Nov 12

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The title is a relative question as it has within it the word “too” which is defined by the young to mean one age and the older folks to mean another age. Some years ago, when teaching a Bible class, I pointed out just how old “old” is keeps changing. When I was fifteen, forty years old was “old;” but when I got to be forty, it was no longer old. So, I stated that I was not sure just how old one had to be to be old! A little “old” lady in the class quickly replied: “76, I am 76 and I am old!” I was just old enough and wise enough not to object! By her standard, I am now an “old man!” But the point is, “too old” is a movable age and it depends a lot on your own age. Should I live to be hundred and five years old, which has been my goal for many years, seventy-six will not be so “old!”
The title of this article, “Do you ever grow too old,” is a reference to a time in your life when you have gone beyond the point of something! In other words, you reach an age when something is not going to happen to you; therefore, you are not in need of another something. Yes, these are vague but deliberately so. The reason is to give you time to think before we get to the real subject, but we have now arrived at the point for the real subject.
The real subject of this article, “Do you ever grow too old,” to be tempted, and sin; therefore, in need of forgiveness? First, tempted does not imply that one has sinned; for Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, being “tempted” does not imply sin! The word “tempted” (the Greek – peirazō) means: “2b, in a bad sense, to test one maliciously, craftily to put to the proof his feelings or judgments 2c) to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin 2c1) to solicit to sin, to tempt.” This larger definition is given so the reader may get a fuller view of the subject. It should be easy to see, that every effort is being made to produce sin by means of temptation! Temptation does not mean sin, but it is the effort to produce sin! And no, we never “grow too old” to be tempted!
Second, seeing that we never “grow too old” to be tempted, it should be easy enough to see that we never “grow too old” to sin! By the malicious, crafty enticement of the nature of sin, sometimes we yield to it even though we have grown “old!” It may be true, that the nature of the malicious, crafty enticement has changed as we get older, but it does not stop. Therefore, it may not be the same group of temptations that are set before the “older” folks, but another group of temptations. Nevertheless, the end result of all temptation is the same; therefore, let us no matter our age remember Peter’s words: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Us “older” folks are just as required as the young people, to “be sober, be vigilant” as our “adversary” (antidikos = opponent, enemy) never gives up and he has many agents! We must be fully aware of Satan and his agents: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:14-15). No, we “never grow too old’ to be tempted, nor to sin!
This naturally brings us to a third point, if: 1) we “never grow too old” to be tempted; 2) we “never grow too old” to commit sin; then, 3) we “never grow too old” to be in need of forgiveness! Give thought to these words, now that you are “older:” “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain” (James 4:13); as “older” folks these are not our thought as they belong more to the young. However, James continued with: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (verse 14); wherefore, we should understand that we are in the “vanisheth away” stage of life! This Greek words (aphanizō) means: “to snatch out of sight, to put out of view, to make unseen.” Do these words describe the “older” age or what? We become less and less seen, less viewed, and so we are finally unseen!
However, we “never grow too old,” in fact, we are at the prime time in life to heed the words of James as he concludes his thought: “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (verse 15). Our time is growing nearer, temptations will come, sins will be committed, but thanks be to God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)!

Frank R. Williams


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