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This review was originally posted at Credo Magazine Blog.
Russell Moore in Temped and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ frames the temptation of Christ within redemptive history as the answer for the daily temptations all Christians encounter. Christ’s example is not merely our example to follow, but His example is our answer to temptation. We look to His gospel, the good news of His death and resurrection to reconcile us to His Father. We are not left alone to fend for ourselves for we have One who has conquered, is conquering, and will conquer the evil one. In other words, we cannot triumph over temptation, only Jesus can (195).
Christians exist in a wilderness of temptation where possible pitfalls lurk around every corner and where we least expect it (Ch. 1). Temptation is subtle, leading us gradually to a great Fall. Justifying a “small” sin eventually encourages us to justify “greater” sins. Sins we would not have committed in the beginning, we are desensitized to embrace later (Ch. 2). As sinners, we want what we want, but it can never satisfy. We must long for eternity more than we long for the temporary. Christ heard His Father’s voice louder than His growling stomach when tempted in the wilderness. Having been made sons and daughters through Christ’s blood, we must hear our Father’s voice louder than our appetites as well (Ch. 3).
Furthermore, what matters in our daily lives is not our selfish vindication, but God’s present and “not yet” vindication of us through Christ. He will defend us in Christ; we must simply preach truth, seeking to spread the gospel while looking ahead to our vindication instead of submitting to the temporary false glory of being right (Ch. 4). We must crucify our desire for power, influence, etc. regardless how “small” it may be; and instead, we must seek God’s glory in Christ, looking to the day when we rule and reign with Him forevermore (Ch. 5). Temptations are real, persistent, and common to all Christians. They were common to Christ as well, yet He never sinned. The gospel empowers us through the Spirit to live as Christ lived while pleading His blood alone for salvation (Ch. 6). In other words, you cannot triumph over temptation, only Jesus can (Ch. 7). Run to Him continually.
In conclusion, Moore succeeds in his desired goal. After reading this work, I cannot help but feel the weight of my sin and the various temptations that plague me. Where will I turn for victory? I will only turn to the One who endured temptation and conquered, then bled and died as if He failed, and triumphantly rose from the dead to save His people. I look to Him afresh and anew tonight, and with honesty, I boldly cry out, “Abba, Father,” due to His finished work. May I continue crying out, from here to eternity.