James 1:13 – God Cannot Be Tempted

By Wayne Jackson

The Bible is a document that reveals the majestic nature of the Creator. And James has somewhat to say about the nature of God. For instance, he affirms the absolute holiness of God when he declares that “God cannot be tempted with evil” (1:13).

This is reminiscent of Habakkuk’s statement that Jehovah is of purer eyes than to look upon sin (1:13). Unlike the false gods of paganism, God is not enticed by evil. The Lord is perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8).

But this question is bound to be raised by some. “Is God a being of volition, i.e., does He have the power of choice?”

The answer, of course, is yes.

“Well, then, could He choose to do evil?”

The answer to that is no.

“Why not?”

Because God is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16; cf. Romans 11:33), and He knows, therefore, that sin would violate His own divine nature. Moreover, He intimately knows the devastation that accompanies transgression.

Perhaps this is the key to understanding the fact that in our final, heavenly state we will not sin. We will not want to. Why not? Because we will then have a knowledge of right and wrong that wonderfully surpasses anything we now enjoy.

Mark the phrase “God cannot be tempted,” and perhaps make this notation: Perfect holiness and perfect knowledge exclude sin.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.