No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God,” since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:13-18
The first eighteen verses of James deals with trials and how believers should view trials. The first twelve verses lays the foundation that trials are a normal part of a believers life and then based on that foundation tells believers that trials come their way as a way of maturing them and growing them in their faith. However, the last six verses answers the question that rises from the fact that trials help believers grow and mature in their faith. And that question is this: Is God the one doing the tempting or the one causing the “trial?”
The term “trial” (verse 13) connects this group of verses to the preceding section (vv. 2-12). God’s relationship to temptation is made clear by two kinds of statements. On the one hand, there are assertions that clarify what God is not or does not do: “God is not tempted…and he himself doesn’t tempt.” On the other hand, there are assertions as to what things do come from God: “every good and perfect gift.”
The twofold negative stance found in verses 13 and 14 (“God is not tempted” and “he himself doesn’t tempt anyone”) emphatically denies that God leads people into temptation. The source of temptation is one’s “own evil desire.” “Desire” focuses on the immediacy that carnal desire creates, spurring a person to act, to “drawn away and enticed” like a fish is baited to bit a hook and is then pulled from the water.
In verse 16 James then tells believers that they are not to be deceived and verse 17 goes on to tell them how they are not to be deceived. They are not to be deceived because God is the “Father of lights,” which refers to the fact that God created the lights that rule days and seasons. And as the “Father of lights” everything that is “good” and “perfect” come from him. James then gives believers another powerful reason to not be deceived at the end of verse 17 when writes: “Who does not change like shifting shadows.” This phrase alludes to the fact that God’s nature is unchanging and that his promises are secure.
James ends his teaching on trials with these words: “By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” The phrase “word of truth” refers to the Gospel, by which a believers new “birth” comes. The word “firstfruits” refers to the best that the harvest produces. Therefore, James ends his teaching on trials by telling believers: God gives good gifts that yield wondrous fruit, not temptation that leads to death through wayward desires.
Today’s Bible Readings:
Ezekiel 37-38, James 1:19-2:17, Psalm 117:1-2 and Proverbs 28:1
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly