Overcoming Sin

by Sinclair Ferguson on January 28, 2005

MID-SOUTH MEN’S RALLY

January 28, 2005
— 8:00 p.m.

James 1

“Overcoming Sin”

Dr. Sinclair Ferguson

Please open your Bibles again to the first chapter of the
Book of James. Those of you who are seasoned preachers or who are taking careful
notes will have realized that in the first hour we got only half of the first
message, and so I’ve been left in somewhat of a quandary as to whether I should
finish the first one or start the second one! The more cynical among you will
think, “He’s discovered that one they were giving away free is the one he was
going to preach as the second message…” but I can assure you that is by no
means the case. And I hope I have chosen the better part, since there’s a free
message there if you want it, to finish the first message.

So we’re going to turn to part two, and let me read
again from the end of that section we read earlier on, which comes to a
climactic promise in the words of verse 12:

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial; for when he
has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to
those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by
God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But
each person is tempted when he is lured and entice3d by his own desire. Then
desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is fully
grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good
gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of
lights, with whom there is no variation, or shadow due to change. Of His own
will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first
fruits of His creatures. Know this, my beloved brothers.”

James’ concern, as we have already seen as he
enunciates it earlier on in this wonderful letter, is that Christians should go
on to maturity. “Let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be
perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

One day I was trying to help my wife, which is my
case is almost always a mistake in judgment. We were in Scotland at the time,
and she was hanging out things on the washing line–not because Scotland does not
yet have tumble dryers, but because Scots are cheap and mean. And as I tried to
help her hang things on the washing line, she turned to me, and with
characteristically devastating grace, said, “You know, what I really needed from
the Lord was a practical man, and I’m still not sure why He gave me the least
practical man He’s ever created.”

And if you’re anything like that, whenever you
venture into the do-it-yourself business, the last thing that you want to do is
to test your workmanship, because you have no confidence that your workmanship
will be able to stand the test.

Over and over again in Scripture, it becomes so
plain that God’s real workmanship
, His lasting workmanship…and because
it’s lasting workmanship, as it were, to make sure not to Himself, but to
us…He has no lack of confidence in His workmanship, but to give us
confidence
in His workmanship, He tests His workmanship. He puts it
under strain. He puts it through trials. And in those trials God does not gain
confidence in His workmanship, but we gain confidence and stability and
strength in our workmanship.

And it’s evident from what James has to say here in
these first sections of his little letter that he understands that that testing
of God takes place providentially in different ways. But is the testing that God
brings upon us in providence in the sufferings that we experience externally?
But he’s speaking in these verses about various kinds of trials, and he
recognizes also–and this, I think, is the reason for his very careful language
in verse 13–he recognizes also that God in His sovereign providence allows His
children not only to face the external trials, but to encounter internal trials;
not only suffering from without, but temptation that arises from within. These
two are parts of the trials, the testing, of the Christian life.

And James is insistent in this context, of course,
to emphasize that when we are thus internally tempted, internally tried, we need
to be able to distinguish between the principle that God never Himself solicits
us to sin, on the one hand; with, on the other hand, the principle that God
permits such trials of our faith in order that as we resist the stress of
temptation, and as the stress and pressure of temptation may grow and develop in
our lives, we resist it increasingly. It is in this way we build up, as it
were, spiritual muscle and grow to maturity.

I remember a good number of years ago now, a young
pastor in the PCA. At the end of a weekend in his church, somebody I had taught
at seminary sitting down, weary as I was at the end of much preaching over the
weekend, and saying, “Now, before I let you go to bed I have one last thing to
ask you.” And I was altogether unprepared for the question he posed, and since
he died shortly afterwards, profoundly grateful for the impression it made upon
my life when he said, “I want you to take me through the steps that will enable
me to overcome temptation and sin. I want you to take me through the steps
that will help me to overcome temptation and sin
.”

And just as we’re thinking in connection with
external suffering, how important it is for us when we face ourselves, or when
we seek to encourage and help others who are facing it. So in terms of this
internal stress, this internal trial of temptation, it is as though James is
sitting down beside us as our pastor and saying, ‘One of the things you need to
be able to know is to know how to face, and to resist, and to overcome
temptation.’ And I want us to see in these verses from verse 12 through to
the end of verse 18, that for all practical purposes, he’s wanting to teach us
three things–three things that we absolutely need to know and understand if we
are going to grow in our ability to resist temptation.

