The Explanation of Sin part 2
Topic: Sin Verse: James 1:13–1:15
“The Explanation for Sin”
Theme: Sinners have no one to blame when they sin … except themselves.
I. The Excuses in Temptation - v. 13
A. The Propensity of Blaming Others - “Let no one say when he is tempted …”
- Since the beginning of man’s experience with sin, there have been excuses given and blame shifted in an effort to avoid culpability.
- when God came to confront Adam with his sin, Adam’s immediate “reason” for his sin was “the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” - Genesis 3:12-13
- In our text, James addresses this and confronts sinners with the propensity to seek to shift blame - “Let no one say …” [λεγέτω] - a Pres. Act. Imperative coupled with the adjective “no one” [Μηδεὶς]
- Thus, the door is totally closed to shifting the blame off oneself to another.
B. The Profaneness of Blaming God - “… I am being tempted by God …”
- Indeed, because James has been talking about God’s work in our lives through testing, there would be a further natural attraction in our flesh to say that God was responsible for the situation causing us to fail.
- A person who seeks to rationalize their sin by claiming that God “set them up” by providing them a test (defined by God’s desire to provide an opportunity for a believer to demonstrate the reality of grace in their lives), is profaning the holiness of God.
- The very idea of imputing an evil motive to God is profane.
- “by God” [ἀπὸ θεοῦ] carries the idea of God being apart or remote - suggesting that claiming that God is even remotely involved in one’s temptation is still another sin.
- In explanation as to why this is the case, James states that God is totally “separate: from anything evil in His holiness …
C. The Pointlessness of Blaming God - “… for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”
- Here there are two points that James makes …
- First, “God cannot be tempted by evil” - that is, He is “untemptable” [ἀπείραστός] - a word used here alone in the New Testament - cp. Habakkuk 1:13
- Second, “… and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” - a description of God would have no possible motive to induce someone to sin - cp. Matthew 6:13
- In this sense, Paul describes God as limiting our testing to a point we are able to handle - cp. 1 Corinthians 10:13
II. The Essence of Temptation - v. 14
A. The Enemy Within - “… but each man is tempted . by his own lust …”
- Following up on why it is so profane and pointless to accuse God of tempting us, James continues to explain where temptation and finally sin comes from.
- In contrast to the blame shifters, James says: “But each man is tempted when …”
- There is within each man what has been described as a “combustible” material called “the flesh” that is constantly craving the inferno of sin.
- The agent of temptation is our “own lust” - the cravings of our flesh - “lust” [ἐπιθυμίας] - desire, longing, craving for anything.
- These cravings can be for good things and when they are, it is a virtue.
- However, when these cravings are for wicked or evil gratifications, they are coming from our flesh - cp. Romans 7:18-25.
B. The Enticement from Without - “… when he is carried away and enticed …”
- Hence, there is a desire within that we are constantly seeking to douse in order to keep under control.
- However, there are things that exist “without” that are designed to fuel that combustible material in our souls - “when he is carried away and enticed.”
- “carried away” [ἐξελκόμενος] - a term that means “to drag away” - conveying the idea of what is described as initial reluctance or resistance; the fight is initial, but the lusts eventually prevail.
- “and enticed” [δελεαζόμενος] - “to arouse someone’s interests in something by clever and crafty means” - to bait or to lure.
- This second word suggests that one merely holds out the delicacy for someone to see and because of their inward lusts, they are powerfully attracted to it.
- Often we are “carried away” because we are “enticed” - like a fish noticing the lure and coming willingly to it and once latched onto the hook, they are “carried away” to sin.
III. The Effects of Temptation - v. 15
A. The Conception of Lust - “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin”
- The consequence of this process is evident as lust ignites and results in sin.
- The idea of “lust” conceiving - carries the idea of when our “lust” is “fertilized” by whatever pleasure it seeks, “sin” is what is produced.
- The term “conceived” [συλλαβοῦσα] - initially means to “seize, grasp, apprehend” and describes the process of seed “catching” and penetrating the egg to cause conception.
- “it gives birth” [τίκτει] - to produce or bring into being - this is the act of sin itself - the disobedience of indulgence of sin.
- “sin” [ἁμαρτίαν] - refer to “falling short” or “missing the mark” - it refers to the departure from the established standards of uprightness
B. The Consummation of Sin - “… and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death …”
- The necessary consequence of such departure from uprightness is the judgment of God - “and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” - Romans 6:23
- “death” is essentially defined as “separation”
- Spiritual death - the separation of the soul from God - Genesis 2:16-17;
- Physical death - the separation of soul from body - 2 Corinthians 5:8-9; and,
- Eternal death - the separation of the soul AND the body from God forever in the Lake of Fire - Revelation 20:14-15.