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In the Gates

Guard Against Temptation (1)

The Second Commandment

Guard Against Temptation (1)

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Deuteronomy 13.6-11

If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.”

Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17.9); the law of sin that lingers in our souls is powerful as well (Rom. 7.21-23). We are at all times susceptible to temptation which, if we fail to recognize or resist it, can become a trap door to sin.

We may be tempted to turn away from the Lord by those who are dear to us. They may not be as overt in their invitation to sin as is indicated by our text here, but any suggestion, be it ever so subtle, that we should trust in anything other than the Lord, or give anyone or anything the worship due to Him alone must be resisted and the tempter rebuffed. We’re not going to reach for stones to punish our loved ones. We live in the age of the Spirit and of grace, where such penalties are mitigated by the longsuffering of God and the workings of grace. But we must rebuke those who tempt us in this way – or any way – so that they may turn from their sin and remain faithful to the Lord.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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