From the beginning man has been confronted by Satan’s unceasing attempt to destroy God’s absolutes and to substitute a rationalization of spiritual and moral values that carries in it the seeds of destruction.

When God said, “You shall not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden,” Satan’s response was, “Did God say?” When God told Adam that the penalty for disobedience was death, Satan offered a flat denial of God’s word. “You shall not die,” he assured Adam.

God had good reason for his “You shall not.” He knew that the result of disobedience would be broken fellowship between himself and man, a continuing warfare between man and Satan, the cursing of the ground, and the shame of nakedness and expulsion from the garden he had prepared for man.

And Satan’s method has never changed. Now, as then, he gains his victory by offering an apparent advantage if man will disobey God. Sometimes he offers that which is “good for food” and which gives physical satisfaction—thus exploiting the “lust of the flesh.” Or his temptation may come in the form of a “delight to the eyes” (esthetic pleasure), which the Bible refers to as the “lust of the eyes.” Or it may lie in the area of that which is “desirable to make one wise,” spoken of in the Bible as the “pride of life.” Satan will offer us as much of this world as is necessary to keep us in his domain. And he is not deterred by the fact that the Bible says all will one day be destroyed: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever” (1 John 2:16, 17).

The implications of our Lord’s own temptation in the ...

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