What is Baptism?

“To be baptized is the first step of obedience as a Christian, implying a commitment to live a life of faithfulness to the Lord Jesus.”[1] While Christians from many denominations may agree with this statement, the answer to the question “what is baptism” finds much less unity. Some believe it is sprinkling, others pouring, but Baptists and other baptistic churches believe it is immersion.

DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
Baptism is part of the Great Commission given to the New Testament Church (Matt 28:19). It is clearly a duty of local congregations to baptize (Matt 28:19, Acts 2:41) and of Christians to be baptized (Acts 2:38, 10:48). What “baptism” is, then, is of great significance to our Ecclesiology and to the Christian life in general.

The Christian life was never meant to be practiced alone. Converts are immediately (passively) added to the Body of Christ (Acts 12:13), and are supposed to (actively) identify themselves with a local assembly of that body (Acts 2:28). Any concept of regenerate believers roaming solo would have been completely foreign in the early Church. Alva J. McClain writes, “Had we asked the believers of the Apostolic period whether it was essential to join a church, they would not have known what we were talking about. Every believer became a member of a church. It was involved in the very profession he made in Christ.”[2]

One can see this from the very inception of the Church. Acts 2:41-42 gives a condensed view of the chronological progression: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” They were saved (“those who received his word” was a “euphemistic expression for regeneration, repentance, and faith”[3]), baptized, “added” (church membership), and devoted themselves to doctrine, fellowship, communion, and prayer. Notice that this is an umbrella statement of all who were saved—it does not say “and some of those who were saved decided to stick around, get baptized, and some even joined the church.” All who were saved identified with the congregation through baptism, and continued on in fellowship and communion. Anything less would have been unthinkable.[4]

If, then, local church membership is a requirement for all believers, and baptism is its prerequisite, one should know exactly what “baptism” is, and how it is supposed to be administered. In other words, what is the “mode” of baptism. The “mode” matters because God does not give us empty doctrines or words to which we can attach or fill in our own meanings. Every doctrine—every word!—has an intentional meaning, and to misunderstand its meaning is potentially to disobey.

THE MEANING OF THE WORD
The English word “baptism” is simply a transliteration of the Greek word βαπτίζω (baptizo) which means “dip,” “submerge,” or “immerse.”[5] Rolland McCune states that this is a fact “recognized by all Greek lexicons.”[6] Thomas J. Nettles agrees, “That the word translated ‘baptize’ (Greek baptizo) literally means ‘immerse’ is a matter of little, if any, dispute.”[7] Even Gerald Bray (an Anglican) admits that it “means ‘dipping’ or ‘immersion,’” yet denies that immersion is the only valid mode.[8] Similarly, John Calvin writes, “it is evident that the term baptize means to immerse,” but does not believe it matters much what mode a church adopts; he continues, “Whether the person baptized is to be wholly immersed, and that whether once or thrice, or whether he is only to be sprinkled with water, is not of the least consequence.”[9] But to admit that the word “baptize” means “immerse” and then to continue speaking of sprinkling as “baptism” is disingenuous. The word is the mode. Once the word is defined, the only questions one could have about “mode” would concern, “such things as whether it should be in a tank, a stream, or a lake and, probably by extension to today, whether the candidate should lean back, sit on a chair or get on his knees.”[10] To speak of “immersion by sprinkling,” or “immersion by pouring” is nonsense.

In Baptism: Three Views, Bruce Ware points out that “When washing or sprinkling are in view, the more common words used are louo, nipto or rhaino.”[11] Even if we grant that βαπτίζω had other, lesser-used meanings, no reason can be found for why the writers of scripture (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews) would consistently use βαπτίζω (or derivatives) when better words existed to express their intended meaning (if, in fact, sprinkling was in view).

It seems that if the translators of the early English Bibles would have simply translated the word βαπτίζω, instead of transliterating it, the challenges to baptism today would be far fewer. In spite of the unanimity of lexicons regarding βαπτίζω, and the existence of other, more appropriate words for sprinkling, many still are not convinced. Richard L. Pratt Jr. says that, “scholars continue to debate the precise meaning of [the word] baptism because the evidence is not entirely clear.”[12] It is difficult to imagine what type of evidence he is looking for, or how he can accept any of Scripture’s teachings with such an unappeasable requirement for clarity. Nevertheless, there are further, non-grammatical, evidences for immersion.

BAPTISM ACCOUNTS
Another line of evidence that clearly points to baptism by immersion has to do with the attending circumstances in the various baptism accounts in the New Testament. One example comes from John 3:23, which reads, “John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized.” What was the reason they were baptizing in this particular location? Because the “water was plentiful there.” Baptists and Paedobaptists alike should be able to recognize that “plentiful” water is not needed for sprinkling water on foreheads.[13] A similar argument can be made from the story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. “And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (8:36). Grudem comments, “Apparently neither of them thought that sprinkling or pouring a handful of water from the container of drinking water that would have been carried in the chariot was enough to constitute baptism …baptism by immersion is the only satisfactory explanation of this narrative.”[14]

THE PREPOSITIONS USED
It is helpful to return again to the grammar used in the New Testament when describing baptism. Not only does it consistently use the word βαπτίζω meaning “immerse,” it also consistently uses prepositions that point strongly towards baptism by immersion. Mark 1:5 reads, “And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” Just four verses later Mark says, “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” Here, the propositions translated “in” are the Greek words έν (en vs. 5) and εἰς (eis vs. 6). While some legitamatly point out that έν (vs. 5) can sometimes mean “with,”[15] εἰς is more direct; It literally means “into,” or “in.” (In either case, both verses are good evidence for immersion). To say that someone “baptized with the river Jordan” would be awkward to say the least.

