Sunday, May 6, 2018

What Is The Difference Between A Biblical Trial And A Temptation?

Are Trials And Temptations Mean The Same?

Question: I have always thought that both trials and temptations are the same. So, what is the difference between a trial and a temptation as described in the Bible? Thanks in advance for your answer.

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

Apostle James was the one who spoke directly about temptations and trials more clearly than every other writer in the New Testament, clearing the misconception and bringing our the truth of what it is in the light of the Truth expressed by Jesus and God Himself.

Some people in the first century, began to teach people that when we fall in to sin, it is because God wanted us to fall in to it, so that we can receive grace of God from Him and then glorify God through it.

It is a disguised Hyper-Grace teaching that emphasized God's free gift and tried to liquidate the responsibility on the part of the believers life to obey God and His truth that they heard from the apostles and Jesus Himself.

Thus James the apostle wrote to such people saying,
"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." (Jam 1:13-16).

God Is Not The Tempter, But Satan Is

In other words, because you have become God's beloved children and that He lives within you
(Eph 5:1; 1 John 4:4), God cannot tempt Himself and also cannot be tempted by evil as He is a holy God (1 Pet 1:16). He does not tempt anyone directly with temptation to sin. But rather we have a sin nature within us, which has the ability to entice us and draw away with a desire to sin, which when conceived, it causes us to sin and be draw away from God which is death. Satan does nothing but puts his sinful thoughts in to us to see whether we give in to his wiles and accept the thought as ours to conceive it, which when conceived as a strong desire will further lead us right in to sin. So no believer should ever be wrongly deceived to think that a good God can tempt us and cause us to sin, as there is not even a single bad intent in God who only gives good and perfect gift to us as a good Heavenly Father (Luke 11:11-13; Matt 7:11; Jam 1:17), who has brought us near to Himself by the word of truth in Jesus Christ so that we can be a first fruits of His creatures in the new world that God is bringing forth. So God does not negatively tempt or test anyone (Jam 1:13), but as a sovereign God who has all power, all knowledge and being present in all places at all times, God allows temptation to come to his children through the tempter Satan for all the good things he wants to achieve through it. 

Why Trials Are Good, While Temptations Are Not?

Positively, the purpose of God's testing is that it might go well with his people and keep them from sinning
(Exod 20:20; Deut 8:16). When they experience enticement to evil, He is able to deliver them when they do not trust their own strength but choose to trust whole heartedly in the Lord's strength every time (1 Cor 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9; Rev 3:10).

So trials are something that is used by God to reveal and stimulate character to make spiritual progress, it does not lead you to evil but face evil with boldness and stand against it with perseverance of obeying to God and His Word, and not reacting to evil.

But temptations are allurements to evil, which when entered in to without God's strength will make us do evil and the same may minister to the divine purpose, provided the outcome is positive
(Jam 1:12).

Jesus told us to pray to the Father,
"not to lead us in to temptation, but deliver us from evil one" (Matt 6:13), to make us all understand, that no temptation to sin is greater than the power of God which He holds in his hand to deliver us from its evil lure, when we submit to God and resist the devil (Jam 4:7). The moment we truly submit ourselves to God, Satan the tempter has to flee away from us because of God's authority which comes over us and in us.

When the temptation to flee away from Jesus because of fear of death was coming towards the apostles who were with him
(Heb 2:14-15), Jesus foretold them to "pray so that they might not enter in to temptation" (Matt 26:41). It means that unless we watch what is happening in the spiritual realm to find the plans of Satan and pray against it to be nullified or be empowered to face it in the will of God (Luke 22:31-32), we too will enter in to temptation which will cause us to sin and grieve later like Peter the apostle (Matt 26:75).

Does God Achieve Anything Good Through It All?

In general, testing and temptation are facts of life within God's world and constitute some of the tools through which he is bringing to fulfillment his redemptive purpose. God can use our victory over temptation to keep us strong spiritually, as well as failure over temptation to keep us humble. Since temptation embodies incitement to evil, it cannot be God's doing but rather it is revealed as to try in the bad sense of putting to the test with evil and ill-intent, enticing to do wrong, to try to cause to fall-aside from the truth of God's Word, to entice to disbelieve what God says during a specific situation. The devil is the one who tempts with/by evil, so he is rightly called 'Satan the tempter'.

The purpose of trials is to refine our lives and leave us with a purer, stronger faith, as well as a character that God can bless and use
(1 Pet 1:7). The result of trial is that we become more and more like Jesus in our thinking, action and behavior than before it (Rom 8:28-29). Trials are painful and difficult by nature, but it all happens only with the permission of God and cannot go beyond our ability to handle it when we handle it with faith rather than react with unbelief (1 Cor 10:13; Num 14:7-9; Heb 3:12-13). But how we handle them makes all the difference.

Paul’s thorn—his greatest trial—originated with Satan. Three times he begged God for relief; unfortunately, God said, “No.”

