Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:…
The word here translated "lust" might be more aptly rendered concupiscence, that fleshly principle which seems to have been engendered in the hearts of our first parents at the instant of committing the primal sin; and which is the root of all that is sinful and irregular in our thoughts, words, and actions. The seeds of sin are lodged in the bosom of every infant, and naturally grow up to death. And even those in whom the counteracting principle of Divine grace has done its work most thoroughly are yet made painfully sensible, from time to time, that the flesh, or natural corruption, so "lusteth against the Spirit," that if they do not yield to its wicked solicitations, they are nevertheless greatly hindered from doing the good they would in the manner they would. Thoughts and wishes that savour of original depravity force their way into our minds, and would fain take possession of our will, before we are almost aware. But observe, it is not the first incursion of such thoughts and wishes that makes us actual sinners, though it proves our sinful nature. Evil desire does not conceive, does not become the mother of sin, until married to the will. The wicked inclination has become a fixed purpose; the fixed purpose has been consummated; and now it only remains for retribution to follow. And that retribution is set forth, by a similar figure to what was used before, as the child of sin. Sin being "finished," being ripe and strong and active, and perhaps having signalised itself by many appropriate feats, becomes the parent of death. It fixes a deadly sting in the conscience; is frequently the cause of a premature and violent death among men; and hands over its wretched victim to eternal death by God's righteous judgment. We go for our first example to Eve, the mother of mankind. Concupiscence has now conceived sin; and sin is not long in coming to the birth. And, oh, how quickly does sin produce death! The dissolution of soul and body indeed is somewhat delayed by Divine compassion. But shame has come; for Adam and his wife see themselves to be naked, and gird fig-leaves about their loins. Fear has come; for they dare not meet the Almighty, as aforetime, but slink away, and try to hide themselves. Disease is come; for the principles of decay are even now at work in them, and they have already set out on their journey to the grave. Go on to Cain, and see how another form of concupiscence proceeds. In his case it is envy. A deadly malice is conceived; and so, when some occasion presents itself — a very small one would suffice — to set the bad passion in a flame, he brings forth the sin that has long been breeding within him, and sheds a brother's blood. Wretched man I that innocent blood is not wholly drunk up by the ground. It has gone up to heaven, and cried for vengeance. It is sprinkled on the murderer's conscience; and henceforth Cain's life is a living death. Then Ahab, what a striking instance does he present of the effect of covetousness being nourished instead of stifled. I must allude to one other form of natural corruption — I mean, impure desire. Of the sins and calamities that grow out of this headlong appetite, when it is not held in by the strongest moral and religious curbs, David has furnished a mournful example in his own person. Oh, what would he not have given, when the Law poured a stream of fiery wrath into his conscience, and incest and murder became the furies of his house, what would he not then have given to undo what he had done!
(J. N. Pearson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: