“No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
People often quote this verse to encourage those who are going through trials or difficult circumstances, but the true context is in relation to temptation. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, a church that allowed immoral behaviors to continue among the body and failed to hold their brothers and sisters accountable for open sin. His letter is a strong rebuke to a carnal and spiritually immature body who struggled with separating themselves from the pagan culture around them.
1 Corinthians 10 is a blueprint for Christ-followers who want to walk in faithful obedience to God’s commands and avoid falling into sin when temptations come. Paul takes us back to a time period in Israel’s history that they would rather forget when he revisits the rebellious children of God in the wilderness. He begins by recounting their spiritual heritage. All the children of Israel experienced God’s miraculous rescue across the Red Sea; all ate the manna; all saw God provide water from a rock; all were protected by the presence of God in the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased, for they were laid low in the wilderness. “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved” (1 Corinthians 10:5-6).
All believers have access to the same spiritual resources found in Christ if we have been saved. Yet, it is our individual choices that determine how successfully we navigate the temptations of life, because faith is a personal experience.
Paul describes four actions or attitudes that tempted the Israelites to stumble and fall into sin. Each begins with the letter “I,” which is appropriate because just as faith is personal, sin is personal.
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