James 1:13 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:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
We noted in verses 2&3 that temptation is the trying of faith. Every person needs to know whether their faith is genuine or not. Everyone exercises faith every day. People that drive to work have faith that their vehicle will get them to work and back. The safety aspect of this journey will depend on their alertness as well as that of the other driver. People go to the grocery store and they buy groceries. They trust that the groceries they buy are healthy and safe.
These are minor things compared to the spiritual faith man needs to have. There are more false religions than a person can count. There are always new ones coming up. Jude talked of the faith that was once delivered unto the saints. That is the faith that we need to have. We need to be tested as to whether we actually have that faith.
In verse 13 James was directed to remind us that God does not tempt us. James gives us two very clear reasons why we can know God will never tempt a person to sin. The first reason is that God cannot be tempted. God has everything and He lacks nothing. There is nothing that the devil or man can come up with that would in any way be a temptation to God.
We know that any human can be tempted. Sometimes rich people, who should be content with their riches, still want something different and better. Earthly things cannot satisfy. That is why God told Paul to state: “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
The second reason James gives is that God never tempts any man. God will never try to get man to sin. That is contrary to the nature of God. He desires for man to know His blessing. God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden. He commanded Adam not to eat of that fruit. The devil tempted Eve and she was deceived. Adam was tempted and he willfully took of that forbidden fruit. It was not a temptation to have that tree in the garden. Adam lacked nothing in that garden. He chose to believe a lie of the devil and thus sinned.
In verse 14 we see what the problem is. The problem is man’s lust. The Greek word translated as “lust” speaks of “desiring something that is forbidden.” Too many parents have abandoned good parenting ways. They don’t want to set out any rules for their children. Those children never learn how to behave. They do wrong, but it is not seen as wrong. It might not be the preferred choice, but it is not wrong, according to the parents. Rules are important. They show us what is right and what is wrong. God has just the right amount of rules for man. He sets out the way that is good and right. He provides all the incentive for man to be able to live by His rules. Since the fall, salvation is requited to be able to keep God’s rules. Man does not live by rule keeping. Man needs to live by faith in the true and living God.
The devil works with the lust of man to entrap the person in their lust. When a saint entertains their lust, they will take that lust to the next step. David lusted after women. He already had too many wives, but he wanted more. He did not deal with his lust and that led to his inquiring for the woman he saw bathing on her rooftop. David still allowed his lust to entice him and he ordered that woman brought to him. David was into sin fairly deep by now. He took the next step and defiled that woman. His lust continued unchecked until God sent Nathan to confront David with his sin.
In verse 15 we see that unchecked lust conceives and brings forth sin. The Greek word translated as “conceive” means “to seize, to take prisoner”. Unchecked lust will bring forth sin. The end result of unconfessed sin is death. David lost fellowship with the Lord due to his sin. He murdered Uriah due to his sin. His son died due to his sin. According to Old Testament law, David should have been taken outside the city and stoned. God was gracious to him and did not demand that he be killed. God forgave David, but there were still consequences to his sin. The judgment David faced was multilayered. It hurt him and it hurt the nation of Israel.
The same will be true for every child of God. We need to deal with the lusts that we have. We need to take God at His Word and take that escape that He has for us. No one is forced to follow their lust. The devil will try hard to convince the saint that indulging in that lust a little won’t hurt. He is a liar and a murderer. Too often saints will yield to the lust of the flesh. We can be thankful that God has made a way to deal with the sin we commit after we are saved. We need to confess that sin to Him in order to be forgiven and restored.
I Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
In verse 16 James was directed to warn the brethren not to err. Saints need to be careful not to blame God for their sin. Doing that would be a demonstration of pride. We know in the garden that Adam tried to blame God and his wife. He had sinned and he was caught in his sin. He tried to make others the scapegoat for his sin. It did not work. God understood what was going on and He did not allow Adam to get away with his deceptive way.
Saints need to be humble. We have talked of this many times. The Bible has much to say about the importance of humility. Humility is a very important part of the Christian life. The person who assumes they are humble does not yet understand humility. We need to be humble. We will demonstrate our humility when we obediently and cheerfully serve the true God.