Gleanings from James: Testing vs. Temptation


    From a previous post, we noted in James 1:2 and 1:12 regarding ‘temptations’, that it was a good thing…we were to ‘count it all joy when we fell into… temptations’.  Temptations brought forth a good and right result, patience, being one result.  And, from verse 12, if we endured temptations or testings, we would ‘receive the crown of life’, a promise to all those that loved the Lord.    Testings as used in  these verses were used to prove us, designed to strengthen and manifest one’s character.  If we failed the test or trial, we are aware of our short-coming and our need to go through this testing again, until we come to that place where our character is what God would have us to become.   Certainly, these are of God’s choosing for us.

Today’s verses, James 1:13-15, use the word ‘temptation’ in quite a different manner:

“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:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then, when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” ~ KJV

    Let’s briefly examine today, the difference in the use of the word, “temptation” and derivitives of this word.  

In verses 2 and 12, the same Greek word is used: ‘peirazo’.    

Strong’s Concordance – 3985 – a putting of proof by experiment (of good); to prove; to test; to try.   Let us note at this juncture, all good things come from God.  

     A few verses to acknowledge God’s goodness to mankind and by no means a comprehensive example of God, and His goodness.  I encourage you to take out your concordance and do a self-study throughout the Bible seeking out God’s goodness.  It is a humbling and rewarding exercise in getting to know God as He is and Who He is.

     Psalm 8:12a, “Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good;…”            

     In Genesis 50:20, “…but God meant it unto good, …to save much people alive.”  An example from Joseph’s life in bringing about ‘good’ to benefit many, through the trial in Joseph’s life.  [I encourage you to read the full account of Joseph’s life from Genesis to get the full impact of this verse.]

     Psalm 86:5, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”

     Psalm 86:15, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” 

Psalm 119:67-68, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word.  Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statues.”   

    In verses 13-14 we have some key words to consider.  Once again, using our Strong’s Concordance:

verse 13 –  “tempted” – 551 – apeirastos – Not temptable;

verse 14 –  “tempted” – 3986 – peirasmos – experience of evil solicitation, discipline or provocation;

– “lust” – 1939 – longing; desire.   

–  “enticed” – 1185 – allured; beguiled.

verse 15 –  “sin” – 266 – offence

–  “finished” – 658 – consumated

–  “tempted” – 3985 – (man) proven

–  “death” – 2288 – thanatos – death (be…)

      Taking our findings, let us try and understand what these verses are saying, having already established that God is good and His very nature is holy; no evil ‘thing’ comes from God and when He has allowed trials and testings in our life (“temptations”, verse 2), they are for the proving of our character and for our perfecting or maturing us to a completeness in becoming a more Christ-like nature.

 We find in verses 13-15 of James, that when we are tempted to do evil, to do that which transgresses against God and His Word, (see Psalm 51:4), that we are tempted, that is, provoked, because of our own fleshly and evil desire to fulfill our own longings and desires.

 Perhaps, we should stop a moment to think about what it is that might easily provoke us to sin.  What are the ‘traps’, the “weaknesses”  in the areas our lives where we might be easily beguiled and cause us to offend/to sin against God.   If we might have an awareness of not only what they are but when it is that we are most vulnerable to them occuring, perhaps we could be prepared with God’s Word to battle against the allurements to our flesh, that we might “not sin against God.”

     Verse 15, goes on to say, that when we DO give in to this ‘lust’ to satisfy our own longings, it can only lead and culminate in sin.  There are no degrees of sin; one sin is not more evil than another.  To God, sin is sin.  It is separation from Him, because He is holy.

     No one else is at fault…just ourselves.  (No, the devil did NOT make you do it!  We DID IT, because WE wanted to do it.)  

And, sin, Scripture says, when it is finished, when it is  “consummated”, results in “death”.  

Well, you might be thinking, that is the way it is…everything eventually dies.  Yes, that is true.  Why is that?  Perhaps you, who have come through, Beyond the Strait Gate, are new to these concepts from God’s Word and have never considered why it is that all things eventually, DIE!?  

For the answer to this, we would have to go back to the Garden of Eden.   Back to where creation began and God planted the perfect sinless man and woman in His paradise He made for them.  All was provided for man, and in this state of perfection, death was not heard of, until that day came when God’s enemy allured the woman, Eve, to sin against God and His Word to them.  It all comes down to ‘disobedience’.  You know, it is the same for us today.  When we sin against God, it is because of disobedience to His revealed Word in the Bible.  You know the story, and if not, you can read it in     Genesis 3.  As you read, you will find Eve’s human nature, just like ours,  at work.  We don’t like to be blamed for our wrong doings…so it was in the beginning.  Each one, blamed the other for their transgression.  Yet, as Scripture already has taught us from James, we sin, when we are allured by our own lusts…and when we ‘give in’ to these desires, we sin.  

      What about this question of death.   As we continue reading in Genesis 3, we find God’s judgment on Adam and Eve because of disobedience: not only did they receive a condemnation of death, Genesis 3:19, but this ‘death sentence’ affects every living thing .    In being “evicted” from the Garden, out from the reach of the tree of life because of disobedience against God,  Adam and Eve set the standard for all mankind.   Perfect man became a sinner.  We are Adam’s race.  We, too, inherently, are sinners.  Thus, we all die.  

 This was not what God had in mind when He created man.  He made us for Himself, and the plan was for us to live with Him forever.  So, He had a “plan B”, if you will.  He sent His Son, Jesus, who is God come down from Heaven for one purpose: to die on the cross of Calvary, shedding His blood, to pay the penalty for our sins. That is God’s remedy for mankind.   What is our part?

     God hates our sins, but He loves us and does want for us to be with Him in His Eternity, Heaven, with Him.   But, alas, sin doesn’t abide in Heaven.  Heaven is His Home and can be our home also, if we accept the gift of Jesus’ finished work on the cross of Mt. Calvary, when He shed His blood and died for our sin.  However, like any gift, we have to receive it.  We receive His gift by faith, through the grace given us by God.   Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” – KJV

The question that now remains for us…’will we accept the gift of Eternal Life provided for us by God the Son, or will we die…like Adam, in our sin?

Ponder the question today.  Meditate on it.   If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and profess Him as your Savior, then, we continue and endeavor to live according to His Word, embracing the ‘temptations’ He allows in our lives to prove us, that we might be worthy of His gift of Eternal Life.    

     If you are not a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, the challenge today is to consider what you have heard Beyond the Strait Gate, and if you are convicted of your need for His forgiveness and desire a life with Him in His Eternity, thereby living forever, then, you need to do business with Him.    Go to Him in prayer, admitting you are a sinner and do not deserve eternal life.  But, if you believe He died for our sin and rose from the grave to purchase a place in Heaven for you, ask Him to come into your life and take control of your life; to forgive you of your sin and save you.  He asks us to repent, that is to make 180 degree turn around from our way of life to His way of life.  If you are willing to do this and place your trust in Him for your salvation from sin, praise God!    

John 6:47 says this, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”

     I would love hearing from you, and in particular, if you have made this decision to believe in Jesus Christ by faith.  Like a newborn babe, we need to know what steps to take to grow and become a strong Christian.  

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4 thoughts on “Gleanings from James: Testing vs. Temptation

  1. Thank you, Ann. I try to use it in every posting, so as not to forget…to keep in the forefront of our minds, mine and those who read it, that it is that having gone in and beyond The Strait Gate, Jesus Christ, of how we are to live. I want Him to always be the focus and the reason for the message. You are always so encouraging!

  2. Thank you, Cindy for subscribing to this blog. It is humbling and a blessing to be used for His Sake by Him. Keep sharing as He blesses. That encourages me, too. It’s a win-win situation.

    ~ Mercedes

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