“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” (James 1:13, AV)
I had to confront a man one time who left his wife and moved in with the girl next door. I spoke with the man to tell him that he was off the mark with God. That the Bible strictly forbid the actions the man had taken and that he needed to confess his sin and repent. The man’s response was a shock. He stated that God wanted him to be happy and that living with the girl next door made him happy. In essence, he was telling me that God not only condoned such an action, but by his reasoning encouraged him to take such a sinful action. The man left the church and chose to live like an unbeliever.
No true believer could legitimately blame God for his own sinful choices. This is exactly the point that James is making here. God is not the cause of our sin and He would never cause us to sin for it is completely outside of the essence of His being to do so. We first must understand that God is infinitely holy. John wrote “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5, AV). This metaphor refers to light as the epitome of holiness and darkness as its anthesis, sin. There is not one hint of sin in God. Repeatedly the Scriptures record the title of God as the “Holy One.” He is completely separated from sin and perfectly holy.
Moreover, consider the words of Habakkuk speaking of the Holy One. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13, AV). The writer of Proverbs indicates that “The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness” (Proverbs 15:9, AV). God hates sin and He is so pure that He does not even want to look at it. God would never do anything to cause one to do that which He hates.
Some might be shocked to know that God even hates those who do evil. These are not my words, look at the Psalms. “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5, AV). “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Psalm 11:5, AV). It would be totally out of character for God to tempt man whom He created to do that which He hates.
The point of all this is to show that God is holy and that He would never and will never tempt anyone to sin. James in the subsequent verses shows the mechanics of how temptation and sin does work. (This will be in the next devotion.)
You see, God loves the world so much and hates sin so much that He sent His only begotten Son to rescue men and women from the thing He hates. The price was infinitely high to make this recue happen. Jesus, had to endure the cross. He had to pay the penalty of the sin of the multitudes to appease the anger of God towards sin. On the cross, God’s infinite love and His infinite justice met and because of this, we who believe have been justified, saved from sin and its penalty. Rejoice in the mercy and grace of God toward us.