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Read Introduction to James


“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”


for God cannot be tempted by evil,

God is incapable of being tempted by anything or anyone. He cannot be tempted because He is absolute in His nature. Sin does not appeal to anything in the capacity of God. He has no vulnerability to sin.

Genesis 22:1 says that God tempted Abraham, but the tempting there is proving rather than tempting. On another occasion the Israelites tempted God at Meribah by their unbelief. They tried his patience but they did not solicit Him to evil.

We cannot indict God for anything. Since God is absolutely free from the power of being solicited to evil, this precludes the possibility of Him tempting others.

nor does He Himself tempt anyone

God does not directly tempt anyone, but He does allow us to be tempted. It would be evil for an absolute God to solicit people to sin. God cannot champion for others what is adverse to His character.

2 Samuel 2:1 appears to contradict the idea that God does not tempt anyone. However, the parallel passage, 1 Chronicles 21:1, says that Satan did it. The idea is that God allowed Satan to tempt David.

“Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah’” (2 Samuel 24:1).

”Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1).


It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to yield to temptation.


No one can avoid temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted. The Devil tempted the Lord Himself (Matthew 4:1). It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to yield to temptation. We cannot keep the birds from flying around our heads, but we can keep them from making a nest in our hair!