by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 23 February 11, 1998 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:The non-source of temptation: God as totally self-sufficient and a sharer of sufficiency.
Introduction:We have worked through two basic perspectives regarding the difficulties of our lives. The first is the perspective required of the servant of the Lord regarding the divine use of stress: it yields character when we let the promise of joy guide our decision-making. The second is the promise made to the servant of the Lord regarding the successful endurance of stress: there is an eternal crown of life for those who endure without capitulation. This evening we want to begin to look into a third issue regarding the difficulties of our lives. This issue is the attitude we take toward God while facing temptation.
I. The Need for Clarity Regarding the Source and Intent of Temptation.
A. Clarity regarding the issues of temptation and trial.
1. This text specifically tells us that God does not ever tempt anyone.
2. Genesis 22:1 specifically tells us that God did test Abraham and Hebrews 11:17 uses the very word that James does.
3. The clarity we need is partially found in the dualism surrounding the conflict between God and Satan.
a. God seeks to bring the former servants of Satan out of their residual bondage to the satanic principles of existence.
b. Satan seeks to regain dominion over his former servants by seducing them into a return to his principles.
4. The clarity we need is partially found in the reality that it is neither God nor Satan that is at the root of our perception of the problem.
B. Clarity regarding the theology of temptation and trial.
1. God is fundamentally incapable of being tempted.
a. The issue of temptation/trial is one and the same at root.
1) The problem is a sense of lack in the experience of life.
a) It is no temptation to be subjected to seduction to fill the full.
b) It is no trial to be asked to give from overflow.
2) The sense of lack can be real or imagined.
b. God has neither a sense of lack nor any essential lack.
1) He is infinite in all His being.
2) His infinity of wisdom means there can be no imagination of lack.
2. God is fundamentally incapable of tempting any man.
a. The tempting of another is invariably the attempt to make him sense a lack and seek a self-directed/sourced solution.
b. God has gone overboard with revelation in order to make man understand that he has no basis for any claim to lack...
1) Man only lacks after he has succumbed to temptation and departed from God.
2) No man who is walking with God has any real lack in the experience of life.
c. God has also gone overboard with revelation to make man understand that he has no basis for any confidence that he has either the wisdom or resources to do anything about his mis-perceived sense of lack.
1) If man thinks he lacks, he still has no omniscience.
2) If man thinks he lacks, he still has no personal resources.