Finally, there are those sins that come to us from the devil. In the fourth chapter of James, verse 7, James gives instructions as to what we are to do. He says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." In this case fleeing the sin is not enough because if it comes to you from the devil, he is not going to flee from you by himself. He is stronger than you are. But James says, first of all, to submit yourself to God, and then resist the devil, and then the devil will flee from you.

There is a second truth we should learn from this section as well. It comes in this magnificent verse 13: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." This is a verse you should memorize early in the Christian life because its teaching is so important. It says temptation is common. Just because you are a Christian, you are not going to avoid temptation. But this verse tells us God provides the way of escape for Christians when the temptation comes.

Today we will continue to study the four admonitions Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 10:6-10. The idolatry is probably a reference to the thirty-second chapter of Exodus, which tells of when Moses was up in the mountain receiving the Law. The Law began, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below" (Ex. 20:3-4). And yet, at the very time Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law, the people were down in the valley making the golden calf, falling down, and worshiping it. The Apostle Paul told them to remember that even though they were numbered visibly among the people of God, they committed idolatry and were judged for it.

This matter of baptism in verse 2 has confused a lot of people. There are those who say, "You see! They were all baptized in the sea. That’s talking about immersion." But, they overlook the fact that it was the Egyptians who were immersed, not the Israelites. It is at this point that those who do not believe in baptism by immersion have said, "No, it says they were all baptized in the cloud and in the sea. How are you baptized with a cloud? Obviously, you are baptized when it sprinkles on you. So, it’s not talking about immersion." Even if we do not understand exactly what baptism means here, it should be evident that this sort of foolish quibbling is not what it means.

I do not know of any book of the New Testament that is more practical than 1 Corinthians. Yet of all the practical matters that are handled in this letter, I suppose the most practical and far-reaching of all is the matter of temptation, which Paul discusses in chapter 10, because temptation affects everybody. There are many who have marriage problems, legal disputes, and prideful characters, but temptation is the all-inclusive category. It concerns absolutely every person in the human race. If you are not tempted, you are dead. And if you do not struggle against temptation, you are spiritually dead.