The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Robert W. Cushman
From The Baptist Pulpit of the United States, Joseph Belcher, D. D., Ed., 1853
You are not merely to be pitied in yielding to temptation, but you are to be blamed. You are not simply unfortunate, but you are guilty. The instances of ruin by temptation in a Christian community, without a conviction of wrong, if such exist at all, are very rare. We would present to you, therefore, the consideration, that you are responsible for your actions; and, consequently, if you yield to temptation, you will be called to answer for it to God.
A temptation cannot deprive you of your freedom. Its assault is not on your liberty, but your choice. It deals not blows, but pleas. However strong the influences it brings to bear upon you, it directs them upon your will. You cannot be overcome without your consent. The key of your citadel is in your own hands. The enemy cannot enter but by the gate, and that opened from within.
Temptations, moreover, like poisonous plants, have their localities; and tempters, their haunts like beasts of prey. And, if you know your temperament or weakness to be such that you cannot pass through them with safety, you have the means of security by keeping out of their way. If, then, you expose yourself, when you know your danger, you are a transgressor, and God will bring you into judgment for it.
The temptation of intoxicating drinks, for example, may be too strong for you. Then keep out of the way of them. Have nothing to do with strong drink. Touch not; taste not; handle not. Look not upon the wine when it giveth its color in the cup. Keep away from the places where intoxicating drinks are sold, and shun the companionship of those who frequent them. If you will do this, you will be safe. But if you will not do it, but will expose yourself when you know your danger, you are guilty; and, if you fall, you are a victim self-immolated; and you go into eternity as a breaker of the law which says, " Thou shalt do no murder," with the folly as well as the guilt of one that dies by his own hand.
For known and voluntary transgression of the laws of God there is a retribution beyond the evils it brings in the present life.
"For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10)
"He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he bath ordained; whereof he bath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
And this seat of judgment, and this day appointed, are beyond the grave. "For it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
The reception of the things done in the body, therefore, at that judgment-seat, must be something beyond what is suffered by the body, or by the soul while in the body, To that day, then, my young friends—to its righteous decisions, and its unavoidable retributions--let me entreat you to turn your eye whenever temptation is spreading its lures before you ; and your ear to the impressive warning that has been given forth from that dread authority before which you must appear, which bids you beware that you be innocent, while it wishes you happy.
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth; and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things GOD WILL BRING THEE INTO JUDGMENT."