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:…
I. In support of the first, or negative part of the proposition — THAT GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF SIN OR TEMPTATION., I confine myself entirely to the argument suggested by the text, "God cannot be tempted with evil." There must be a certain analogy, or congenial resemblance, between every cause and its effect. We cannot find in the effect any attribute or quality which was not first inherent in the cause by which it was produced. How then can evil, moral evil, flow from the Divine nature, from which it is not only excluded, but to which it is directly opposite and contradictory?
II. In the text, TEMPTATIONS ARE POSITIVELY ASCRIBED TO THE LUSTS OF MEN; and therefore the guilt and misery arising from them must centre entirely in the person of the offender. Reflect upon that fatal hour when temptation assailed, and at last prevailed against you. What did you then feel? Why did you hesitate for a moment about gratifying the favourite passion? Did not another principle within you suggest danger, and hold you in suspense? Was not every concession to the tempting object extorted against the most earnest remonstrances, and the most awful forebodings of conscience? Lessons:
1. The doctrine, now illustrated, affords the strongest consolation and encouragement under the manifold dangers and trials to which we are exposed in the present state of probation and discipline. God tempts no man to sin. Omnipotent power and goodness are ever ready to interpose in the defence of struggling virtue.
2. From the doctrine of the text we may discern not only the weakness and folly, but the arrogance and impiety of those subterfuges and apologies to which sinners have recourse in order to extenuate or cancel their personal guilt.
3. Let us abhor every sentiment and expression tending so much as to insinuate that God is the author of temptation. Some errors may be set on foot while yet no more than the outworks of religion are attacked. But whatever misrepresents the perfections and moral government of God is immediately levelled against the foundation which supports the whole fabric of our faith.
(T. Somerville, D. D.)
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: