While James wrote that God doesn’t tempt anyone, He does tests us where He can lead us into temptation. In this post, we will discuss why God leads us into temptation.
God does not tempt anyone
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.James 1:13-14
We read in the book of James that God doesn’t tempt anyone. We are all tempted when we are carried away and enticed by our own lust. This does not mean God has no role to play when some is being tempted.
God leads us into temptation
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.Matthew 4:1
It is was the Spirit of God which led Jesus Christ into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.Matthew 6:13a
Even in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to ask God the Father not to lead us into temptation. As we can see, God doesn’t tempt us but He does lead us into temptation. But why?
God allows temptation to test us
The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.Psalms 11:5
As the Psalmist sings, The LORD tests everyone. He tests both the righteous and the wicked.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.James 1:12
James himself explains these are trials to test us just before the verse where he explains God cannot tempt us and how we are tempted by our own lust.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted [G3985 πειράζω peirazō] by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test [G3985 πειράζω peirazō] those who dwell on the earth.James 1:13-14, Revelation 3:10
Even though tempted and tested is having the same Greek word, they do have slightly different meaning and could refer the same thing. In other words, God doesn’t tempt anyone but rather tests them by allowing Satan to tempt.
What if we fail?
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:15-16
As the author of Hebrews writes, we do have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. Hence, we can be go with confidence to Jesus Christ, where can may receive mercy and find grace in time of need.
Passing tests from God is very important since God tests us to verify if we are worthy of a greater blessing. Tests not the same for everyone. For Jesus Christ, the cornerstone who was also a tested stone as in Isaiah 28:16, His tests involve everything regarding who He is and the authority that He will receive from the father after He is glorified. For others, it can be lust and pride (I John 2:16). If we fail the test, we can become unworthy for what God intended the test and we may never receive the blessing from God unless we pass the test. If Daniel’s friends failed the test by abiding the law to bow down to the idol, they would have never been promoted. Sometimes, we must be ready to walk through situations like fiery furnace for the sake of following Christ in order to pass the test and receive greater blessings.