Enter Not

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 6:13

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
~ Ephesians 6:13

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
~ 2 Peter 2:9

General Exhortation to the Duty Prescribed in Not Entering into Temptation, by John Owen. The following contains Chapter Nine of his work, “Of Temptation: The Nature and Power of It; The Danger of Entering Into It; And the Means of Preventing That Danger: With A Resolution of Various Cases Belonging To It.


“Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the
world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
— Rev 3:10

“Watch and pray, that you do not enter into temptation.”
— Mat 26:41


General exhortation to the duty prescribed

Having thus passed through the considerations of the duty of watching so that we do not enter into temptation, I suppose I need not add motives for observing it. Those who are not moved by their own sad experiences, nor by the importance of the duty as laid down at the start of this discourse, I must leave to the further patience of God. I will only close the whole with a general exhortation to those who are in any measure prepared for it, by considering what has been said. If you were to go into a hospital, and see many people lying sick and weak, sore and wounded, with many filthy diseases and distempers, and were to inquire of them how they fell into this condition, and they all agreed in telling you that such or such a thing was the occasion of it — “I got my wound by that,” says one, “And I got my disease by it,” says another — would it not make you a little careful how or what you had to do with that thing or place? Surely it would. If you were to go to a dungeon, and see many miserable creatures bound in chains for an approaching day of execution, and inquired what was the way and means by which they were brought into that condition, and they all fixed on one and the same thing, would you not take care to avoid it?

The case is so with entering into temptation. Ah! how many poor, miserable, spiritually-wounded souls, we have everywhere! — one is wounded by one sin, one by another; one falls into the filthiness of the flesh, another of the spirit. Ask them now, how they came into this estate and condition? They must all answer, “Alas! We entered into temptation; we fell into cursed snares and entanglements; and that has brought us into the woeful condition you see!” Indeed, if a man could look into the dungeons of hell, and see the poor damned souls that lie bound in chains of darkness, and hear their cries, what would he be taught? What do they say? Are they not cursing their tempters, and the temptations that they entered into? And shall we be negligent in this? Solomon tells us that the simpleton who follows the strange woman, does not know that the dead are there, that “her house inclines to death, and her paths to the dead” (which he repeats three times); and that is the reason that he risks her snares. If you knew what has been done by entering into temptation,perhaps you would be more watchful and careful. Men may think they do well enough notwithstanding; but, Pro 6:27, 28, “Can a man put fire in his breastpocket, and his clothes not be burnt? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be burnt?”

No such thing! Men do not come out of their temptation without wounds, burns, and scars. I do not know any place in the world where there is a greater need to press this exhortation than in this place. Go to our several colleges and inquire about such and such young men; what is the answer in respect to many of them? “Ah! he was very hopeful for a season; but he fell into bad company, and he is quite lost. He had a good beginning of religion; we had great expectations for him, but he has fallen into temptation.” And so too in other places. “He was useful and humble, and adorned the gospel; but now he is so woefully entangled with the world, that he has grown all selfish, and has no sap or savour. He was humble and zealous; but he has advanced in life, and has lost his first love and ways.”Rev 2.4 Oh! how full is the world, how full is this place, of these woeful examples, to say nothing of those innumerable poor creatures who have fallen into temptation by delusions in religion. And is it not time for us to awake before it is too late — to watch against the first risings of sin, the first attempts of Satan, and against all the ways by which he has made approaches to us, however harmless they may be in themselves?

Do we not experience our weakness, our folly, the invincible power of temptation, once it has gotten within us? As for this duty that I have insisted on, take these considerations: —

1. If you neglect this duty, which is the only means prescribed by our Saviour, you will certainly enter into temptation, and just as certainly fall into sin. Do not flatter yourselves. Some of you are “old disciples;” you have a great abhorrence of sin; you think it is impossible that you would ever be seduced in such a way; but, 1 Cor 10.12, “Let him (whoever he may be) that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”

It is not any grace received, it is not any experience obtained, it is not any resolution improved, that will preserve you from any evil, unless you stand upon your watch: “What I say to you,” says Christ, “I say to all, watch.” Perhaps you had some good success for a time in your careless frame; but awake: admire God’s tenderness and patience, or else evil lies at the door.Gen 4.7 If you will not perform this duty, whoever you are, one way or another, in one thing or another, whether spiritual or carnal wickedness, you will be tempted, you will be defiled; and what will be the end of it? Remember 1 Peter 1:14.

2. Consider that you are always under the eye of Christ, the great captain of our salvation, who has enjoined us to watch thus, and pray that we do not enter into temptation. What do you think the thoughts and heart of Christ are, when he sees a temptation hastening towards us, a storm rising around us, and we are fast asleep? Does it not grieve him to see us so expose ourselves to danger, after he has given us warning upon warning? While he was in the days of his flesh, he considered his temptation while it was still coming, and armed himself against it. “The prince of this world comes,” he says, “but he has no part in me.” Joh 14.30 And shall we be negligent under his eye? You only have to think that you see him coming to you as he did to Peter, when he was asleep in the garden, and with the same reproof: “What! Can you not watch one hour?” Mar 14.37 Would it not grieve you to be so reproved, or to hear him thundering from heaven against your neglect, as he did against the church of Sardis?

3. Consider that if you neglect this duty, and so fall into temptation — which you will assuredly do — that when you are entangled, God may also bring some heavy affliction or judgment upon you, which (because of your entanglement) you will not be able to look at any other way than as evidence of his anger and hatred. And then what will you do with your temptation and affliction together? All your bones will be broken, and your peace and strength will be gone in a moment. This may seem like only the noise of words for the present; but if it is ever your condition, you will find it to be full of woe and bitterness. Oh then, let us strive to keep our spirits unentangled, avoiding all appearance of evil, and all ways leading to it; especially all the ways, businesses, societies, and employments that we have already found disadvantageous to us.