As we continue to the next section of James chapter 1 – verses 13-15, James helps us to understand the fundamentals of sin.
I. God Does Not Tempt Us to Sin
James 1:13 “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:” The first thing we learn is that God does not tempt us to sin. When we are living by faith, yielding to the Holy Spirit of God, we will be drawn TO the will of God, NOT away from it. It is helpful to know that God does not toy with His creation, nor put us into danger of sin, but rather continually draws us to Himself.
James 1:14 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” Temptation occurs when we are “drawn away.” This begs the question: drawn away from what? For the Christian who is in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, the first step to sin is being drawn away from that position. The verse says that he is drawn away “of his own lust.” Instead of yielding to the Spirit of God, he begins to yield to his own desires.
II. We Fall Into Sin When We Move Our Focus Away From Christ
The focus for the person who is being drawn away changes. Before, he was actively serving God, and asking what the Lord would have him to do in each aspect of his life to bring glory to God. Now, though, the question becomes, “What’s wrong with that?” He is no longer concerned with what is right about his decisions and lifestyle, and whether they honor God and help him to accomplish God’s plan for his life. Instead, he is concerned with his Christian liberty.
Now the stage is set. He is no longer yielding to the leadership of the Lord. He has been drawn away from that which keeps him from sin. Lust is now the enticing bait that catches his eye, like the lure of the fisherman to a trout. Perhaps it is power that entices him. Perhaps it is pride and social status. Perhaps it is the fleshly desires of all kinds of ungodly relationships. Perhaps it is simply the “shiny stuff” of materialism.
James 1:15 “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Drawn away now to focus only on the lustful options that are in front of him, he has the “freedom” that he thought he desired. He has the freedom to choose. But all of the choices, as beautiful and alluring as they may seem on the surface lead only one place – to death.
But there is another choice – the age-old choice going back to the beginning of the Bible, stated in Deuteronomy 30:19 by Moses, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”
III. The Answer to Lust is To Choose Christ
As we come to the New Testament, we come to understand the wonderful truth that life is only found in the Person of Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:12 “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” So, then, to choose life, is to choose Christ.
If you find yourself in a life full of lust or alluring choices that lead to death, choose Christ. Perhaps you have never come to know Him as your Saviour. Realize that you are a sinner and accept His sacrifice on Calvary as your substitute and begin a new life in Him today. He has conquered death and Hell once and for all!
Perhaps you are a born-again believer, but you have been drawn away into a world of lust. The answer for you is the same: choose Christ. Abide in Him, and His faith will produce fruit in your life, and overcome the stronghold of Satan in your life.
John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”