Excerpt for God's Letter To Scattered Believers Through James by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



The Word Of God Library





God’s Letter To Scattered Believers Through James





Copyright 2017 by Roger Henri Trepanier

Smashwords Edition





Copyright 2017 © Roger Henri Trepanier



All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the author. An exception is granted to a reviewer who wishes to quote a brief passage or two as part of a public review of this book.



Scripture taken from

THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.









This book is dedicated to all the believers yet on earth scattered among the nations!





CONTENTS

Introduction

Chapter One : James 1:1-27

Chapter Two : James 2:1-26

Chapter Three : James 3:1-18

Chapter Four : James 4:1-17

Chapter Five : James 5:1-20

Addendum A : The four ages of time

Addendum B : The two comings from Heaven to earth of God’s precious Son, Jesus Christ

Addendum C : For those who may not as yet know God

The Next Book

End Page





INTRODUCTION

This is the fifth book in the series titled, “The Word of God Library.” God is leading His servant to have a few commentaries published which are the result of almost 38 years of study combined with practical experience. And while these commentaries are expository in nature (that is, explained in some detail), they are still intended to be devotional, heartwarming, and as practical as possible, to help believers live out their faith in these last days of the present age. There are also three sections to the Addendum dealing with the four ages of time; the two separate comings from Heaven to earth in time of God’s Son, The Lord Jesus Christ; and also how one may have a personal relationship with God, if there are any readers who do not already have this vital relationship. It is highly recommended that one start with the Addendum before one sets out to read the book.

What should also be mentioned before closing this Introduction is that after completing 21 years of formal education and then spending almost 28 years working in Project Engineering and Management in the Corporate offices of a large utility, God called His servant as a non-denominational evangelist in early 1999, and then sent him out a few thousand miles, away from family and friends, to the place of service God assigned, which is where His servant has been and is still serving Him as evangelist, counselor, author, editor, and publisher. The author is a widower with three adopted children, all now married with a family of their own.

Please note the two websites listed below, which have been established for the purpose of interacting with readers and for gospel ministry:

http://www.pilgrimpathwaypublications.com

http://servantofmosthigh.com

And now my prayer is that God will richly bless you as you read this book, and greatly minister to your every need in your life as only God can! To Him be all praise, honor, and glory, with thanksgiving, forevermore! Amen.





CHAPTER ONE

James 1:1-27

Brief introduction

As we begin, we note that God identifies the person He gave this letter through and the persons for whom this letter was intended, which is evident from what we read at James 1:1, “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.” And as we see here, the writer that God chose to give this letter through is a man named “James” and those the letter was intended for are “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad.” However, one has probably noticed that there are a number of “James” mentioned in God’s word, the Bible. So the first question which faces us is: Which James does God have in view here? Then the second question we will look at is: What does God mean by “the twelve tribes scattered abroad,” who are to be the recipients of this letter? And thirdly, we will answer the question of: What does God mean when He refers to one as “a bond-servant of His?”

Which James is here in view?

But who was this James here in view, since there are a five separate ‘James’ mentioned in God’s word? The first James encountered in God’s word is James, the son of Zebedee, who was the older brother of John, who was also one of the Twelve apostles chosen by God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we see mentioned for instance at Matthew 4:21,22. The second James mentioned in God’s word is James, son of Alphaeus, who was also one of the Twelve apostles, whom we see mentioned at Matthew 10:2-4.

The third James we encounter in God’s word is James, The Lord Jesus Christ’s half-brother – meaning that Mary gave birth to both, with the important distinction being that The Lord Jesus Christ was born first while Mary was still a virgin, which further means that The Lord Jesus Christ’s Father is God; while James, who was born later, had a man named ‘Joseph” as his human father. Let us recall what God tells us in this regard at Matthew 1:18,24,25 in part, “[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together (that is, before they were intimate sexually) she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit… [24] And Joseph… took Mary as his wife, [25] but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” Since all human beings have a sinful nature from the time of Adam and Eve, which is transmitted through the seed of the male through the female to the offsprings, and since God’s Son was sinless, then He HAD to be born into this world through a virgin so as not to incur that sinful nature that all humans have.

