We need only quote one verse of Scripture to answer this question. Let’s read James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (NKJV). God is absolutely HOLY and He would NEVER tempt anyone to sin. In a moment we will consider the fact that God does TEST men, but He tests man’s faith and thus they have NOTHING to do with tempting men to sin.

Let’s read on in James 1:14-15, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, bring forth death.” The temptation to commit sin COMES FROM WITHIN US; that is, from the sinful, fallen human nature that we were all born with. David said in Psalm 51:4, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” David was confessing the fact that he was BORN A SINNER, for he realized that he INHERITED A SINFUL NATURE from his parents. This started with Adam and Eve, for when they ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:1-8) they became sinners and this sin has been passed on to all men ever since. In Romans 5:12 and 19 we read, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned….by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” In the case of the first sin Satan tempted man to sin by using the tree of the forbidden fruit to entice them. This led to the sinful desire to eat the fruit, which in turn led to the actual sin of eating the fruit. Satan has been alluring men and women ever since by putting before them some object to entice them to sin. Perhaps the most well-known example in the Bible is the story of David and Bathsheba in 2nd Samuel 11:1-5 where Satan used a beautiful woman to tempt David to sin. We know David succumbed to that temptation and thus “his desire conceived and gave birth to sin.” The verse quoted earlier from Psalm 51:4 was part of David’s prayer of repentance after committing adultery with Bathsheba, for he acknowledged before God that it was his own sinful heart that was the root cause of his sin. Of course Satan was involved in the temptation but David himself gave in to the temptation by allowing LUST to form in his heart.

We said that God does test man, but when He does, it is NOT to entice him to sin, but rather to prove the reality of his faith in God. We read of this in James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” One of the greatest examples of this is in the book of Job, where we see God testing Job’s faith by allowing him to lose all of his possessions, his children, and even his health. Through it all Job’s faith was strong, so much so that he could say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” In short, Job was saying, “Even if my afflictions result in my death, I will go on trusting in God.”

Another striking example is when God tested Abraham in Genesis 22:1-2, “Now it came to pass after these things that God TESTED ABRAHAM, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you’.” This was, no doubt, the greatest test in Abraham’s life. Did he pass the test? He surely did, for we read in verse 3, “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt-offering, and arose and went to the place of which God told him.” He obeyed God immediately! In verses 4-10 we have a detailed account of Abraham preparing to offer his son in obedience to God’s word. We know that God stopped Abraham before he actually slayed his son, for we read in verse 12, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Like Job, Abraham’s faith in God was proven to be genuine and it also served as a testimony to others that a living faith will indeed produce works that glorify God (see James 2:14-24). When men see our faith on display they will be able to declare, “Now there is a righteous man/woman!” This brings glory to God and is a beautiful testimony to the sinner who needs to be saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (239.1) (DO)