Temptation

James 1:13-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted[1] with evil,[2] and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[3] 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Matthew 6:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from the wicked one.

Romans 5:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned,

In addition, God had already informed us that we are mentally bent toward evil, that man’s mind is evil from his very youth.

Genesis 6:5 The American Translation (AT)

5 When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great, and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil, the LORD regretted that he had ever made man on the earth.

Genesis 8:21 The American Translation (AT)

21 I will never again curse the soil, though the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth; nor ever again will I ever again destroy all life creature as I have just done.

Jeremiah informs us that,

Jeremiah 17:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

The heart is more deceitful than all else,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?

The apostle Paul writes,

Romans 7:21-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCENotice in the above that Paul references “the law of [his] mind.” For a person who has a strong faith, that law of his mind is ruled by a phenomenon that he delights in, namely “the law of God.” Certainly, we see that “the law of sin” is waging war against the law of the mind. Nevertheless, the Christian can conquer ‘the law of sin’ with the help of God. Paul goes on to say in verse 25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.’”

Thus, the imperfect human, in his human weaknesses has the following stacked up against him, (1) he is missing the mark of perfection, (2) the whole bent of his mind leans toward evil, (3) his inner self is deceitful and sick, (4) which he cannot understand, and (5) the law of sin dwells in his members. Therefore, it is easy to see that if he dwells on, entertains, or cultivates wrong thoughts, as opposed to immediately dismissing them, it will lead to sin.

However, not all is lost, because Paul also tells us that we can ‘be renewed in the spirit of our minds.’ (Eph. 4:23) We can ‘put off the old person with its practices and have put on the new self. We will then be renewed in knowledge according to the image of our Creator.’ We will be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.’ – Colossians 3:9-10; Romans 12:2.

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. (1:13)

HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR BAD HABITSLet no one say when he is tempted,[4] “I am being tempted by God.” If any Christian were under any kind of affliction or hardship, he would be wrong to attribute this to God, as though God were trying to tempt him into sinning. If he lets some aspect of the trial turn into a temptation for him (e.g., if he goes from a refusal to give in to the temptation, to giving in or bending under pressure because of some selfish gain, or because he is looking for a way to evade facing and enduring the trial), it is not God who deserves the blame. We need to understand that God will strengthen us to endure the trials of this imperfect word, only if we continue unwaveringly in our own heart. (Phil. 4:13) God will never carry out any action that would lead his servant to sin. While God permitted sin and imperfection to come into the world after the rebellion of Satan, Adam, and Eve, it was not to test or tempt humanity into sin, but rather to teach us the object lesson that we were not designed to walk on our own. We were designed to be under God’s sovereign rulership, which Adam rejected. The world under Satan’s rulership caters to the fallen flesh, not to God.

God is holy and pure so he cannot be tempted with evil. It is impossible for God to be tempted by evil of any kind or by any unacceptable situation, or by some condition that would motivate him to commit wrong. It is impossible to make something that is contrary to God’s standards and values attractive to the point that it would be trying him.

GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THISGod himself tempts no one, just as he himself cannot be tempted into sin. God does not place alluring things before his creatures, to embolden them to transgress against him. He is not seeking to test their weaknesses or their steadfastness. He does not place things before us that we must have for survival, and the situation requires us to violate his standards to achieve it. However, God has allowed the trials of an imperfect world of humanity to continue, as he has “morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil and suffering in the world.” (William Lane Craig) God offers us nothing but good for our improvement, never for our impairment. The ruler of this imperfect world, Satan the Devil, has no qualms about using trials as a means of tempting us to violate God’s Word. This is not to say that God will not allow some trial that he could have prevented for the sake of disciple (i.e., correction), making his servants more complete. – Hebrews 12:7, and 11

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. (1:14)

James states but each one is tempted, which signifies that temptation is on an individual basis. The temptation is not another individual’s problem but is an individual choice that one gives into or rejects. James also writes one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his desire, which exposes that the problem of temptation lies not with God, but rather it is in oneself. James says that temptation is always directed at the desire of one’s heart. Therefore, God is not the one who is causing the temptation, but the temptation comes through the enticement of one’s lust within his heart.

FEARLESSThe Greek word James uses here for enticed is deleazo, which means to “lure as bait.” (Vine 1996, 203) James tells us in the passage that the underlying motivation for all temptation is selfish desire, that all temptations spring from man’s desire to satisfy his own flesh and personal forbidden desires. This means the temptation that Satan offers to people always deals with that which is pleasurable to man and appeals to his desires. This is not to say that human desires in and of itself are wrong. Moreover, human pleasure is not bad in and of itself. Satan has corrupted the desires of the flesh, which was perfectly natural before the sin of Adam. For example, there was a natural desire for a physical relationship between man and woman. After the fall, Paul tells us that it has become a standard practice “For their women [to] exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” i.e., homosexuality. (Rom. 1:26) Once the lust is manifested in the heart then the more it lingers there without being dealt with then it will begin to carry away the individual with the enticement of what that fulfilled lust can bring.

Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (1:15)

Temptation always begins with an enticement towards one’s lust or an unwarranted desire. If not cast down, one then is carried away by the bait of the enticement. Then soon after, one will take the bait, give in to the temptation, and satisfy the lust of his flesh. It is for this reason that James writes then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin. James continues with the progression stating sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. Once the desire is conceived, or once the individual gives acts upon that temptation by giving into its evil desire, it gives birth to sin that can lead to death.

James is telling these believers that once sin is conceived and begins to take root in the heart if it is not dealt with, it will become full grown within the heart, to attain what their hearts desire. James makes it very clear that once we give into the temptation of that lust, it will inevitably give birth to sin. What was meant to produce pleasure and satisfaction, now only causes chaos and devastation. James warns these believers that the only result of fulfilling their lust brought about death. This death could for some have led to physical death depending upon the lust they were giving into. James has a deeper meaning in the fact that it was causing spiritual death to these believers when they gave into sin.

Again, we can see from Adam and Eve that when they ate of the fruit, they did so out of their desire and pleasure for power and control that stemmed from their lust. When they ate of the fruit, the promise of fulfillment only resulted in death. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they faced spiritual death, in the fact that their sin had separated them from God. In turn, because of the curse, they would also suffer physical death due to their sin. James is warning these believers of the serious danger of temptation and the consequences if they were to give in to their lust. James wants his readers to understand that for the one who persisted in his temptation and living in that manner, and then, in the end, he would face eternal destruction. Paul wrote in Romans 7:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”

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[1] Lit untempted

[2] That is evil persons, or evil things

[3] Or “own lust

[4] God does not tempt us, but he does allow us to go through temptations. As we know from Abraham, God can test us, but never tempt us with sin. God allows us to face the trials that the natural course of life takes within this imperfect age. He allows us to face the trials of our own free will decisions. Simply being steadfast in a Christian life that is counterintuitive to the wicked world that we live in can be a trial that God has allowed.

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