Tuesday 12 November 2013

Bible Book:

“No one, when tempted, should say ‘I am being tempted by God” (v. 13)

James 1:12-18 Tuesday 12 November 2013


James returns to his earlier theme of trials and temptations(verses 2-4). For those who face them with endurance, there is apromised blessing, and the ultimate reward of "the crown of life"(v. 12). This could be a reference to a victorious athlete's crownof laurel leaves (see 1Corinthians 9:25), or to a royal crown. Either way it is asymbol of glory and honour, and the phrase occurs again in Revelation 2:10 to encourage Christians facingmartyrdom. James looks forward, beyond the difficulties of thepresent times to the heavenly glory awaiting God's faithfulpeople.

Without specifying what he means by temptation, James emphasisesthat God cannot be blamed for sending it. To do so would be a goodreason for not resisting it, for who could resist God? Rather(verse 14) temptation comes from within. This echoes the teachingof the Jewish rabbis of the time, who spoke of an 'evilinclination' in every person. In a discussion about what was cleanand unclean in the sight of religious people, Jesus spoke of allthat defiles coming from within the human heart (Mark7:21-23). If not resisted, these inclinations can lead to sin,which ultimately has a deadly effect (verse 15).

Having stressed that God does not send temptation, James goes onto emphasise what does come from God. In short, God is the generousgiver of everything that is good. He uses the unusual phrase"Father of lights" (v. 17) which probably refers to the heavenlybodies - sun, moon and stars. Describing God as Father emphasisesGod's creative power, rather than any Trinitarian ideas.

Finally in this passage, James speaks of new life through God'sword of truth. Having emphasised that God does not send temptationto people and affirming his goodness in creation, in verse 18 Jamesdescribes believers as "first fruits" looking to the future and theintention of God to ultimately redeem all creation.

To Ponder

  • How do you react to the statement that temptation comes fromwithin us? Can you think of external sources of temptation forwhich we are not responsible? If so, what are they?
  • If we affirm that God's purposes for us are all good, how do weanswer those who suggest that God is responsible for suffering inthe world? 
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