13 When tempted, no one should say, ”God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.James 1:13-18 NIV
As we begin today’s passage, we see that James tells us that temptation doesn’t come from God. It comes from our evil desires, which we know is the work of Satan. Giving in to this temptation leads us to death because we can’t win the crown if we don’t persevere, right? God may try a believer’s faith, but he cannot be said to tempt anyone to sin. Therefore, we can’t blame God for failing to resist temptation.
In verse 17, James tells us that every good thing comes from God. He is the same now and forever and created us from the word of truth when we were created. God never waivers from his character of giving good gifts. God’s greatest gift is to give new birth which may be a reference to new life for the Christian who is faithful to the end.
The reference to firstfruits relates to the first part of the harvest which is given as an offering to God trusting in the full harvest. James is addressing the Jewish Christians in this letter. That could be the firstfruits he is referring to, but James knew that the Messiah came to offer salvation to gentiles as well.
I look forward to sharing more of this study tomorrow as we’ll see what James has to say about listening and doing. To go to the next lesson, click here.