And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13
Entering into temptation is not merely being tempted. We will never be free from temptation while Satan continues in his power and malice, and while the world and lust continue. There is no need to pray for an absolute freedom from temptation, since there is no scriptural promise to claim concerning it. It is entering into temptation that we are to pray against. It is an entrance into a powerful or frightening allurement. Entering into temptation does not mean that it has conquered you, or that you have committed it. A man may ‘enter into temptation’ and yet not fall. God can make a way of escape. When a man has entered into temptation God can break the snare, tread down Satan, and make the soul more than a conqueror. Christ entered into temptation, but was not the least foiled by it. The apostle expresses it to ‘fall into temptation’ (1 Tim. 6:9), as a man falls into a pit or deep place where there are traps and snares with which he might be entangled. The man is not presently killed and destroyed, but he is entangled and detained. He does not know how to get free or be at liberty. So Paul expresses it (1 Cor. 10:13): ‘No temptation has overtaken you’, That is, to be taken by a temptation and to be tangled with it, to be held I its cords, and not finding at present a way to escape. Peter also, says (2 Peter 2:9): ‘The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.’ When we allow a temptation to enter into us, then we ‘enter into temptation’. When sin knocks at the door, we are at liberty; but when a temptation comes in and we allow it to parley with our heart, reason with our mind, entice an allure our affections, for a long or short time, sin subtly and almost imperceptibly draws our soul to take particular notice of it, then we ‘enter into temptation’. Lord, ‘lead us not into temptation.’
Over the past fifty years there has been a great resurgence of interest in the writings of the Puritans. The reading of their works has brought great benefit to the people of God in many lands. Christians from many different backgrounds and cultures owe a great debt of gratitude to those faithful pastors and preachers who continue to speak through their writings even though they have long since entered into their heavenly reward. The Puritans really knew how to teach and apply God’s Word in the Spirit’s power!
Richard Rushing has compiled this book of daily devotional readings from his favorite Puritan authors because of the great help he has gained from their works. “How thrilling it has been for me to read the Puritans on the glory and attributes of God, divine providence, fellowship with God, holiness of life and the mortification of indwelling sin, heavenly mindedness, prayer, evangelistic zeal, and trust in the Lord during times of affliction. At every turn these truths are eloquently taught, faithfully applied, and kindly offered as the subject of sweet spiritual meditation.”
This book is sent forth with the prayer that it will open a door to the vast stores of treasure to be found in the writings of the Puritans and that it will stimulate further exploration of this rich spiritual inheritance.