I. We must accept responsibility
for our own sin.

The first and most obvious one is what he
says in verses 13 and 14, and that is that we must accept responsibility for it
in ourselves. Now, James, I presume, is not altogether blind to the fact that
Satan is a tempter, but he is not here concerned about that dimension of
temptation in which Satan is engaging; although, as we shall see, this passage
has a great deal to teach us about that context. What he’s focusing his
attention on is this: that when we are solicited by temptation, we are
solicited because there is a remainder of sin upon which temptation lands, and
by which it is able (in his own language) to seduce us.

Now, what does that mean in practical terms?
That I accept responsibility for temptation? It means this: that I recognize
the nature of indwelling sin for what it actually is
. One of the
fascinating things about the way in which particularly the New Testament letters
speak about sin, at least to my mind, is the frankness with which they speak
about the sins of Christians; the frankness with which the New Testament names
the sins with which Christians are constantly struggling.

Having re-entered American televised religion in the
last year and a half, I’ve been impressed all over again by the “name it and
claim it” character of television Christianity, of the good life that is offered
to those who will only claim it. And I’ve sometimes thought that we Reformed
Christians should start a new kind of cult; not the “name it and claim it” cult,
but the “say it and slay it” cult, and understand the depth of our own sin as we
face temptation, and understand that one of the chief bastions against falling
to that temptation is naming our sin for what it actually is–saying the word;
expressing the truth. And this, at the end of the day, is what James is
concerned that we should do here: that when we are tempted, we should not say
‘I am being tempted by God, for God is not tempted with sin nor does He tempt
us’ in the sense of entice us to sin.

The enticement to sin is connected with the
reality of the sin in my own heart, and so long as I am deceived about that
–you
notice he goes on to speak about being deceived–so long as I am deceived about
that, so long will I fail to deal with my sin. So he says, you notice,
in verse 16, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” Do not go through
your Christian life pretending that the reality of your life can be disguised;
that the secret sin of your heart can be covered over
. ‘No,’ he says. ‘My
beloved brothers, understand that when you are tempted, you are tempted because
of what remains in your own heart as ongoing, lingering sin. And call it the way
it is. Call it the way it is.’

I’m always struck by the fact, since I happen to
have a passing interest in playing golf, I’m always struck by the fact that
there are men who, on the golf course, will go livid if you cheat, who I know
are cheating on their wives and hide it over as incidental. And part of all that
James is concerned that we should begin to understand about the nature of
Christian growth is that it begins with a proper understanding of ourselves;
that even though we are Christians, there remains sin powerfully within our
lives, and it is sin, still. And so when we are tempted, the first thing we
need to realize is our own weakness: that it’s there.

You remember how the Lord Jesus says, when Satan
comes to Him, He says, ‘Satan has no ground to land on in Me.’ But that’s not
true of you and of me. Satan has ground to land on. I need, in the first
instance, to recognize that it is there.

II. We need to understand
temptation.

But then secondly, and this is the thing that
James is most profoundly concerned about here, if I’m going to be able to deal
with temptation, I not only need to learn to accept responsibility for my sin,
but I need in the second place to learn to understand the temptation cycle.

One of the things that James seems to be saying
here, because in what he says here there is a very direct parallel to the two
great Old Testament illustrations of individuals falling to temptation. He’s
saying to us, ‘There is a pattern, there is a cycle. Sometimes temptation may
overtake you so suddenly that you do not realize that there is a pattern to that
temptation. But if you’re going to learn to resist temptation, one of the
things you need to do is to learn to understand how temptation works: to
see its dynamic, to recognize its operation so that you can resist its force
when you meet with it.

And he outlines that for us here in verse 13:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot
be tempted with evil…He himself tempts no one
.’” But, here is how
it happens. “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his
own desire. Then desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin; and sin,
when it is fully grown, brings forth death.”

And you notice in what he says here as he urges us
to understand the ‘temptation cycle’, as I’ve called it, he’s urging us to
understand that temptation moves sometimes slowly, sometimes swiftly and
suddenly, through a cycle of stages.

