School is back for many students and we all know that if there is learning then there will be testing. One simple fact about our existence here on the earth and that is this – there will be tests. People will test us at some point, even if it’s just a school test. We also know that the kingdom of darkness will try us as well. The question is does God test us to?
Most people would be quick to answer, “Yes He does.” I would agree that He does test us but not in the way I’ve heard many people express it. From what I’ve both read and heard, people claim that God test us by putting us in the throes of temptation or some kind of sickness or financial burden or anything else that adversely affects us.
I question that thought pattern because you would be saying that God tests us through Satan’s adversities. How could Satan’s temptations be God’s tests? If Satan is the one attacking then God is not the one conducting a test. The notion that God tests us this way couldn’t be further from the truth. For starters Jesus paid the full price for us all on the cross. He made the provision for our complete deliverance from all those things that I mentioned in the paragraph above.
[This review on what is God’s test will take several articles to complete, so this month’s “Pastor’s Seed” will be Part 1.]
Sometimes you have to look at what something is not to uncover what something is, so also I will approach the understanding of God’s test in this way with these articles. Studying the Bible on temptation will help us understand things more clearly. Let’s start by reading:
James 1:12-18 (NKJV)
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
There is nothing here that supports the idea that God would ever use satanic temptation for a test. These Scriptures clearly lets us know that God is not tempting us. Some say, “Well He permitted it.” If God “permitted” temptation than He would be just as guilty as the person who actually was tempting you.
If Jesus did it all for us on the cross 2,000 years ago, and we believe He did, then this thought is an affront to Jesus’ cross. If God “permitted” temptations or even limited temptations then that means God would have to walk out in front of the cross and let the attack go around Jesus in order to get to us. He would have to disregard the sovereign work of Jesus’ sacrifice (which God the Father had already planned before the foundation of this world) in order to allow things like that to happen. God is neither two-faced nor forked tongue concerning the work of the cross for mankind’s benefit.
Romans 8:31-32 (NKJV)
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Some may still say Scriptures do support God limiting Satan’s temptations from what Paul wrote in his letter about it to the Corinthian church.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
The part of verse 13, which says “…who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able…” does not imply that God limits the devil’s tempting abilities. The Apostle is simply pointing out in this letter that there is no temptation that you can’t overcome, no matter how big it seems in your mind.
There is nothing that love can’t overcome because it never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). God’s love is in the heart of every believer (Romans 5:5). The Greater One is in the heart of every believer (1 John 4:4 and 5:4-5) and we can always overcome anything from Satan. In other words, we have so much of the Almighty God (El Shaddai) in us that the devil can’t do anything beyond our ability to overcome him.
(To Be Continued)