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Read Introduction to James

 

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed”
 
Rather than blaming God for our sin (v.13), we must face the fact that sin comes from self (v.14).
But each one is tempted
Temptation comes from the self, not God. Temptation comes when we allow our lusts to lead and entice us. There is no temptation without something within that is a catalyst for it.
“But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:17-25).
The Greek tense of the words “is tempted” refers to repeated temptations. There is no final victory over sin until we meet the Savior face to face.
Temptation comes from a duo of sources:
1) from something within and
2) from something without.
Temptation is both internal and external. When temptation comes from within, it is lust; when temptation comes from without, it is lure.
“Each one” indicates the universality of temptation. No one is immune and there are no exceptions.
when he is drawn away
First, temptation comes from within – “drawn away by his own desires.” We would not succumb to temptation if there were no desire or capacity for the temptation. Inner desires propel us into sin. God did not put our sin capacity out of commission when we became Christians. That will happen when we meet the Savior face to face.
Jesus judicially defeated it on the cross but He will wipe it out of existence when we meet Him in Heaven.
The words “drawn away” mean to lure away, to pull out, to drag. Secular Greek used this word for animals lured into traps. The idea is to be lured away from a standard by lust. Temptation traps us by our own desire.
by his own desires
The word “by” in the Greek conveys the true source (agent) of our sin. The cause of sin lies in our own breast – from our sin capacity. As a seductive woman allures a man (or vice versa), so our sin capacity allures us from loving God and keeping a close relationship to Him. Our desires capture us and imprison us in them.
The word “own” indicates that the nature of a lust pattern for each individual is different. One individual’s lust is another person’s aversion. Some of us would never be tempted to homosexuality because it is so repulsive to us yet others face this as a real temptation.
The word “desires” refers to strong lust to get something. Temptation primarily comes from a traitor within, not Satan or circumstances. “I have met the enemy and it is me.”
Principle:
Sin begins in the heart.
Application:
Sin begins in the heart. The true source of temptation is in the self – our sin capacity. Everyone, non-Christian and Christian, has a capacity, a proclivity toward evil. We can trace all acts of sin back to our sin capacity.
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?” ( Jeremiah 17: 9)
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
There is a depravity within that will drag us down if we let it. If we let it loose, we will develop compulsions that will gain even further control over us. Sin is always attractive, pleasurable and powerful. It deceives us because we always pay a price for sin.
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