It begins, he says, with attraction. Each person
is tempted when he is lured
. The Bible has a good deal to say to us to
command the principle of admiration of that which is good and that which is
true, and that which is beautiful; but the Bible is also conscious that, in the
lives of sinners, admiration so readily becomes a false attraction, when that
which is attractive to us becomes an enticement within us.

You remember how that was the case very obviously in
the situation that David experienced; a woman who was beautiful, but who became
an object of enticement. A legitimate admiration for something beautiful that
God had made that became a twisted lust in the heart of the king. And it’s
clear what happened, and what always happens: that instead of seeing objects
of creation, objects of admiration and beauty within the context of God as
Creator, we see them within the context as ourselves as the desirer.

And it was exactly the same thing in the Garden of
Eden, the other great paradigm of temptation in the Old Testament Scriptures.
As in the course of his seduction of Eve in those early verses in Genesis 3, you
get the impression that the serpent engages Eve in conversation, and as they are
engaged in conversation, so the narrative goes, somehow or another the serpent
has maneuvered Eve now to be standing before the tree about which they have been
speaking. And as they stand before the tree, she looks at the tree and she
finds that the fruit of the tree is a delight to the eyes. It looks as though
it would be delicious upon the lips, and upon the taste buds. And the tree is no
longer viewed in terms of what God says about it, but in terms of what Eve wants
from it. And she has been attracted and enticed, and allured. And so,
says James, the second part of the cycle kicks in. “Each person is
tempted when he is lured and enticed; and when he is enticed, he becomes
deceived.” That is the function of the urgency of verse 16: “Do not be
deceived, my beloved brothers.”

If pastors could have dollars for those who have sat
in their offices, head in hands, and said, “I don’t know what came over me. I
don’t know how I could have done it.” This is the very thing of which James is
speaking here. The rush of blood to the head, the blurring of the vision, the
beginning to see things in the light of my desires rather than in the light of
God’s word; the dumbing of the voice of God that insistently cries, “Do not be
deceived!” And the desire becomes entangled in my affections, and right
thinking disappears from my mind

Have you ever read these words of John Bunyan’s?

“Sin, rather than ‘twill out of
action be,

Will pray to stay but a while
with thee.

‘One night, one hour, one
moment!’ will it cry.

‘Embrace me in thy bosom, lest I
die!

‘Time to repent,’ saith it; ‘I
will allow

And help if to repent thou
knowest not how.’

But if you give it entrance at
the door,

It will come in and may go out
no more.”

It is so characteristic of Satan, and so
characteristic of our self-deception that when he says about anything, ‘It’s a
small thing, and no one need know, and it’s only this once.’ And we yield, and
he returns to us and he says, ‘It was no small thing! And all shall know,
unless you engage in compact with me, that we may keep this secret.’ And the
Christian believer finds himself blackmailed by Satan, in bondage all over again
and in need of a mighty, supernatural work of God’s grace if there is going to
be deliverance from the bondage it has created.

And so, enticement becomes deception, and
deception becomes conception
. “When sin is fully grown, it brings forth
death.”

I’ve often wondered if James was actually thinking
about the story in II Samuel 11 and 12, because that’s exactly how it goes.
There’s attraction, and deception, and then death. And not only the death
of Uriah the Hittite, but the death of the child of David and Bathsheba. It
brings forth death. And so there is this conception of, as it were, a beast that
takes hold of my life as the sperm of desire and the egg of opportunity unite.

Thankfully, there are times in God’s providence when
I may have the desire to fall into temptation, and have no objective
opportunity–and sometimes there are objective opportunities and no desire–but
when there is both opportunity and desire, I dare not be deceived about the real
nature of falling into sin, and the bondage and spiritual death that will be the
result. James, with such sobriety and solemnity because he has such a deep
pastoral heart, is concerned that this temptation cycle will come to its
consummation and end in this kind of spiritual death.

And it leads, as some of you know, to terrible
desperation. The evil one who has first said, ‘It’s a small thing and nobody
will know,’ comes back again to visit us and say, ‘This is a great sin, and
there is no hope.’ And there are Christian men who have gone long years under
the heavy burden and awful paralysis of being hopeless Christians, out of whom
the melody has gone in their lives. James, as the pastor of these people
dispersed, as he realizes they no longer have perhaps the ministry of God’s word
that they once had, is absolutely desperate that these brothers and sisters will
understand how temptation works.

Why is he dealing with this in such detail? For the
simple reason that he wants us, as it were, to see what temptation looks like
in slow motion,
and so have embedded in our minds the subtle way in which
temptation moves from stage to stage until inexorably it comes to death and
hopelessness, and despair; so that we recognize it in its first risings, and
learn to see the first risings of temptation not in the light of what we then
experience, but in the light of where they are eventually going to lead, should
we follow them
. Because like Eve in the Garden of Eden we find ourselves
standing and talking and negotiating, and do not realize in the course of the
conversation that we are pressed into a corner where we either need an influx of
special, supernatural energy to make us turn and run, or we yield.

III. Why we need to remember these
things.

Now why speak about these things? Well, James
speaks about these things not because he wants to burden these Christians, some
of who have stumbled, doubtless, and fallen; not because he wants to burden with
guilt, but he wants to teach them to learn how to overcome temptation.

How do you overcome temptation? Somebody says, as
you drive home tonight in the car, the two of you, ‘You know, I have been
struggling with temptation.’ What are you going to say to him? How do you
overcome temptation?

Well, let me suggest that in these very words he
says three things to us that are of enormous help to our Christian lives.

The first is this, and it’s really what we’ve
already seen: it is vital for us to understand the nature of the temptation
cycle.
In this respect, as the Book of Proverbs says, ‘knowledge is
power.’ And the reason we are weak is because we do not understand what is
happening. And the reason we are not able to help others is because we have lost
the facility to analyze the way in which temptation works, and so he very
carefully takes these Christians through the temptation cycle in order that they
may see what is happening, in order that they may pause and ask, ‘Where are we
in this, that we may understand the appropriate remedies that need to be taken
to get out of this, and to resist temptation, and to flee from evil, and to
resist Satan?’

There is a second lesson James is teaching us,
and the thing that’s so striking is that it’s so interestingly akin to the
lesson he was teaching us we needed to learn when we face suffering of a more
physical kind.
In that context he said, ‘You need to seek wisdom from a God
who gives generously.’ And here he says, within the context of emphasizing ‘you
need to understand how temptation works in this temptation cycle,’ he also says,
‘you need to be convinced of the unchanging goodness of God.’ And that’s the
connection between what he is saying here in verse 16: “Beloved brothers, do not
be deceived…” and what he goes on to say.

Why does he so suddenly move from speaking about
temptation to speaking about “every good and perfect gift coming down from
above, from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow due
to change”? Because he wants us to see that one of the strongest bastions that
enables us to resist temptation is the absolute conviction that our God is good;
He works everything in our lives together for good, and He wants good for us.
Otherwise, we fall to the same seduction to which Eve fell in the Garden of Eden
when Satan said to Eve in the Garden of Eden, ‘He isn’t really good, and He
doesn’t really want the best for you.’ That is what the temptation in the
Garden of Eden was all about, isn’t it? It’s not just that the serpent was
denying the truth or the authority of God’s word; he was denying the truth about
God Himself!

This, I think, is perhaps what Paul really meant
when he said that ‘they exchange the truth about God for the lie.’ What was the
truth about God? The truth about God was that He had given them the whole
garden, and said about one tree, ‘Don’t eat from that tree.’ What Satan said
was, ‘God put you in this garden with all these trees, and now said you are not
to eat of any of the trees of this garden.’ What was he really saying?
What was the innuendo
? The innuendo was, ‘Your God isn’t really good.
Your God isn’t really kind. Your God isn’t really generous. Your God doesn’t
really love you.’ And of course she fell!

