Someone recently asked me to discuss 1 Cor. 10.13 as they found it a difficult verse. No problems there, let’s do it!
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
It’s quite a long verse, so let’s break it down a bit so we can digest it. The first section says “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man.” This is actually one of the most encouraging sentences in the New Covenant. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed with temptation – when doing the wrong thing pressurizes us so much it seems difficult to imagine ourselves surviving temptation. But the good news is this: firstly, everyone has been tempted too. Nothing has happened to you that is unique. In a healthy church or community, you can easily share what you are going through and people will understand because they have been through similar things: that’s part of the value of a strong, healthy community. It’s why Jesus puts people in churches! Secondly, it means that everything you are facing in terms of temptation is on a human level. That’s awesome – it means that you are not having to deal with problems that are supernatural or spiritual! Even an unregenerate human can deal with temptation – and you are born again, you have the zoe life of God inside you. You are the head and not the tail. You can deal with the temptation. So that bit is double good news!
The second bit of this verse says: “and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able”. This sentence is another bit of double good news. Firstly, God is faithful. Now, in the Greek, there is no difference between the words “faithful” and “faith”. This verse is actually letting us know that God is FAITH. God believes in you. God knows you can make it. God knows you can manage. God knows you can cope. And God – who knows and believes in you – will never ever let things get beyond your ability to handle. So whatever mess you are in right now, you know you can cope. God believes in you – so why not believe in yourself? So here is the double good news from this part of the verse: God is on your side. No matter how many times you have messed up in the past, God believes you can make it this time. No matter your past, God believes in your future. And secondly: you will never be put in a situation you cannot handle.
Finally, we find out that “but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” Again, another double blessing in here. With every temptation there is a way out. You need to understand this – no matter what you are going through there is a way out. Maybe you have a porn addiction – there is a way out, there is someone you can talk to, there are solutions to help you get out of it. Maybe you are drinking too much, there is a way out. Maybe you are becoming cynical and mean – there is a way out. THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT! THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT! That’s great news. And finally: you can endure. The word endure means to put up with; you can find a way out – and it won’t always be easy, but you can endure the way out. It might be difficult to share your struggles with another human, it may be a shame getting rid of the internet or satellite TV, it may be hard to ditch a couple of your best friends who are always leading you the wrong way. But YOU CAN ENDURE – whatever the path out is, you can walk it, and you can walk in victory.
This verse is full of good news for anyone who is struggling with sin. It really is.
If you have any thoughts or comments, or prayer requests, why not comment below?