Why? God told Paul that his trials were meant to keep him humble. What can we learn from the trial Paul faced in his life personally? If God doesn't stop the evil from coming against us, He will give His grace which empowers us to overcome evil in our day to day life by His authority which is expressed through our very words and lives
(2 Cor 12:7-10).

So the writer to the Hebrew says, don’t get bitter, don’t get angry at God, don’t lose heart, do submit to God’s will, remember His love, and live happily ever after
(Heb 12). God is the source of all tests. So we ought to rejoice when we are face and fall in to trials (Jam 1:2), but we ought to resist and endure temptation and overcome it through the grace of God for the Glory of God (Matt 6:13; Heb 4:14-15; Matt 26:41; Gen 3:6; 1 Tim 6:9; Jam 1:12; 4:7-8).

There Is A Way Out Of Temptation, So Resist The Devil's Thought

Temptation neither constitutes nor necessarily leads to sin, rather the conception of the thought of sin in our heart leads us to sin. Temptation could not destroy Christ's sinlessness
(Heb 4:15), because Christ never allowed those sinful desires to get conceived in his heart by giving in to its lure by entertaining such thoughts within him, the Bible reveals that Jesus "was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin" (Heb 4:15). Thus we know that the temptations of Jesus was very similar like the temptations we face in our own lives, but he was without sin because he never entertained the thoughts of sin even for a fraction of second by the help of the Holy Spirit (Heb 2:17). We too like Jesus can overcome sin by the help of the Holy Spirit and remember sin cannot destroy the new nature of Christ we have received within us as a new creation of God (2 Cor 5:17).

Still more, succumbing to temptation is never inevitable and nobody can sin unavoidably giving any reason for their failure. The triumph of Christ over the powers of darkness
(Matt 12:28-29; Col 1:13) means that a way of escape is always open for those united to him (1 Cor 10:13). When temptation is yielded to, forgiveness is available through Christ (Heb 2:18; 4:14-16; 1 John 2:1). We should confess our sins as soon as possible to Christ Jesus who is our heavenly high priest of our confession (Heb 10:19-23; 4:14-16; 3:1), and He is ever ready to empower us in our weakness to make us overcomers as He Himself was in every point tempted but yet was without sin (Heb 4:15; 7:25), and be covered by His blood that cleanses us from all sins (1 John 1:7, 9; Heb 9:14).

There is a difference between a trial and a temptation, although both come from the same Greek word—
peirasmos. They are often used interchangeably, though. After all, temptation is a trial (of faith from within), and every trial is a temptation (to stumble without and grumble within)

Trials Without, And Temptations Within

Temptations come from the flesh; trials are sent from God. God allowed Satan to test Job
(Job 1:6-12), while Peter succumbed to the temptation from within that made him fear for his life and lie about the truth about his relationship with Jesus to protect his own life, in spite of being foretold by Jesus clearly of how he will betray Him because he was depending on his own strength (Luke 22:31-34).

Temptation, when it is sexual in nature, has considerable moral relevance
(1 Cor 6:17-18; 1 Thess 4:3-8), but a trial may be morally neutral as it comes mainly from the outside (1 Pet 2:21-22, 19; Matt 5:10). Temptation will usually attack a weak spot; trials test our strength as well as exposing a weakness we may have been unaware of—for example our self-righteousness or anger or lack of humility or love for money, etc...

Therefore any trial that God sends like death of a loved one or friend, financial losses, illness, misunderstanding, losing your keys, failure, disappointment, betrayal, abuse, unemployment, depression, accident, loneliness, missing a train or plane, rejection, not getting that important invitation, or any physical pain, etc...should be seen as having our Lord's hand-prints all over them, because in all these things we are more than conquerors as our Lord Christ Jesus is in control of all of it, and we do not have control over it except our faith that He is in control
(Rom 8:35-39). We can rest assured in the promises of Christ Jesus from his Word that, He is praying for us to overcome by faith through our trial for the Glory of God (Rom 8:33-34; Luke 22:31-32)

Finally God Works All Things Together For Our God

So we usually see the good in trial and the bad in temptation. But God can use both the temptation and trial for our own good if we continue to love God 
(Rom 8:28), even when we have failed him in our trials and temptations (2 Tim 2:13). God has purpose of His being fulfilled even in our repeated failures. In the whole entire universe, only our God of heaven and earth has the power to make even the bad, evil, failures, and our weaknesses to work together for His ultimate purpose to be fulfilled in the divine destiny of our God which cannot be altered by it all.

So the ultimate test now is: Will you follow Christ at any price? Is your physical comfort or desire to have something, more than the desire to have God or Is God the ultimate desire of your life?, a positive answer of 'yes', will prove your faith as genuine. But it doesn't give us any more qualification to boast about in our spiritual life than any other who have failed. But rather it brings us to the reward Christ has for us in our eternity, for those who take it lightly to make a habit of wasting the overcoming grace of God will lose their reward for eternity ahead
(1 Cor 15:10; 2 Cor 6:1; 2 John 1:8; Rev 3:11).

Much Blessings....


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