Monday, April 30, 2007

Who is the Blame for our Temptation?

On Friday we began a look at James 1:13-18. In this six verses, James gives us insight into temptation. First he tell us not to blame God when we are tempted because God is untemptable. Now he tells us in verse 14 where the real blame lies—in ourselves. The idea that “each one is tempted” is universal. “Each one” Gr.hekastos (singular), “each individual” — this stresses that the universal experience of being tempted is an individual matter, assailing each individual. It is also internal. James says, “When he is drawn away by his own desires.” This names the true source of temptation! “By his own” shows the individuality of each person. James uses the preposition of direct agency (“by” - hupo). The word he uses for “desires” or “lust” is epithumia (neutral term), it denotes a strong desire. It may be good (1 Tim.3:1) or evil (Jas.1:14) depending on the context.

The Scriptures teach that man is evil at heart. In Genesis 6:5 it says that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” In Genesis 8:21 the Lord said that “the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.” Jesus said similar words in Matthew 15:18-20 about the heart of man when he said to the Pharisees, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

So the first thing we need to understand is the evil of our own heart. Having that in mind will help us to understand who is the real blame for our temptation. Tomorrow we will look at how temptation operates.

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