To Put To The Test
The English word temptation is derived from a Latin word meaning to put to the test, or to try, as in a trial. To taunt (a word that is also appropriate for Satan's methods, but for just a little while longer - see When The Cat Will Become The Mouse) is derived from the same word. As such, temptation is an accurate word to translate the New Testament Greek word (pronounced) pi-ras-mos which means to entice, or to prove. Biblically, temptation generally means solicitation to do evil.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
The "Lord's Prayer" speaks of a deliverance from the evils of temptation:
"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name [see also The Third Commandment]
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven [see also The Throne Of God, From Heaven To Earth]
Give us this day our daily bread [see also
The Living Bread
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors [see also Forgive, And Be Forgiven]
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Amen." (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)
Jesus Christ clearly stated that it's not the "spirit" that is vulnerable to temptation, but the "flesh":
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41 KJV)
The apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry and Pharisees), one of the greatest people of God that ever lived, a man who was given to write much of what became the New Testament, was bombarded by temptation, exactly in the way that Jesus Christ spoke of in the quoted verses above:
"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I."
"If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:14-24 KJV)
There are limits to the amount of temptation that God permits His people to be subjected to. Nevertheless, the stronger in faith and obedience will often also face greater trials:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV)
"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48 KJV)
The "temptation of Christ" by Satan was not a farce; it was a genuine contest (that included Satan quoting Scripture to Jesus Christ, see below) that Satan lost, but could have won. Satan would not have tried otherwise (see Could Jesus Have Sinned?):
"And Jesus being full of The Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered."
"And the devil [see also What Does Satan Look Like?] said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread."
"And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."
"And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it [see Who Still Rules The World Today?]. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine."
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."
"And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on a pinnacle of the Temple, and said unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."
"And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
"And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season" (Luke 4:1-13 KJV)
Fact Finder:Was Jesus Christ "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (KJV)?