James 1:13-15 – God and Temptation

Review: During life’s troubles, the believer gets to enjoy the intimacy of his relationship with Christ as he receives His grace to persevere 

  1. “trials” and “temptations”— same root word, which means—to test, scrutinize, to examine, to try, to entice; but, these two terms, though appearing to be similar,  are not the same. 
    a) God allows “trials” for the purpose of proving, testing, and strengthening the quality of the believer—that is, his faith (James 1:3). Consider Abraham when he was tested by the command to offer his only son; Job, whose possessions were taken away; Joseph, who was sold by his own brothers; Daniel and his three friends, who were accused before the king.

    b) Each person is “tempted” when he is “enticed,” “dragged away,” “lured out” or “drawn away” (a picture of a bait for fishing); and, this luring away is “by his own desire.” Primarily, a man’s “temptation” comes from within! One’s desire from within, “when it has conceived gives birth to sin… and brings forth death.” See Genesis 6:5 and Mark 7:15-23 for the condition of the human heart! Consider King David also, who acknowledged his personal responsibility for his sin against Bathsheba when confronted by the prophet Nathan. 

    c) James clearly gives warning about the wrong presumption that a believer is being tempted by God. The fact is: God cannot be “tempted” with evil, and he himself “tempts”no one. God’s desire and intent is always based on His holiness. Thus, God will not and cannot do anything that contradicts His nature. Consider Christ as fully man in Hebrews 4:15: “tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Unlike sinful man, Christ who is also fully God, was tempted, yet not from within, but from an external source. See Matthew 4:1-11 (the “tempter came” to Jesus in the wilderness). 

Remember: 1)  the human heart is desperately wicked; 2) only God can give us a new heart. It is Christ who became flesh, took upon Him all sins and died on behalf of sinful man, so that the one who places his faith on Christ’s finished work alone will be reconciled to God! The believer is reckoned righteous because of Christ’s righteousness.

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