“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
(Matthew chapter 4, verse 6)
The word “presumption” can be defined as: knowingly and arrogantly engaging in behaviour which defies the limits of an accepted law or boundary. For the purpose of this article, presumption will be taken to mean - the temptation to try to abuse the grace of God.
We do well to heed the scriptural warning in Galatians chapter 6, verse 7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that he will also reap”.
God cannot be mocked, and His grace cannot be abused. All who try, do so to the detriment of their own souls.
Presumptuous sin has, in recent times, been bolstered by false grace movements and doctrines that proclaim the grace of God as being a license to sin, as opposed to empowerment for righteousness. It, however, destroys both the messengers and hearers of that message.
Throw yourself down
Wilful sins harden the heart, stiffen the neck, poison the soul, and open the door to greater deception (often other types of self-deceptions), and pride. But, as you know, pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs chapter 16, verse 18).
Wilful sins lead to destruction.
At the heart of Satan’s temptation of Jesus was a lie that he has used in human hearts throughout the generations, which is: you can have your cake and eat it; your sin and God’s favour and righteousness, all at the same time.
Ever heard the soft evil whisper?
“God will forgive you. You deserve this, it’s not that bad.”
Except it is. It is “that bad”.
Many a believer has fallen down the slippery slope of presumptuous sin into the pit of barren spirituality, hollow faith, self-delusion and hypocrisy. All those that linger in that pit…die.
Woe to those who call evil, good!
Woe to the blind guides who lead themselves and their followers astray!
The horror of sin
May we, as disciples of Jesus, never lose the horror of the sin – our sin – that nailed our Lord to the cross, and for which He bore the full wrath of God, the Father. He took the cup of God’s wrath with my name on it, and drank it to the dregs. Our salvation is free to us because He paid for it; but it was not cheap.
Beloved, we were purchased with blood, the most precious blood in the universe! The blood of the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, purchased us for God, so that we could be free from the yoke of slavery to sin, and alive to God in righteousness.
You are not your own.
Having been set free, would we now, then, seek to return to the bondage of our former sinful lives? No! If we persist in wilful sinning, what sacrifice for sin is there left? None. Just a painful reminder of the judgement that will surely come (Hebrews chapter 10, verses 26-27). Do not be deceived friends…every man will reap what he sows.
Sow to righteousness and life, and live!
The fear of the Lord
Oh, but, like the psalmist, we wonder in prayer to the Lord, “who can discern his error?” (Psalm chapter 19, verse 12). Our very hearts deceive us, and cannot be relied upon for accurate self-evaluation.
The psalmist continues,
“Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from wilful sins;
may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of
great transgression”. (Psalm chapter 19, verse 12b-13)
How is the servant of the Lord kept from wilful sins? He is kept by the fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord, unlike worldly fears and anxieties, is clean and good (Psalm 19, verse 9). It is to be desired, with the Word of God, far more than gold, and it is sweet – sweeter than honey. Not painful, but pleasurable. By it the servant of the Lord is warned, and led along the path of wisdom, sound judgement and understanding (Psalm 19, verses 10-11).
The fear of the Lord is key to living a victorious life over sin. As with everything in this walk, the fear of the Lord is a work of grace. It is not conjured up by the human spirit, but is a right response to the revelation of the holiness of God.
And so, we seek the fear of the Lord daily and pray:
“Unite my heart to fear Your Name, O Lord, my God. Give me an undivided heart, that I might see You as You are, and respond rightly to your majesty, beauty, perfection and holiness. Cultivate within me, the fear of the Lord.”
When men no longer fear God, they transgress His laws without hesitation. The fear of consequences is no deterrent when the fear of God is gone.
No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God.
Francesca Tavares (West Indies) is a daughter, sister, friend, avid reader, attorney-at-law, and porridge connoisseur. She enjoys Jesus and fulfilling His purposes for her life on Earth.