Saturday, November 22, 2014

Iron Sharpening Iron

. . . another excellent challenge from my "iron sharpening iron" friend and covenant comrade ("As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend."--Proverbs 27:17).

He posits:

"James 1:13-14 says God does not tempt, but each is drawn by his own desires and enticed... does this not require free will?"

My response:

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." --Mat. 4:1

This line is a clear example showing how, while God is sovereign over all, He uses "secondary causes" "apart" from Himself to effect His will.  In one sense, it must be seen that God is the "primary" cause of the evil--the tempting.  He is sovereign.  His will is done, always.  BUT HE did not directly tempt Jesus.  His "otherness" . . . His holiness . . . His "apartness" from His creation establishes it that the DEVIL is the one directly doing the tempting, the evil.

This motif, this picture of His operations is, of course, all through the Bible.  The very Lord's Prayer asks God to "lead us not into temptation" (presuming He could) . . . but, again, if He did, HE would not be the direct agent effecting the tempting, but would be using a secondary agent/cause.  This is critically important to understand--how God does not become or identify with the cause He decrees.  How He can sovereignly will that evil is to exist and effect His ultimate plan and purposes, yet HE is not evil.

For instance, the crucifixion . . . the greatest crime in all history . . . was directed, decreed by God.  Yet, evil men and the devil, according to their own natures and relative "free wills" effected it.

Deuteronomy 8:2 says, "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."

While God controls all aspects of temptation and testing, He is not the tempter. 

But this is off topic.  The question was about free will.  However, this aspect is related and I will continue asap.... God bless

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