The Source of Temptation – James Lesson 7

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” James 1:13

The type of temptation that is the topic of these verses has to do with the temptation or trial rising from within from evil appetites and passions.[1] While God does observe the believer being tempted by the evil one and thus tests and approves the believer. However, the source of the temptation to do evil is not God. It is evil appealing to the evil desires and appetites that are a part of every man’s carnal nature.

Mankind’s depravity is not a choice, but is part of the fallen nature we are all born with. This is because of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. It is this fallen nature that necessitates redemption. We live in an age and culture that has forgotten the lessons of God’s Word about the profound effect of sin upon the human race. The innate nature of sin in humans is not a concept that is understood and is certainly not socially acceptable to most. But God tells us that sin is not only what one does, it is also part of what we are. If this were not so, redemption would only be necessary for some people. The rest of us “good people” would not need to be taken through the wringer with all that sin and guilt business, right?

The lack of understanding about human depravity aids the enemy of our soul. This makes it easier for Satan to appeal to the fallen nature that is part of all of us, if we do not understand that the fallen nature exists. What happens due to this ignorance is that people begin to blame God for their carnality with such statement as “God made me this way” etc. No, God’s original creation was perfect. It was the advent of sin that marred the whole of creation, including man’s moral makeup.

Satan’s temptation to commit sin can become God’s test to qualify us for rewards. However, we should not blame the temptation upon God. God is not tempted with evil and neither does He tempt others to commit sin. The temptation to commit evil comes from without, yet it must appeal to something within the heart of man.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23

The stimulation to do these wicked things comes from outside, but the impulse and desire to commit sin is internal. It is part and parcel of the depraved nature. And that nature is still with us even after we have been redeemed. It will be part of us until we receive a glorified body and are once and for all free of the flesh.

Temptation is always possible so long as we live in the flesh unglorified. Thus, the Scripture speaks of Christ’s temptation.

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:15

Even though He knew no sin, yet was he born into a sinful shell and inherited the fallen nature. His sinless blood was pure, but his human nature was fallen. Without inheriting a fallen nature, He could not have been tempted. External stimuli must appeal to internal impulses. The internal impulses belong to the fallen nature. No human will be able to stand before the white throne and say that Jesus does not understand the power and draw of temptation. The Lord will simply hold out a nail-pierced hand.

Temptation is external stimuli appealing to internal impulse and nature. Satan and his imps use the five gates of the senses to bring external stimuli into the realm of man’s consciousness. Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch bring temptation into play for us humans. Even imagining the experience of these sensations is powerful juju. Sin is when men succumb to those sinful impulses and commit actions and thoughts that are against God’s laws and expectations.

[1] Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by W. E. Vine 

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