Of course she fell! Because if we are not
absolutely convinced, my brothers, that our God is really good, we’ve no defense
against Satan, and we’ve no defense against the allurements of our hearts when
those hearts are enticed towards that which is displeasing to Him, because at
the end of the day we say, in relationship to such a God, ‘This is better for
me.’ And James is saying, ‘Brothers, it’s never better for you! His is always
better, because every good and perfect gift comes down to you from above, from
this absolutely unchangingly good God!’ And you know, when you believe that,
you can face the enticements of the evil one and the seductions of this world in
whatever particular form they come to you. You can face them down, eyeball to
eyeball, and say, ‘God is good, and God’s way is indubitably best.’ It is a
great bastion against the onslaught of the evil one, but you see, James is
saying you need to know how he works. He’s wanting to persuade you and convince
you that this way is best, and to divert your eyes from what God says in His
word and what God is in His character. As you gaze upon the Father of lights in
whom there is no shadow due to change, and gaze into His face of infinitely
glorious goodness, in all your weakness and temptability you look at Him and
say, ‘Father, this is causing me to ache, and its tearing me apart, because I
still have these sinful desires; but You are good. You are good.’

I remember, a number of years ago I was speaking at
a pastors’ conference in the church in Minneapolis where John Piper is pastor.
And in that church they have a choir–I think it’s called “The Choir of the
Nations.” It’s a multi-ethnic choir, and their style of singing is
multi-ethnic. And we were sitting at our meeting at an evening at this
conference when the choir was singing, and one of the things they were singing
was a kind of calypso song; and the choir was singing antiphonally with a man
who was kind of ‘grooving’ a little around the stage–I think he was of Caribbean
origin, and they were singing, and he was singing and grooving around, and the
choir was responding, and he was singing and the choir was responding–there was
a good deal of swaying going on! And I think John Piper wanted to shock me! And
he leaned over to me, and he pointed at the man who was grooving around and he
said, “You see him?” Well, I couldn’t miss him! He said, “He’s one of my
elders.” Well, I’ve tried to learn to be fairly unshockable, and at the end I
leaned over to him and I said, “Do you ever rent out your elders to other
churches?”

And I suppose the amusement of the situation
underlined for me the words of the song, because the words of the song were,
“Our God is good, all of the time, all of the time.” And the antiphonal singing
of the choir was —‘if you’re a teacher, you need to know this!–if you’re a
mother you need to know this!–if you’re a father, you need to know this!–if
you’re a doctor, you need to know this!–whatever you do, you need to know this:
my God is good, all of the time, all of the time! Our God is good, all of the
time, all of the time!’

James is saying, ‘It is a tremendous bastion in the
Christian life to be utterly convinced that your God is good all of the time.’

But then, you see, there is a third thing here.
We learn to overcome sin because we understand the nature of the temptation
cycle. We see how it works, and we watch what it’s doing. We learn to overcome
sin because we develop in the gospel a conviction about the unchanging goodness
of God. And we overcome temptation and sin, thirdly, because, as he says in
verse 18, “…of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we
should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.”

What’s he saying? And what, in particular, is he
saying to my life when I have fallen, and brought shame upon my life? He is
saying, ‘If you’re a child of God at all, it is because by a sovereign,
monarchistic work of His grace that has been effected in your life by the word
of truth; by the word of truth He has brought us forth to the birth, so that we
should be a kind of first fruits of His creation.

And you see, in miniature he’s making the point that
particularly the Apostle Paul makes at great length: that one of the great
bastions against falling into sin, and one of the great bastions to resist
temptation is to understand that God has made you a new creature in Christ.
It’s James’ cameo version of what Paul says in Romans 6: we don’t go on living
in sin, because in Jesus Christ we’ve died to the dominion of sin, and we’ve
been raised into newness of life. And being raised into newness of life, sin no
longer has dominion over us; and if sin no longer has dominion over us, we face
it down, and we say, ‘You no longer reign over me. You shall not drive me to
despair, because I am a new creation in Jesus Christ, gloriously new!’ Which is
why, so often when men fail, they express themselves in words like these: ‘I
just forgot who I was.’ And that’s the truth. We just forgot who we were.

And if we’re only to remember who we were in Jesus
Christ, part of His new creation, born again by the power of His Spirit,
experiencing new affections and love for Him, enjoying the blessings of
fellowship together, knowing the ecstasy of worship, experiencing His watchcare
over our lives because we are His dear blood-bought children; if we only
remember who we really are in Christ, we would be able to say to temptation, ‘Am
I a dog, that I should do such a thing?’

