|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:12-18 It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts. Every soul that truly loves God, shall have its trials in this world fully recompensed in that world above, where love is made perfect. The commands of God, and the dealings of his providence, try men's hearts, and show the dispositions which prevail in them. But nothing sinful in the heart or conduct can be ascribed to God. He is not the author of the dross, though his fiery trial exposes it. Those who lay the blame of sin, either upon their constitution, or upon their condition in the world, or pretend they cannot keep from sinning, wrong God as if he were the author of sin. Afflictions, as sent by God, are designed to draw out our graces, but not our corruptions. The origin of evil and temptation is in our own hearts. Stop the beginnings of sin, or all the evils that follow must be wholly charged upon us. God has no pleasure in the death of men, as he has no hand in their sin; but both sin and misery are owing to themselves. As the sun is the same in nature and influences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between, make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and our changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in him. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, so particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy consequences come from him. A true Christian becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. We should devote all our faculties to God's service, that we may be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.
Verse 14 states the true origin of temptation. While the occasion might be of God "in the order of his providence and of our spiritual training," the inclination is not of him. Compare with this verse the description of the harlot in Proverbs 7:6-27. Here lust is personified, and represented as a seducing harlot, to whose embraces man yields, and the result is the birth of sin, which in its turn gives birth to death.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But every man is tempted,.... To sin, and he falls in with the temptation, and by it,
when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed; the metaphor is taken either from fishes, who are enticed by the bait, and drawn out by the hook; or from a lascivious woman, who meeting with a young man, entices him, and draws him away after her to commit iniquity with her: by "lust" is meant the principle of corrupt nature, which has its residence in the heart of man; is natural and hereditary to him, and therefore is called his own; he is conceived and shapen in it; he brings it into the world with him, and it continues in him, and is called his own heart's lust, Romans 1:24. Now this meeting with some bait, which entices and draws it out, or with some external object, which promises pleasure or profit, a man is allured, and ensnared, and drawn away by it, and so the temptation begins: thus, for instance, covetousness was the predominant lust in Judas; this meeting with an external object, or objects, which promised him profit, he is at once enticed and drawn away to betray his Lord and master for the sake of it: so sin often promises pleasure, though it is but an imaginary, and a short lived one; which takes with a man's own lust, and corruption within him, and so he is allured and drawn aside; and to this, and not to God, should he attribute temptation to sin.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. Every man, when tempted, is so through being drawn away of (again here, as in Jas 1:13, the Greek for "of" expresses the actual source, rather than the agent of temptation) his own lust. The cause of sin is in ourselves. Even Satan's suggestions do not endanger us before they are made our own. Each one has his own peculiar (so the Greek) lust, arising from his own temperament and habit. Lust flows from the original birth-sin in man, inherited from Adam.
drawn away—the beginning step in temptation: drawn away from truth and virtue.
enticed—literally, "taken with a bait," as fish are. The further progress: the man allowing himself (as the Greek middle voice implies) to be enticed to evil [Bengel]. "Lust" is here personified as the harlot that allures the man.
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