Temptation or Test?

James 1:13-15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown , gives birth to death.

In this blog I want to explore the relationship between a temptation and a test in the life of the believer. In seeking to understand the relationship between these two concepts it must be pointed out that the same event can be for the believer both a temptation and a test. How can this be so?

In my previous blog on the problem of evil I pointed out that our God is the first cause of all things, even evil, yet when evil is done those who do the evil and they alone are to be blamed for the evil. God can never be blamed for the evil as he is a holy God (1 John 1:5). When a believer encounters a temptation he is being tempted to dishonor his God. The source of this temptation comes either from the remaining evil within the believer or from evil outside of the believer. So, from the point of view of responsibility God cannot be blamed for the temptation since temptation is only concerned with the enticement to do evil. But, from the point of view of God as the first cause of all things, the same event that has been described as a temptation is also a test brought into the life of the believer by a loving Father who would never bring anything into the life of the believer that was not motivated by his love and for their good (Romans 8:28). The test is brought into the life of the believer in order to build him up not tear him down.

A temptation is also a test and a test is also a temptation. It all depends on your point of view. When we are tempted to do evil we must resist this temptation for we are being enticed to do something that dishonors the God whom we love (Hebrews 12:4). But, from another point of view the temptation can be also viewed as a test that our Father in heaven has brought into our lives in order to cause us to become more Christ-like and to increase our love for Him (Romans 8:28).

5 thoughts on “Temptation or Test?

  1. I’m not sure what you were saying, if anything.

    The reason that the scriptures speak of “testing” is that there are many professors, but the test reveals whether one has the right stuff to overcome. If you fail the test, you are rejected, and if you pass the test you are accepted. Acceptance and rejection, ultimately, are not about who *starts* the race, but about who *finishes* the race.

    Many who seem to have a lock on everything suddenly fall away when the sun rises to the mid-afternoon sun, which is the hottest part of the day.

  2. You said that God is the cause of evil. In eternity God knew that any other being He would create with free will could turn to evil. This is because no other being is exactly like God. God is righteous and incapable of evil and this is the character He grows in the saints by the power of His spirit in them. Evil is sin and sin is evil; scripture says that Satan is the author of both and not God. Certain scriptures that seem to say that God can do evil are poor translations. Jesus said there is none good but one and that is God. Gods nature is righteousness which is the quality of being unable to sin or do evil. Only the righteous will inherit the kingdom of God, a kingdom where all the subjects of it are incapable of sin or evil. How can sin or evil be totally destroyed if God Himself is evil and does evil? God is not the first cause of evil. A free will spirit being, an angel, God created named Lucifer is the first cause of evil. God did not create Lucifer evil but Lucifer willingly of his own became evil. The evil God brings upon humanity is our own evil poured out on our own heads, whatever a man sows that shall he also reap, and this is the righteous judgement of God. This does not make God capable of evil or the first cause of evil but places evil upon those who are evil. Romans 8:20 is a verse that can explain why God created all things subject to vanity but subjected them in hope. The proper understanding of these verses opens volumes of spiritual wisdom.
    KJV Romans 8:20-21
    20. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
    21. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

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