Is Temptation on Its Own Sinful? Depends Where It Came From, Says Theologian

Is Temptation on Its Own Sinful? Depends Where It Came From, Says Theologian

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Sign up By , Christian Post Contributor | Jul 16, 2018 11:21 AM Expand | Collapse (Photo: Unsplash/KEEM IBARRA) 

People sin on a regular basis because humans are innately fallible, but is merely being tempted to sin wrong in it of itself?

That‘s the question that Denny Burk, a professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, sought to answer .

After co-writing a piece for The Public Discourse, titled “Learning to Hate Sin without Hating Ourselves,” with Rosaria Butterfield, Burk said that he has received many questions, including those from readers who are wondering if temptation is sinful.

Burk, who is president of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, clarified that he is sharing only what he knows and understands and that he expects others will have their own takes on the matter.

According to Burk, every temptation is made up of a trial and the enticement to sin.

The trial is the element that tests people and puts them in the mindset where they may be more inclined to sin, while the enticement is the part that shows how giving in can provide them with freedom from the suffering brought about by the trial.

Burk then noted that temptation can come from different places.

Sometimes, temptation can originate from an external source, something or someone enticing the person to give in to desire and do something wrong. An example of this he cited is when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness .

Burk believes that when temptation doesn‘t originate from an external source, then it takes root in a person‘s own desires, which could be sinful themselves.

This is where Burk creates a distinction between the sinful type of temptation, and the type of temptation that is free from that.

According to Burk, temptation is not sinful when a person is being lured to sin by someone or something else and if there‘s no desire on the part of the individual to respond to it.

However, he believes that temptation does become sinful when the reason for why it exists in the first place is because of an inherent desire that an individual possesses.

Temptation bubbling up from within oneself is something that Burk believes is unique to people and he also thinks that giving in to one will not quell the desire to sin any further. If anything, he suggested that giving in to temptation “awakens sinful desires.”

Burk, however, reminded people that no matter the kind of temptation, God will always provide people with a way to break free from its hold.

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