From Heaven With Love


Chapter 13—The Victory

This chapter is based on Matthew 4:5-11; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:5-13.

“Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, HLv 76.1

He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee:
And in their hands they shall bear Thee up,
Lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against
a stone.”

Satan still appeared as an angel of light, and he made it evident that he was acquainted with the Scriptures. As Jesus used the Word to sustain His faith, the tempter now used it to countenance his deception. Satan urged the Saviour to give still another evidence of His faith. HLv 76.2

But again the temptation was prefaced with the insinuation of distrust: “If Thou be the Son of God.” Christ was tempted to answer the “if,” but He refrained from the slightest acceptance of the doubt. HLv 76.3

The tempter thought to take advantage of Christ's humanity, and urge Him to presumption. But while Satan can solicit, he cannot compel to sin. He said, “Cast Thyself down,” knowing that he could not cast Him down. Nor could Satan force Jesus to cast Himself down. Unless Christ should consent to temptation, He could not be overcome. HLv 76.4

The tempter can never compel us to do evil. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold on Christ, before Satan can exercise his power on us. But every sinful desire we cherish is an open door by which he can enter to tempt and destroy us. And every failure on our part gives occasion for him to reproach Christ. HLv 76.5

When Satan quoted the promise, “He shall give His angels charge over Thee,” he omitted the words, “to keep Thee in all Thy ways”; that is, in all the ways of God's choosing. Jesus refused to go outside the path of obedience. He would not force Providence to come to His rescue, and thus fail of giving man an example of trust and submission. HLv 77.1

Jesus declared to Satan, “It is written again, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.” God had already testified that Jesus was His Son; now to ask for proof would be putting God's word to the test—tempting Him. We should not present our petitions to God to prove whether He will fulfill His word, but because He will fulfill it; not to prove that He loves us, but because He loves us. See Hebrews 11:6. Presumption is Satan's counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God's promises and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God and obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. HLv 77.2