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 any one (James 1:13).
Where does temptation come from?
Apparently, James knew believers who thought it came from God.
Some Christians still think that today, because of how they understand God’s “sovereignty.” God is only sovereign, they say, if He unilaterally controls and determines all things.
For example, the Westminster Confession of Faith declares,
God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass (WCF 3.1).
If God ordained everything that comes to pass, and temptations come to pass, then God must ordain temptations. That’s simple logic, right? In other words, according to this theology, when you are tempted, you are ultimately being tempted by God.
Is that true?
Not at all, says James, “He Himself does not tempt anyone.”
The truth is, as James clarifies, God is the source of all good, not all evil:
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 (James 1:17).
A Biblical view of sovereignty understands that God is not the source of everything, but of every good thing.
There are forces in creation that are rebelling against God, and those are the sources of temptation, evil, and sin.
That’s important to know because if you thought temptation ultimately came from God, you might use that as an excuse not to fight against it as hard.
But temptation is not from God.
It’s from the enemy.
Don’t give in to it! Fight!