God Never Tempts Us to Sin

“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 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. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers” (James 1:13-16).

Blaming God for sin, or our giving in to temptation, is not a new problem as we see in the text above. James, the earthly brother of Jesus, confronted this false accusation against God head-on by making certain his readers understood that the temptation to sin does not originate in God, but in the corrupt heart of man. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived about where the root problem lies.

However, what is commonly missed is the connection of James’ “Do not be deceived” admonition to what follows in the next verse, “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” (James 1:17). This verse sets God’s good intentions in direct contrast to the false accusation laid against him, namely, that God is somehow responsible for tempting us to sin. “Not a chance,” says James. Instead, God is the source of all that is good.

James does this by painting an incredibly important word-picture which portrays God in such a way that we are motivated to pray. Every “good gift and every perfect gift” is from God. God delights in giving good things to His children. Jesus says in Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” If we as human beings know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more does an infinitely good God know how to do good for His children? Sometimes we wrongly think that God withholds things from us because He does not love us. But the opposite is true. Sometimes he withholds our request from us to prove his love. He loves us too much to let us destroy ourselves (2 Corinthians 12:7).

All of these undeserved gifts come down from the “Father of lights,” the creator of the heavenly lights, the sun, moon and stars (Gen. 1:14). God created these light-bearing bodies to reflect his nature (1 John 1:5). Men are not light, but love darkness because they love sin (John 3:19). But it is impossible for God, the Father of lights, to be involved in darkness. There is “no variation or shadow due to change.” He is immutable, unchanging and unchangeable. And unlike the heavenly lights, the light of God’s holiness never changes. It always burns with the same intensity. Therefore, it is impossible for God to tempt us toward evil. If we ask him for a fish then he will not give us a serpent (Luke 11:11).

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