Author: Ron Graham
God Is Not Our Tempter
There is an idea in many people's minds, that when they are tempted to sin God is doing it to them. It is an old notion that James opposes quite bluntly:
1 God tempts nobody
This is the first and main point of our lesson: God never tempts anybody to do evil. James made it so clear that we need not elaborate on it...
“Don't let anyone say when tempted, 'I am being tempted from God', for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself doesn't tempt anybody” (James 1:13)
2 Satan is our tempter
In the following narratives, the real tempter is identified:
- Eve in Eden (Genesis 3:1-6).
- Temptation of Job (Job 1:6-12).
- Temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).
- Vision of nations deceived (Revelation 20:1-3,7-8).
Note:— Revelation 20:1-3,7-8. In the vision of Satan being bound and released, there are two periods: a thousand years in which he is bound and a short time in which he is released. These are not real periods or particular events in history. They symbolise the relative powers of Christ and Satan. The thousand years represents the encouraging fact that Satan is greatly restricted in how he can tempt us. The little season represents the corollary, a warning that Satan is not prevented entirely from tempting us. The principle represented by the vision is stated in plain language by Paul (see 1Corinthians 10:13).
3 But didn't God tempt Abraham?
The Bible says that "God tempted Abraham" (Genesis 22:1-19). However in that narrative we see that God's temptation of Abraham is in all points opposite to the manner in which Satan tempts...
- The devil tempts people to sin, but God tempted Abraham to obey him, not to sin. (Genesis 22:18).
- The devil deceives people, but God did not deceive Abraham. Abraham knew that Isaac would be with him when he returned, and that God would provide a lamb to take Isaac's place (Genesis 22:5,8).
- The devil attacks us in our weaknesses, but God was testing Abraham's faith —his strong point. (Genesis 15:1-6, esp v6).