Grace for Today: James 1:13-16

The Fatal Attraction of Sin (Part 1)

Please Read James 1:13-16

So far in my articles from the Book of James we have been speaking of trials.  According to what James has said up to this point we are to count them as joy based on the fact that God has in mind our growth.  When we respond to them in a God honoring way we grow and mature in Christ-likeness.

James 1:12 (ESV)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

There is, however, another side to trials.  There is the dark side of the trial. There is another possibility.  What happens when we don’t respond correctly?  What happens when we waste the opportunity God has given us to grow?  What happens to us when God sends a trial for our growth but rather than growing we choose to use it as a means to sin?  This is what James looks at in our passage today.  Rather than “standing steadfast” we fall. What happens when we fall?  Most of the time instead of repenting, which would be the best thing, we often blame others for our sin.  Let’s look at what happened when Adam and Eve sinned?

Genesis 3:8-13 (ESV)

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. [9] But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [10] And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” [11] He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” [12] The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” [13] Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

What did Adam do when confronted with his sin?  Adam blamed God.  What did Eve do when confronted with her sin?  She blamed the serpent.  This seems to be our practice as humans.  Not much has changed.  We tend to blame God or we blame the devil, rarely do we take responsibility ourselves.

That brings us to our passage.

James 1:13-16 (ESV)

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  [14] But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  [15] Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

[16] Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

1- The Problem (vs. 13)

The problem is simply stated by James.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

We have in this text the word tempted.  We read some weeks ago a similar word in the original language that was translated trial.  Both words come from the same Greek word.  However in some cases the word is translated trial and in others it’s translated temptation.  What makes the difference?  What makes the difference is the context and the outcome.

Here, in the mind of James, we have good theology gone bad.

The good theology is that God is responsible for the event, circumstance, or situation.  God has sent the trial.  God has sent it for our good, from God’s perspective it is an opportunity to grow and mature.  It is a chance to take a step toward Christ likeness. However, when we don’t take God at His word, when don’t believe God is sovereign, when we don’t trust God, when we don’t use the trial as means to grow, we turn this opportunity to grow into an occasion to sin.

Even in a wrong initial response we see the love of God: even if we begin to respond in the wrong way, God promises to provide a way to escape sin.  When we have fallen into the pit of temptation God throws us a rope.

1 Cor. 10:13 (ESV)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

James wanted to make sure his people new this truth.  God wants us to learn the same truth.

Make sure to join me next week to learn more about using the trials of life as a means to grow in Christ-likeness rather than allowing them to devastate us.

I’m Brian Evans, pastor of Grace Community Church and I pray the Lord will send you “Grace for Today”

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