Now Owen cites several cases among believers where they entered into temptation:
‘Adam was the “son of God,” Luke 3:38, created in the image of God, full of that integrity,
righteousness, and holiness, which might be and was an eminent resemblance of the
holiness of God. He had a far greater inherent stock of ability than we, and had nothing in
him to entice or seduce him; yet this Adam no sooner enters into temptation but he is gone,
lost, and ruined, he and all his posterity with him. What can we expect in the like condition,
that have not only in our temptations, as he had, a cunning devil to deal withal, but a cursed
world and a corrupt heart also? Abraham was the father of the faithful, whose faith is proposed as a pattern to all them that shall believe; yet he, entering twice into the same temptation, namely, that of fear about his wife, was twice overpowered by it, to the dishonour of God, and no doubt the disquiet of his own soul, Gen. 12:12, 13, 20:2.
David is called a “man after God’s own heart” by God himself; yet what a dreadful thing
is the story of his entering into temptation! He is no sooner entangled, but he is plunged
into adultery; thence seeking deliverance by his own invention, like a poor creature in a toil,
he is entangled more and more, until he lies as one dead, under the power of sin and folly.
I might mention Noah, Lot, Hezekiah, Peter, and the rest, whose temptations and falls
therein are on record for our instruction. Certainly he that hath any heart in these things
cannot but say, as the inhabitants of Samaria upon the letter of Jehu, “ ‘Behold, two kings
stood not before him, how shall we stand?’ O Lord, if such mighty pillars have been cast to
the ground, such cedars blown down, how shall I stand before temptations? Oh, keep me
that I enter not in!” Behold the footsteps of them that have gone in.
On this account would the apostle have us to exercise tenderness towards them that are fallen into sin: Gal. 6:1, “Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” He doth not say, “Lest thou also sin, or fall, or see the power of temptation in others, and know not how soon thou may be tempted, nor what will be the state and condition of thy soul thereupon.” Assuredly, he that hath seen so many better, stronger men than himself fail, and cast down in the trial, will think it incumbent on him to remember the battle, and, if it be possible, to come there no more. Is it not a madness for a man that can scarce crawl up and down, he is so weak (which is the case of most of us), if he avoid not what he hath seen giants foiled in the undertaking of? Thou art yet whole and sound; take heed of temptation, lest it be with thee as it was with Abraham, David, Lot, Peter, Hezekiah, the Galatians, who fell in the time of trial.
He goes on to say how foolish it is for us, in our day, despite the many warnings from God, and the sad experiences every day under our eyes, that we run into and put ourselves in the path of temptations. In the company we keep and the circumstances we occupy we need to beware and not exhibit brash boldness but go forward with due regard and trembling.