That Joseph and Mary later had other children by natural means, after The Lord Jesus Christ had been born supernaturally of God through Mary while she was a virgin is clear from what God tells us at Matthew 13:54-56, “[54] He (Jesus) came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? [55] Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, JAMES and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" “

The fourth James God mentions in His word has a brother named Joseph and his mother is called Mary, being both mentioned at Matthew 27:55,56, where we read, “[55] Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. [56] Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” Some readers may have noticed from Matthew 13:55 above that the woman God chose to give birth to His eternally existing Son into this world was also called Mary and also had sons called James and Joseph, among others. However, the Mary of this fourth James needs to be seen as a different Mary, whenever she is mentioned, since the two sons mentioned were her only sons. If she had more, God would have mentioned them here. Also note Mark 15:40; 16:1; and Luke 24:10, where she is also mentioned.

Then the fifth and last James mentioned in God’s word had a son named Judas (not Iscariot), who was also one of the Twelve apostles of The Lord Jesus Christ, noting what God tells us at Luke 6:16, adding verse 13 for context, “[13] And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: …[16] Judas the son of JAMES, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” Therefore, the question now before us is: Which of these five James is the man that God gave this letter through, which became part of God’s eternally existing word?

Could it be James, the son of Zebedee, the brother of John? This would be a logical choice based on the fact that he was one of the Twelve, plus was part of The Lord Jesus Christ’s inner circle with Peter and John. And God did give several New Testament letters through both Peter and John, who were also part of that inner circle. However, what should be noticed is that this James was martyred at Acts 12:1,2, as being the second believer of the present third age to be so martyred (the first being Stephen, noting Acts 7:59,60). As we will see in a moment, this James was not the believer through whom God gave this letter.

And what we can also say for sure is that the James who wrote down this letter from God was not James, the son of Alphaeus; nor the James whose mother was Mary, with a brother named Joseph; nor the James whose son John was one of the Twelve apostles. And why not? Simply because none of these men were prominent among the believers, since there is a definite pattern established by God that those He gave the letters of the New Testament through were well known among the believers. For when this was the case, then this made it easier for the believers to accept the authenticity of the letters given, and therefore their message as really being from God!

This then leaves only one James, which was The Lord Jesus Christ’s half-brother. It is my conviction, for a number of reasons given here, that he is the believer through whom God gave human beings this letter. Even though this James was not one of the Twelve and likely did not even believe in The Lord Jesus Christ until after His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead (noting John 7:5 with Acts 1:14), he nevertheless was later raised of God to be an elder in the local church at Jerusalem, becoming not only very well known among the believers, but also the only elder of that local church who is often referred to by name in God’s word, noting Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Galatians 1:19; and 2:9,12.

Also, if we look closely at the content of this letter, we note that there are no personal references to The Lord Jesus Christ, or of His teaching. If James, the son of Zebedee, had been its writer, there would likely have been some of The Lord Jesus’ teaching included, as we see for instance in the letters God gave through Peter and John. Additionally, if this letter was primarily intended to encourage the believers of the local church at Jerusalem, who had been scattered due to the persecution against it (as we will see in the next section below), then who better to write to them than one of its elders! As already noted, this letter is practical in nature, which is in line with a shepherd’s ministry to the flock, as one who had been raised of God as an elder to lead them. James, the son of Zebedee, never was an elder of a local church, having died before the eldership of the local churches had even been established. Therefore, we conclude that the believer God chose to give us this letter through was James, The Lord Jesus Christ’s half-brother!

What does God means by “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad”

We have already noted at James 1:1 that God there tells us that this letter was intended for “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad.” The mention of “the twelve tribes” would identify these as being primarily believers of the nation of Israel, which we know from God’s word consisted of twelve tribes (for instance at Genesis 49:28 and also at Matthew 19:28). The word “dispersed” is “Diaspora” in the original Greek in which the New Testament came from God to mankind, including this letter, which word can also be rendered as ‘scattered.’ We are further to see that these believers ended up being scattered among the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations due to the persecution that arose against the local church at Jerusalem at Acts 8:1, after the martyrdom of Stephen at Acts 7. James, The Lord Jesus Christ’s half-brother, who was now a believer and an elder in the local church at Jerusalem, is used of God to write this letter to his scattered flock among the nations after that persecution.