Some of you, like me, deeply appreciate the writings
of John Owen. And Owen says in one of his works, he says, ‘You know, there are
actually at the end of the day only two pastoral problems.’ If you’re a little
jaundiced, you say, ‘Well, it shouldn’t have taken you twenty-four volumes to
help me understand it! But he puts it like this: he says, ‘You know, at the
end of the day there really are only two pastoral problems. Pastoral Problem
No.1 is dealing with the unconverted; Pastoral Problem No. 2 is dealing with the
converted.’

Pastoral Problem No. 1 is persuading those who are
under the dominion of sin that they are under the dominion of sin; and Pastoral
Problem No. 2 is persuading those who are no longer under the dominion of sin
that they are no longer under the dominion of sin, but that they are the first
fruits of God’s new creation. And as the first fruits of God’s new creation, the
guarantee that those first fruits will become a glorious final harvest. And
it’s when I see that that I begin to have power to resist temptation.

My wife, who would not be pleased to feature in this
exposition of James once, never mind twice, says to me with some regularity,
“Sinclair, you’ve stopped thinking. You’ve stopped thinking. You’ve stopped
thinking.” What’s she saying? She’s saying, “You’re forgetting who you are.”
And that’s what James is saying: “Beloved brothers, don’t forget who you are,
because you are these glorious new creations in our Savior, Jesus Christ, the
first fruits of the final heavenly glory.

And armed with these three pieces of equipment and
understanding of the way in which temptation works…my brothers, Satan has only
so many tricks up his sleeve! The tragedy of my life is that when I stumble and
fall I realize he’s been using the same old trick again, and I need to learn to
have embedded in my mind ‘this is how he works.’ He seeks to distort realities
before me, by encouraging me to see things in terms of my own sinful passions
and not in terms of what God says about them; seeing them in terms of how they
might be related to me, rather than seeing them in terms of how they are related
to God; and then he begins to insist whisperingly, ‘You know God isn’t really
kind. You know God isn’t really generous. If God were really generous, this
would be yours.’ So I need to know of the unchanging goodness of God, that it
may be a bastion in my heart and I need to remember who I am; and I am no longer
the man I once was. Of course, I am not yet the man I one day shall be, but
thank God, I am no longer the man I once was. I have been brought forth as the
first fruits of the new creation by an altogether good heavenly Father, by the
word of truth.

And, knowing these things, we may be strengthened by
His word not only to grow in stability to maturity as we experience the external
trials of life, but as secretly, and inwardly and personally we may fight and
struggle, and labor and strive against temptation that is very specially shaped
to our spiritual weaknesses. And even in the evil day when opportunity and
desire are both present, we will be able to stand.

My brothers, what a glorious thing it would be–since
we shall never again like this meet together…exactly these brothers together
in the same room–what a glorious thing it would be at the end of our lives to be
able to rehearse together how He had enabled us each to stand. May it be so.

Our heavenly Father, we thank You that Your word
comes to us in so many different, powerful ways in Scripture: at times in
biography, and other times in song; at times in principles, at other times in
arguments, by such varied personalities and characters. We want to thank You
this evening for James, a brother of our Lord Jesus. It is not hard for us, our
God, to imagine that when the Lord appeared to James in His resurrection that
James would first have asked Him about the sufferings He endured and the
temptations He withstood.

We thank You that we have a Savior who has known
both: a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief; a second man and a last Adam who
has felt the full weight of Satan’s enticements, not least the whisperings that
a God who would go and plan the way of the cross cannot be a good God.

We thank You tonight for the solemn resistance
and purpose of our dear Lord Jesus, who was so convinced of Your absolute
goodness, so sensitive to the temptation cycle, so committed to being the first
fruits of all the new creation, that He stood firm. And we thank you, our
blessed God, for the Spirit You have given to indwell us as the very Spirit who
sustained Him. The word You have given to instruct us is the word to which He
opened His ear morning by morning, and was instructed by it.

And
we pray that as the armor that You have given us has been tested and tried, and
found to be true in Jesus Christ, that by Your grace You would help us to wear
it. And grant, our God, we pray, while we pray in ignorance we pray with faith;
that those of us who have in these days inwardly yielded to temptation may be
strengthened in repentance and restoration, and that all of us by Your mighty
grace and power may be able to resist the evil one, and to trust unreservedly in
the goodness of our God, knowing that we shall see the goodness of God in the
land of the living. And this we pray for Jesus Christ, our King and Savior’s
sake. Amen

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