10 Sep 2003

Does God lead people into temptation?

Submitted by theshovel
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Because this answer seems to come out of nowhere, and because I don't have the original background to the question posed to me, I wanted to piece together a sense of what I had been asked. As a matter of fact, I do remember having to summarize the email sent to me in order to make the question, as it was not quite posed as a specific question. :) The following verses were referred to along with a comment about a seeming discrepancy between what Jesus and James wrote about temptation.

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:13-15

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13

Does God lead people into temptation?

Consider the fact that James was there with Jesus listening to all of this. So, when James wrote his letter it makes sense that you would expect a similar pattern. Do you remember how James jumped right into a discussion the "trials" that test faith? Guess what? Same word we translate "temptations" ... same word Jesus used in Matthew 6:13. Now, it is ONLY from the perspective of fallen man (the wisdom of the world) that these trials are connected to the source of evil. And that is why James went on to make the distinction between the OUTER trial from God and the INNER trial (or temptation) that has its source in evil.

For EVERYTHING brought by God is GOOD, because God is good and CANNOT supply anything other than that which is like Himself.

This would be the EXACT same distinction that was being made by Jesus as he CONTRASTED: NOT leading in, but delivering from. The wording may throw US off, but I would bet that the people picked up on it immediately. On every point they would be saying, "That's NOT what the leaders tell us!" For the false religion of man (as taught by the Pharisees) could only come to one conclusion as to the sad state of affairs in Israel: that God is the source of evil as well as good. Jesus claimed that God DELIVERS from evil (literally, "the evil ONE").

Is it any different with us? I don't think so. We have even officially categorized catastrophic events as "Acts of God". This didn't happen because we didn't know what else to call these tragedies, it is the natural conclusion God must be the cause of really bad stuff.

Consider these in view of Matthew 6:13

I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.John 17:15

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and GOD IS FAITHFUL, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Pretty cool, huh? Same truth. Kept in the realm of it, but delivered from it. As we are in the process of blaming God, we can know that it is the only logical conclusion we learned from the natural realm. And it is good to reflect on the truth that He is the source of ONLY good.

Can you give an illustration or an example of what you're saying?

Haha! An illustration or example, you say? My wife usually tells me, "Your illustration lost me!". Hahaha. I like illustrations, but I hesitate once in a while wondering if I overdo it. I'll try to remember that you like the illustrations. :)

As far as the word "temptation" goes, it is used often of "testing" without a connection to evil. If you are tested by trials you will discover that evil seems to be in the same vicinity. For example, I love chocolate, but it gives me bad headaches (literally). I got to the point that when I saw chocolate, I saw a headache, and it kept me from eating it ... it has often reversed the intense desire to say, "yum!" whenever it was around. But chocolate doesn't equal headache even though I have come to view it that way (by the way, I had some brownies last night ... I woke up with a headache in the early AM hours). Now, if most people equated the two as I have and somebody said, "I'm talking about chocolate, but NOT the headaches" then it would be calling attention to that perceived equation that Chocolate = headache.

Jesus was calling attention to the "testing without evil" because the legal mentality had grouped them together ... and even had learned to blame GOD for the evil. The evil comes from a source outside of God because God has no evil in Him and cannot even TEST (tempt) with evil. It's an impossibility. Within what Jesus was saying was that nugget. It's effect is that it was shattering the concept they had held concerning God, evil, testing, etc. I can picture many of the common people actually saying something close to, "That's sure a heck of a lot different than what the Pharisees and Scribes teach us, because they seem to connect the two and end up saying it's really God's fault that the evil came."

Well, I hope you like the chocolate ... I mean, the example. Let me know.

Love, Jim

New Testament: 

Comments

I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.John 17:15

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and GOD IS FAITHFUL, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

When seeing the connection between these two statements in different parts of the Bible, I see the reference to ” such is common to man”[1 Cor] right next to “out of the world”.[ John] That “common to man” seems to refer to the exact same reference of Jesus' in saying “the world”. It's all connected to the common stuff we all go through since this world is fallen.

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