What would be beneficial here before going further is to make a brief note of how far afield from Jerusalem these believers were scattered as those affected by the persecution that arose at Jerusalem. From a practical standpoint, we could say that these likely went far enough to be safe from the Jews in unbelief at Jerusalem, who were persecuting them; yet not too far so as to lose contact with those left behind in Jerusalem, especially the apostles and elders of the local church there. At Acts 8:1, we read that “they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…” Then at Acts 11:19, we are further told that “…those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch…” What this also means then is that since these things are true, this would also make sense for God to send a letter through James, the best known elder of that local church at Jerusalem, as the first to be established, to these scattered believers, which would then also mean that the letter God gave through James would certainly have been one of the first letters written, if not the first.

However, what is critical to grasp here is that while the primary recipients of this letter from God at first were indeed these scattered believers from Jerusalem, who were of the nation of Israel; nevertheless, the content of it, being the word of God, which is eternal in nature, is to be seen as being for believers of all ages of time. In other words, the letter God gave through James is to be seen as being applicable to every believer reading it subsequent to these believers of the first century AD. This means that this letter applies to us today, who are believers alive on earth and reading this.

What God means when He calls one of His own a “bond-servant”

We also note from James 1:1 that God identifies James as “a bond-servant of God and of The Lord Jesus Christ.” This is how every believer yet on earth should be identified by God, for a “bond-servant” is one who is in willing service to God, out of love for Him! This meaning of the term “bond-servant” can be grasped from what God tells us at Deuteronomy 15:12,16,17, “[12] If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free… [16] It shall come about if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; [17] then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant.” And so, a bond-servant is one who is in willing service to God out of love for Him!

We further note from James 1;1 that both God The Father and The Lord Jesus Christ are mentioned to focus us on the truth that God is our Father by virtue of our spiritual birth into His family, which is wholly a work of God’s grace (noting Ephesians 2:8-10); and also to focus us on the truth that The Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of every believer by virtue of His death, burial, resurrection, and subsequent ascension and glorification on our behalf, noting what God tells us at Romans 14:9, “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Before time ends, this will be apparent to every creature ever created by God, noting for instance what we are told at Philippians 2:8-11, “[8] Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [9] For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

God addresses the believer’s need to patiently endure, even when facing various trials

So after dealing briefly about mostly introductory matters, we see God then lead James to address these believers’ greatest need, which was how to patiently endure, or persevere, in the face of various trials they were facing. Since these believers had been scattered due to a violent persecution, having left behind their property and possessions, it is easy to understand that they would indeed be facing many trials. And so we read what God further tells them and us at James 1:2-5, “[2] Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, [3] knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. [4] And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. [5] But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

The first thing we need to note here is that what God now says through James makes no sense at all from a purely human perspective, for our first reaction when facing any trial is how to get out of it as fast as we can! What God says here only starts to make sense to us as believers when we consider the goal that God is seeking to accomplish through the various trials we encounter in our lives while yet on earth, which is “so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” In other words, what God is aiming for is to have us as spiritually mature children of His on earth! While we were under our parent’s roof, they sought to make us into physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially mature persons, who would go out into the world and make them proud. However, once we enter God’s family at salvation, He ever works from that moment on to bring us to spiritual maturity. And one of the ways by which God does that is to allow us to face various trials in life. This further means that God is in full control of ANY trial we might face as His children yet on earth!

When seen from that perspective then, trials are not something to avoid, but rather, as God says here, “Consider it all joy… when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” It is when we realize that every trial we encounter as believers is allowed of God, and is a testing of our faith in Him, that we can consider them “all joy.” God is not trying to have us face a hard time needlessly, but rather because He knows, through His having all knowledge and being all wise, that trials are the best way to bring us to spiritual maturity.

As believers, we have a choice – to allow God to lead us on the road that He knows is best for us out of love for us as His children, or to look at trials as something to avoid, and at the same time forfeiting the opportunity to mature spiritually. What also needs to be grasped here, since trials are allowed of God as a “testing of our faith,” is that we must learn this or else we will show ourselves as not having saving faith. In other words, God’s children will go on to spiritual maturity eventually, or else they show themselves as without faith, that is, without trust or belief in God, and therefore are not God’s children at all.

