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).