God Tempts Man

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Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative

Abraham and Isaac

In contrast to Satan who tempts all human beings, God tempts only Believers; does your desire for Me suffice for obedience to My word? When Abraham's obedience is tested, he is faced with temptation of disobeying God's word to save His son (Gen 22:1-14). Abraham had to weigh the love for God against the love for his son and make a choice.

The choice tests whether you will obey, and it is in this light that God does not tempt a Believer to sin (Jas 1:13). And note that God did not allow Abraham to commit the act of murder and provided the appropriate sacrifice for the offering.

When Satan tempts, the temptation is based on deceit or distortion of God's word, to deceive you into thinking that it is perfectly fine to express your natural desires. Without a good grasp of God's word to guide one's desires, all choices lead to sin.

In the Old Testament, there was a sense that when God tempted the nation of Israel, He was evaluating their commitment: are you reliable in keeping your side of the covenant?

All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin." So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. (Ex 20:18-21)

God even allowed His people to be exposed to false prophets to test if His covenant people desired to love Him "with all their heart and all their soul." Can His people discern a false prophet by evaluating the prophet's words against God's word?

"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut 13:1-4)

The best outcome of temptation is having one's faith approved by God (2 Tim 2:15). The accurate handling of God's word cannot be understated. It must be emphasized that when God tempts / tests His people, He is testing whether your desire for Him is sufficient for obedience.

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. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. (1 Cor 10:13-14)

Paul indicates that obedience to God's word is how God provides the means to escape temptation, because it is the only means of changing your mind about the morality of your desires. In fleeing idolatry, the desire and worship of things other than God, one escapes temptation. James says the same thing adding that God does not tempt you to express evil desires (Jam 1:14-15).

God desires that you be holy as He is holy; however, the commission of sin can only be avoided if one believes that He really exists, places a trust in His word, and desires and behaves accordingly.

To learn more, see:

Divine Influence

Series: The Doctrine on Hamartiology
Man Tempts God

Series: The Doctrine on Hamartiology
Common Questions

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