It is also best to look at the word “trial” here as an adversity, not as something which we would choose for ourselves, but rather as something that comes across our path as allowed of God, which is always for our good! In other words, if we are seeking to walk with God with no known unconfessed sins in our lives, seeking only to carry out His will, then we can be assured that God will not allow anything to touch our lives except what is in line with His will and purpose for our lives, which is only and always for our good! Since these trials are from God's Hand, as part of a Sovereign work of His Providence in the accomplishment of His will for our lives, therefore the word "trials" is the correct rendering here, and not ’temptations," as some Bible translations render this, for the simple reason that trials always come from the Hand of God, but never temptations, as we will further see at James 1:13.

So what enables us as believers to face trials with “all joy” is knowing what has just been said about the trials, namely that they are under God’s Sovereign control, so that instead of being a burden to us they can be a blessing, knowing that God is at work in our lives bringing us to spiritual maturity, which in reality is conforming us to the image of His own dear Son in human flesh, The Lord Jesus Christ, noting what God tells us for instance at Hebrews 12:1-3 in part, “[1] Therefore… let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy (same word as James 1:2) set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

God further encourages believers at James 1:5 with a promise, when He says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” And again, this may not have much meaning for us until we realize what God means by the word “wisdom,” which is “Sophia” in the original and refers to seeing our life situation, and in particular our trials, from God’s perspective, so that we may be able to go through them with joy instead of chaffing at the bit while trying to get out of them! So if we are not seeing our trials so as to consider them joy, we are to ask God to give us His perspective so that we may see them as He sees them, as being for our good. And God’s promise here to all believers is that when we do this, then He will give to us as believers that godly perspective, “generously and without reproach.” In other words, He will not chastise us for asking this of Him, for He knows that we do not see all things as clearly as He does, since we are but created beings with very limited knowledge, while God has all knowledge at His grasp. Besides, these trials come from His Hand to start with, so Who better to ask about them than God Himself!

God introduces us to a very important principle for whenever we come to Him as believers

God continues through James and adds a very important principle that all believers need to be aware of at James 1:6-8, “[6] But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. [7] For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, [8] being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” God leaves the matter of trials for the moment, having said all He needs to say in this regard through James, and now picks up on the truth that when we come to Him to ask Him something, then that always needs to be “in faith.” What God means here is that He knows that He is invincible to us, in that we cannot see Him. He also knows that we entered into a personal relationship with Him at salvation based on our believing the gospel (that is, the good news) that He gave relating to His precious Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, noting 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In other words, our relationship with Him began by faith, that is, in our simply believing Him, that what He says in His word is true. And so, that is why God says at Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Therefore, that is why God says here at James 1:6 that when we come to Him to ask, such as asking Him for wisdom in regards to the trials we face as believers, we must do so “without any doubting,” with God then giving an example from nature of what one is like to Him who doubts, “for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” In other word, faith is like an anchor that secures us with God, so that we are not tossed here and there like a wave being tossed and turned by the wind. Faith grounds us in God. What should be our motto is this: ‘God said it; I believe it, that settles it.’

That is why God goes on and says at James 1:7,8 that anyone who doubts should not expect to receive anything from Him, since that person is “double-minded,” in the sense of being unsure by being of two minds, in terms of asking oneself, ‘will He or will He not?’ What this means then is that doubt never pleases God, only faith does! For faith believes that God is and is a rewarder of all who come to Him, while doubt is the wet blanket that puts out the fire of one’s faith! Again, faith grounds us in God, while doubt leaves us unstable in all our ways. God will return to deal with this subject of faith in quite some detail at James 2:14-26, here only mentioning it in passing, since He had just touched upon the subject of coming to Him to ask for wisdom at James 1:5.

God wants believers to persevere while under their trials, for that shows that one is a true believer and that one loves Him!

In God having left the subject of trials for a moment, in order to deal with the principle of faith in one approaching Him, He now returns to the subject of trials in what He now goes on to say at James 1:9-12, “[9] But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; [10] and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. [11] For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. [12] Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

At first glance here, it may not appear that God is still dealing with trials when He starts talking about “the brother of humble circumstances,” who is to be seen as a believer; in contrast to “the rich man,” who is to be seen as representing the unbelievers of this world. For what we are to grasp here is that if we are believers then that means that we know God, are part of His family, and seek to carry out His will while on earth. In God’s sight, that is the believer’s “high position.” In contrast to this, unbelievers do not know God, are not part of His family, and while on earth seek to carry out their own wills, not caring a whit about God and His interests, which is why God says here that “the rich man (that is, the unbeliever) is to glory in his humiliation.”

