Wednesday, April 26, 2006

James 1:13-18 Resisting Temptation (Part 4)

James 1:13-18 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. [17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. [18] Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

This one of those times the preacher is going to say something beyond what the text actually says, but my point is theologically and biblically true. The third key to resist temptation is that we must trust God for the ability to overcome it.

James says in verse 17 that God is the source of every perfect gift, and in verse 18 he makes it clear that God is the source of our new birth. Folks, if God is the source of every perfect gift with greatest gift being our salvation doesn’t it follow that we can count on Him for the ability to resist temptation? The Apostle Paul said we could in 1 Cor. 10:13. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” Furthermore, in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to pray for God’s deliverance from temptation. Listen; if God is willing to deliver us from sin and death then certainly He is just as willing to deliver us from temptation. Isn’t God good? James agrees!

In addition to teaching us about temptation, this text teaches us three important truths about God; He is holy (13), He is gracious (17a, 18) and He is unchangeable (17b). When we resist temptation we are imitating God’s holiness. When we give mercy, forgiveness and love even to our enemies we are imitating God’s grace. When we persevere in the midst of adversity we imitate God’s unchangeableness. The good news is that God will give us the grace to be all these things. Because He is the giver of every perfect gift, we can count it!

1 comment:

Charlie McClelland said...

Hey Rick,

Great article. I heard someone say--God does not tell us to resist temptation. Instead, I think Peter tells us to resist the devil and he will flee--then Paul tells Timothy to flee temptation. That goes along with our article we chose Christ--he overcomes the tempation as we submit to him.