IMG_2574As I reflected upon my Bible reading this morning, I came across something that was fascinating. I’ve noticed it before but it never gets old.

As I read through Matthew 4 where Jesus was tempted by Satan, I couldn’t help but realize that He experienced the three primary temptation categories that are listed in 1 John 2:16. Every single time we are tempted to sin, it is in one of three ways – our body craves something it is not supposed to have, our mind craves something it is not supposed to have or our ego craves something it’s not supposed to have.

In the following chart, I list the sin category on the far left.

Second, I give a very basic clarification of that temptation.

Third, I show how Eve, along with Adam, fell into sin by way of each of the three temptations.

Finally, I show how Jesus demonstrated that He was sinlessly perfect as He overcame each of those three categories of temptation to sin that Satan lobbed at Him. (And notice that Satan knew God’s Word but didn’t get the temptations in the order they are listed in Genesis 3 and 1 John 2. He knows God’s Words but handles it carelessly.)

So, as we place our trust in Jesus to forgive and save us, in that moment God declares us not only forgiven … He declares us righteous! Jesus takes our sin and credits us with His righteousness. So, if we are saved, when God looks at us He sees Jesus – someone who has stood against the weight of the 3 categories of temptation and defeated them. It’s only because of Jesus that this is true of us but it is the identify of each of us who are saved. So, act like who you are!

List of primary temptation categories in 1 John 2:16 Clarification of the temptation Mankind’s yielding to the temptation Jesus’ victory over the temptation
“Lust of the flesh” My body wants something that it’s not supposed to have. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…” (Genesis 3:6) Jesus didn’t turn stones to bread so He could eat even though He was starving (Matthew 4:3-4)
“Lust of the eyes” My mind wants something that it’s not supposed to have. “So when the woman saw that the tree … was a delight to the eyes,” (Genesis 3:6) Jesus didn’t take the shortcut to His future reign over the world after viewing the impressive kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-10)
“Pride of life” My ego wants something that it’s not supposed to have. “So when the woman saw … that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,” (Genesis 3:6) Jesus didn’t think too much of Himself by presuming upon God’s watchful care (Matthew 4:5-8)
The result… “… she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6). The further result was God’s disapproval and separation from mankind. “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” (Matthew 4:11). This was a demonstration of Jesus’ sinless perfection as He would go to the cross and take our place bearing God’s punishment on our behalf.