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Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

James 1:13-16 by Robert Dean
Duration:55 mins 33 secs

How the Sin Nature Baits/ Tempts/ Trap; James 1:13-16


There are three things that take place when a believer is operating in arrogance, and these are called the three arrogance skills. It starts with self-absorption, then moves to self-justification, then to self-deception. The longer we stay under the control of the sin nature the more arrogance dominates our soul and the deeper we plunge into this cycle of the three arrogance skills. In self-absorption you put yourself at the center of your world and everything revolves around you. When anything happens the instant reaction is how it affects you. Everything is viewed in terms of what you like and what you dislike. The person who is self-absorbed in very, very selfish. Normally the more self-absorbed you are the less you are going to realize it.


That leads to self-justification. In self-justification the self-absorbed person has convinced himself of his own rectitude; it is never his fault and never his responsibility. The longer this continues the more he becomes divorced from reality. He becomes more and more subjective and views everything through the distorted eyeglass of arrogance and self-absorption. This means he becomes more and more blinded to the way things really are. The person who is operating in arrogance and has moved into self-justification no longer sees life the way it is. He can't see himself the way he is, he no longer has objectivity. The person who is arrogant constantly looks at things from his own viewpoint and loses objectivity. Objectivity comes only through the Word of God, and only through Bible doctrine in the soul are we able to break out of the pattern of the arrogance skills and to look at our lives objectively through the lens of the Word of God.


From self-deception we move to self-deception, which is a denial of our own culpability and failures. This is the person who in 1 John 1:8 denies that he is a sinner. The loss of all objectivity means the inability to honestly face his own life, his own decisions, and to accept his own failures and then do what is necessary to correct the problem. Self-deception is usually characterized by moral cowardliness, an unwillingness and an inability to do what is right and make the right decisions. It takes a lot of courage to be honest with ourselves.


James 1:13 NASB "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'…"  Then we are given an explanation. Why is this true? It is introduced by the particle GAR [gar]  "… for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone." GAR always introduces an explanation for something that has just been said, so we are going to understand why we are not supposed to blame God. James has shifted to another subject where he gives us the reason why temptation does not come from God. The first reason is given here in the second part of the verse that God is not tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. The word here for temptation is PEIRAZOMAI [peirazomai], present passive indicative, meaning the subject receives the action of the verb. It is a present which is durative action, this is always true about God. It is expressing a gnomic principle about God. Gnomic is a grammatical term which expresses something that is always true, a universal principle. God never receives the action of temptation because God is not temptable in His character.


James 1:14 NASB "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." James uses a lot of verbs here that provide the imagery of birth. "Each one" is the Greek demonstrative pronoun HEKASTOS [e(kastoj] and refers to each individual. This is an individual issue. Every person is different. Temptation is personal and individual. What tempts one person may not tempt another person. We are all driven by our lust patterns and what appeals to one person does not appeal to another. There are three sources of temptation. The first enemy that the Christian has is Satan, although he does not personally attack every believer. He is finite and not omnipresent. Very rarely does Satan ever personally attack anyone, usually people ought to be thinking is that he is after them, yes, but in terms of the thought system, human viewpoint or cosmic thinking. The only way the believer is designed to deal with Satan or his agents the demons is defensively. There are three major passages—Ephesians 6, 1 Peter 5 and James 4—where the command is to stand firm or resist. This does not mean to charge and attack the devil, it means to take a stand: "Stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord." That is the issue. The believer is to take a defensive posture with regard to Satan and let the Lord handle the issue offensively. The second enemy outside the believer is the cosmic system, Satan's thought system devised by him to give a rationale to temptation. The cosmic system is defined as Satan's orderly, cohesive and multi-faceted system of thinking which includes a purpose, policy and structure of authority designed subvert the human race and gain control over the world he now rules. Notice he doesn't have control now, he is desperately trying to achieve control. He does this through encouraging human arrogance, which is cosmic #1, and sponsoring human antagonism to God, which is cosmic #2. The cosmic system is the classroom for communicating Satan's false doctrine. Then the internal enemy that we have is the sin nature. It is also called the flesh.


The word that is translated "carried away" is the temporal participle of the Greek word EXELKW [e)celkw], and it means to drag away, to draw away, and is sometimes used for animals pulling or dragging a cart, and in one instance it is used of a boat dragging another boat. It means to be drawn or pulled away. So each one is carried or drawn away when he is enticed by his own lust. There is some sort of external temptation. Temptation comes from Satan or the world's system. Then there is something inside of us that is enticed or drawn to that. We see the outside trap and something inside of us wants to take the bait—"enticed by his own lust." This is the Greek word DELEAZO [deleazw] which means entice, and it is used of baiting a hook, of catching a fish by bait, of hunting with snares. So here we see this image of a trap, a trap with external bait that attracts us to sin.


James 1:15 NASB "Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." This is the birth analogy. What we have is a period of time. Notice the whole verse. It starts with and external temptation, then it has an internal attraction and desire which is called lust at this point but it is still not sin. What has to happen? The volition must be engaged. The source of temptation is the sin nature, but the source of sin is volition. When lust is conceived it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished or brought to completion it brings forth death, the final result. It is important to understand that James is talking about death. It is what we call carnal death, it is not spiritual death. The Bible talks of several kinds of death. First, there is physical death which is the separation of the soul from the body. Secondly there is spiritual death, the inability to have a relationship with God, separation of the human spirit from the body. Spiritual death means no relationship with God—Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:12. Third, there is the second death which is the eternal death in the lake of fire—Revelation 20:12-15. Fourth, there is positional death which relates to the believer who at the point of salvation is identified with the death of Jesus Christ—Colossians 2:3, 4; Romans 6. Fifth, there is sexual death, the inability to function sexually. This happened with Abraham and Sarah and why the birth of Isaac was a miracle. Sixth, there is operational death in the spiritual life. It means the believer is not under the power of the Holy Spirit but under the power of the sin nature. This is what happens here in James 1:15. When we are under the control of the sin nature we are operationally dead, we cannot produce anything of spiritual value. This is operational death and the inability to function in the spiritual life.


Why is it important to understand James' use of death here? Right away he is not talking about spiritual death, he is talking about believers who were spiritually dead but are now spiritually alive. He is not talking about losing salvation. Death here is operational death. This will be important when we get over to James 2:17. So when we encounter a test we have two options: a) to be positive and apply doctrine and use the stress-busters to solve the problem. The result of that is life—spiritual life, the abundance of life; b) if we take negative volition and let the sin nature dominate, the result of that is operational death in the spiritual life where we no longer function under the power of God the Holy Spirit and everything we produce is wood, hay and stubble and has no consequence for eternity.


James 1:16 NASB "Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." We are not to be deceived at the point of temptation into thinking it comes from God. Why? Because God is quite different from that.