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Posted by: jakinnan | November 20, 2013

God Does Not Tempt Us to Sin

Scotland

God will use painful trials…to hone us, but he doesn’t cause all of them.

Some of my readers will need some help with this because they’ve been taught a theology that God causes all things. So they have had to swallow hard and accept the view that God caused them to be sexually abused, God caused their mother to die a premature death, God caused their son or daughter to abandon the faith. Oh, friends, this is a horrible view of God and a profound heresy. Listen:

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:13–15 NIV 2011)

James makes it clear in this passage that God does not tempt anyone to sin, nor does he go on to cause them to sin. But people are tempted every day; they go on to sin every day. So, then, things happen every single day that God is not causing. God does not make anyone sin, but people sin every day, and those sins have terrible consequences. This is not God doing these things. Do you see what an important difference it makes?

– Stasi Eldredge, Becoming Myself

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Responses

  1. I wonder if the main point in James 1 is more about temptation, and the erroneous but convenient way of excusing their sin by saying “God made me do it”. I suggest this, because it seems to be the thrust of the passage – namely if you sin, it is your own desires and willingness to give in to temptation that is at fault.

    However, concluding that God is not sovereign over all situations makes it really hard to understand passages like Romans 9 – that express God’s absolute sovereignty over all things – including who He will save and who He will not.

    I think the Bible is very clear that 1) God is sovereign over all things and that noting is outside of his sovereign control – not even the devil (See Job 1 as en example), and 2) that humans are accountable for their thoughts, choices and actions as evidenced in James 1 and other passages. The question is, how do we reconcile these two Biblical claims.

    Philippians 2:12-13 brings these two realities together: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Here we see our responsibility and God’s sovereignty paired together. We see commands to work out our faith with earnest, hard work AND we see God is not only in control of the outcome of our works, but also our very desire to do so. This is not entirely logical to our human mind, but passages like this, and especially Romans 9 assert that this is the reality.

    What do you think?

    • Also, I do want to be clear – I agree that the Bible clearly states that God is not the author of sin, nor does he tempt us. God does not cause us to sin – that is clear Yet He does restrain, ordain and is sovereign over sin. This isn’t logical – not to our imperfect minds – but if we are to trust the entirety of the Bible, I think we’ll find this duality is what it teaches.

    • I think you have found a great passage in scripture that really brings the two together. Thank you so much for sharing and God Bless You!

      – Jason


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