The Origin of Temptation

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matt. 6:13)

The Origin of Temptation

    The very first recorded temptation of man is found in Genesis 3. Here we see the source of temptation and its object. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1) The origin of temptation is the serpent, who is the Devil (Rev. 20:2). He is the tempter of man. God does not tempt a person.

James instructs us “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” (Jas. 1:13). Therefore it is clear that God is not the tempter of any person. It is the Devil who entices man to do evil. His goal is to destroy humankind (Jn. 10:10). Sometimes folks say that God is tempting them. This is not true. God never tempts us to do evil. We must be careful never to attribute the Devil’s works to God.

This does not mean that God may not lead us into temptation. He may lead us there but it is the Devil who does the tempting. He led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4:1).  But notice, the Devil did the tempting, not God. Jesus was successful against all the temptations of the Devil. The best policy for us is to pray that God does not lead us into temptation (Matt. 6:13). The spiritual life is serious business. We must give it the due care it requires. Prayerlessness is probably the first step toward carelessness in spiritual things. “…men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luk 18:1).  Pray that you and others are not led into temptation. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture is from the New King James Version.

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