need to be very careful to hear the voice of the Spirit when he warns me that sin is near and bids me to watch unto prayer.
Wesley’s 8 Step Progress From Grace to Sin:
(1.) The divine seed of loving, conquering faith, remains in him that is born of God. “He keepeth himself,” by the grace of God, and “cannot commit sin.”
(2.) A temptation arises; whether from the world, the flesh, or the devil, it matters not.
(3.) The Spirit of God gives him warning that sin is near, and bids him more abundantly watch unto prayer.
(4.) He gives way, in some degree, to the temptation, which now begins to grow pleasing to him.
(5.) The Holy Spirit is grieved; his faith is weakened; and his love of God grows cold.
(6.) The Spirit reproves him more sharply, and saith, “This is the way; walk thou in it.”
(7.) He turns away from the painful voice of God, and listens to the pleasing voice of the tempter.
(8.) Evil desire begins and spreads in his soul, till faith and love vanish away: He is then capable of committing outward sin, the power of the Lord being departed from him.
Here are a few scriptural promises of God’s commitment to keep us in the time of temptation:
1Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
2The 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.
2Pet 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Jud 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Questions to consider:
–Do you accept the above promises of God – that he will make a way of escape in temptation?
–Have you made a commitment that – by the grace of God – you will never give into sin?
–Do you see the importance of hearing the voice of the Lord?
–What are you going to do to be more careful to hear and heed the Spirit’s warnings?