That is also why God goes on at James 1:10,11 and uses an example from nature to describe just how transient the situation of a “rich man” of this world really is, as representing unbelievers, who in their own eyes think that they are rich, since in their own minds they think they have no need of God. So God says that unbelievers of this world are like a flower of the grass that is here one day and gone the next, due the sun and the scorching wind making its existence in this world but a brief period of time. And so, like the flower of the grass, unbelievers, in the midst of pursuing their own interests, will soon “fade away,” in terms of no longer being here on earth, with no one missing them, since no one really cries over grass that is here one day and then gone tomorrow! Let us keep in mind that God will return again and use the picture of the “rich man” to represent unbelievers here in this letter, doing so again at James 2:6 and at James 5:1-6.

On the other hand, God goes on at James 1:12 and says that this is not the case with believers, who are those who persevere under trials, who when they have reached that spiritual maturity that God is leading them to, then they “will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” In other words, believers are those who trust God and so submit to His will when faced with trials, going through them with endurance, so that they keep passing the test of God with each new trial, so that they show that they really do love God. This is in contrast to unbelievers, who in seeking to carry out their own will show that they love self more than God, so that what they gain in the end is to be cast away from God’s Presence forever, just like the flower that is here today and then gone forever, never coming to mind again.

The word “crown” here at James 1:12 is “Stephanos” in the original and speaks of what believers receive from God as a reward for faithful service to God while on earth. When God says that believers have “been approved,” He is referring to the end toward which He is seeking to accomplish in the life of each believer on earth - who by the way are His own children – by allowing the trials, which end He referred to back at James 1:4, in the words, “so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” being now spiritually mature in God’s sight. God further speaks of that end toward which He is working in the lives of each believer on earth, when He says at 1 Peter 5:10, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

And so, when God speaks of “the crown of life” that He promises for those believers who reach spiritual maturity under God’s guiding Hand and at His pace (noting Hebrews 6:1,3), we are to see that the “life” here speaks of eternal life that all believers have from the moment of one’s salvation and on for all eternity, with the “crown” being an addition and a reward for those who have shown love for God by humbling themselves under God’s Omnipotent and Sovereign Hand, trusting Him moment by moment, seeking His wisdom under those trials, so as to receive His perspective and His grace to carry on. We are to also note that this “crown” will not be physical in nature, since once we are with God, we will be spiritual beings as He is (noting John 4:24 with 1 Corinthians 15:42-44), so that all in Heaven, as God’s eternal abode, is spiritual, angels themselves being spirit beings when first created and forever.

The only other place that God mentions this term “crown of life” in His word is at Revelation 2:10, where He there says to believers suffering afflictions during the course of the early church, when facing the trials of persecution, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Even though God uses the same term “crown of life” there, we are to realize that the term is not used in exactly the same way in both instances. In James, that “crown of life” is available to all believers as God’s children, while at Revelation 2:10, that “crown of life” was available only to certain believers at a certain point in the history of the church, which resulted in many of them being put to death for the faith, which cannot be said in regards to believers here in James, who are merely called by God to “consider it all joy… when you encounter various trials” (verse 1:2).

And just as there are many different kinds of crowns in the physical realm, so that one crown differs from other crowns, so too in the spiritual realm. For instance, at 2 Timothy 4:8, God speaks through the apostle Paul of the “crown of righteousness,” adding verse 7 for context, “[7] I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; [8] in the future there is laid up for me the crown (Stephanos) of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Then at 1 Peter 5:4, God speaks of the “crown of glory” in these words, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown (Stephanos) of glory,” which is there promised to elders of the local churches who serve God faithfully after being raised of Him for leadership. In each of these examples here, we have different spiritual crowns in view that only God knows what they will eventually look like when we are with Him.

God introduces believers to the truth that He never tempts anyone, only the devil does!

God then continues through James and goes on to add some very important truths at James 1:13-18 that all believers need to know and ever remember, when He says, “[13] Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. [14] But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. [15] Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. [16] Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. [17] Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. [18] In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

There are two very important truths that God wants to convey to believers here at verse 1:13, which are that “God cannot be tempted by evil” and that “God… does not tempt anyone.” And before we look at these two truths, and in order not to go astray in our thinking, we need to understand what God means by the words “tempted,” “tempt,” and “evil.” The words “tempted,” mentioned four times here in these verses, and the word “tempt,” mentioned once, are all the same word in the original Greek, that being “Peirazo,” which words need to be seen as referring to the temptation to sin as human beings. God knows all human beings have a sinful nature inherited from our original human father, Adam, which has been passed down through the generations through the male seed to the females and to every offspring coming into the world. And since God also knows that everything that comes out of that sinful nature is sin in His sight, this means that God never appeals to that sinful nature that we have as human beings, for He knows that whenever we act from it, we sin, and that is not something that God wants human beings to do, especially believers.

Then as to the word “evil” at verse 1:13, we are to see that it is “Kakos” in the original, which has reference to an ‘evil thing,’ not an ‘evil person,’ with that ‘evil thing’ here being that sinful nature within us as human beings. So when God says that He “cannot be tempted by evil,” He is making reference to the fact that unlike us, He does not have a sinful nature, which means that He is ever impeccable, that is, unable to sin! That is why God’s eternally existing Son, Christ, took on the human body prepared for Him in the womb of the virgin (Hebrews 10:5), for then God’s Son would not be incurring the sinful nature that is passed on from Adam, not having been conceived by a human father, but by God His Father. And so, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, remained sinless during the whole of His earthly life so as He could die as our Substitute at the cross, paying there the penalty due our sins, so as to provide His Father with a basis for forgiving the sins of every person who believes in Him.

And so, we need to guard against thinking that “evil” at James 1:13 means the evil one, that is, the devil, for then that would contradict what God says elsewhere in His word, such as what we read of God’s Son at Matthew 4:1-3, “[1] Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Peirazo) by the devil. [2] And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. [3] And the tempter (Peirazo, as the one who is the source of all temptations to sin) came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." “So we see here that although God’s Son experienced in our humanity the same temptations to sin that all human beings face from the devil, yet because He had no sinful nature, this means there was nothing in Him to respond to those temptations of the devil to sin.

And the reason that God’s Son did experience those temptations was so He might “sympathize with our weaknesses” as human beings who are saddled for life here with that sinful nature, as God makes known to us at Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted (Peirazo) in all things as we are, yet without sin.” As we continue, we will see here that every temptation to sin has its ultimate source in the devil, who knows that all human beings have that sinful nature, and he knows that if he can get believers to act out of it, then he knows that believers will have sinned against God and so will be led astray from one’s walk with Him, until such time as that sin is confessed to God (noting 1 John 1:9).

Then what God does at James 1:14,15 is go into detail on how our sinful nature operates in human beings, both believers and unbelievers alike, for we are all saddled with the same sinful nature from the time of the age of accountability onward - with the age of accountability being defined as the age known only to God when as a young child we are given the choice between right and wrong for the first time, and when choosing the wrong, which all human beings do, we sin, thereby becoming personally accountable to God for that sin. And so God says at verses 1:14,15, “[14] But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. [15] Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

The important word that we need to understand the meaning of here is the word “lust,” repeated twice. That word “lust” is “Epithumia” in the original and refers to desires which are evil, and so, sinful. And since it is the comprehensive term relating to lusts, then that means that it takes in all the evil desires that may come up. Then relating this to what God says here at James 1:14, we are to see that we are tempted to sin when we are carried away and enticed by our own evil desires, which reside in our sinful nature as human beings. The word “enticed” here is “Deleazo” in the original, which has the idea of luring. Here the word is used metaphorically, that is, the application of a name or descriptive term to an object to which it is not literally applicable.

When God says at verse 1:15 that “when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin,” He is indicating that the temptation to sin is not a sin of itself, but rather, it is only when we give in to the temptation that it is a sin. Then when God adds, “and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death,” He is there indicating that once the temptation to sin has been given in to by a human being, so that one has now acted out of one’s sinful nature, and therefore one has sinned; then one has forfeited the life of God that was being imparted by God for the believer to live by at that point, which is always through The Holy Spirit in one’s spirit, before one actually sinned. The word “death” here is not speaking of physical death, but rather of loss of spiritual life with God, until such time as the sin committed has been confessed to God (1 John 1:9), with fellowship with God being then restored.


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