Gustave Dore's "The Baptism of Jesus"

Gustave Dore’s “The Baptism of Jesus”

If one continues reading in Mark’s Gospel he will find another evidence just one verse later. Mark 1:10 reads, “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him.” That is ἀναβαίνω (anabainō “up”) and ἐκ (ek “out”). The only way one could remove immersion from this passage would be to have Jesus standing in the river when He was sprinkled (as many classic paintings do). But if this were the case than the Holy Spirit did not descend on Jesus until after he waded to the edge of the river, and climbed “up out of the water” onto the shore! If this were the case than the Spirit’s descent was not directly related to Christ’s baptism, but to his exiting of the river. What is the significance in that? Clearly, the prepositions used in conjunction with the baptism accounts point clearly to the fact that baptism in the New Testament was by immersion.

THE SYMBOLISM OF BAPTISM
While various aspects of salvation can be pictured by baptism (e.g. “washing away of sins” Ac 22:16),[16] the most basic and central picture is that of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for our sins.[17] The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is explicitly linked with Spirit baptism in Romans 6:4, Gal 3:27, and Col 2:12 (compare I Cor 12:13). Water baptism corresponds to Spirit baptism in that it is an earthy symbol of a heavenly reality. McCune writes, “Spirit baptism places one into the body of Christ (I Cor 12:13); water baptism places one into the membership of the local church. Spirit baptism places one into the organism; water baptism admits one into the organization.”[18] Immersion, then, makes the most sense of this symbolism, in that the participant is “buried” and “raised” in the baptismal waters. Even Michael Horton (who holds to Presbyterian ecclesiology) admits this, writing, “Immersion does seem more suggestive of being buried and raised with Christ…”[19]

CONCLUSION
The evidence from Scripture is that baptism is exactly what the word means: immersion. Not only is this confirmed grammatically, but finds further confirmation in the circumstances surrounding New Testament baptism accounts, the prepositions used in describing those accounts, and the symbolism that is involved in the ordinance.


[1] Kevin Bauder, Baptist Distinctives and New Testament Church Order (Regular Baptist Books, 2012), 60–61.

[2] Rolland McCune, A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, Volume 3: The Doctrines of Salvation, the Church, and Last Things (Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010), 225.

[3] Ibid., 227.

[4] Bauder, Baptist Distinctives and New Testament Church Order, 61.

[5] David F. Wright, ed., Baptism: Three Views (IVP Academic, 2009), 21.

[6] McCune, A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, Volume 3, 271.

[7] John H. Armstrong and Paul E. Engle, Understanding Four Views on Baptism (Zondervan, 2007), 26.

[8] Gerald Bray, God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology (Crossway, 2012), 634.

[9] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Revised (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2007), 868.

[10] McCune, A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, Volume 3, 271.

[11] Wright, Baptism, 21.

[12] Armstrong and Engle, Understanding Four Views on Baptism, 42.

[13] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Zondervan, 1994), 968.

[14] Ibid.

[15] McCune, A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, Volume 3, 272.

[16] Grudem, Systematic Theology, 969.

[17] McCune, A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, Volume 3, 272–273; Grudem, Systematic Theology, 968.

[18] McCune, A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, Volume 3, 278.

[19] Michael S. Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way (Zondervan, 2011), 792.

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Philosophy of Missions – Sermon 2010

Below is a link to a sermon I preached for Command Baptist Church’s missions conference a couple of years ago (the first sermon I ever preached). Much thanks goes out to Pastor Tony Fox for the opportunity. It was a learning and growing experience.

In it I attempt to outline a (basic) biblical philosophy of missions (the what and why). Right click, and choose the option to download or save. It is roughly 30 minutes long.

Download Here

Eyes in the skies — thinking on, and waiting for our blessed hope.

Once, when Reformation theologian John Calvin was writing to a suffering friend, he said,

“They [our physical afflictions] should serve us as medicine to purge us from worldly affections and remove what is superfluous in us. And since they are to us the messengers of death, we ought to learn to have one foot raised to take our departure when it shall please God.”

I like the way Calvin words that; “One foot raised”—we are to live so ready, so anticipating of our face-to-face encounter with Christ, that it is as if one foot is already in the take-off position. The idea is not original with Calvin of course, in fact the New Testament is packed with similar exhortations. I don’t want to specifically address death in this post, but a general desire to see Christ “face to face” and the admonitions to set our minds on Him. We are to have our eyes in the skies.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls…. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:8-9, 13

Though there are probably many more, I have found four practical outcomes of us keeping our ‘eyes in the skies’.

1. Keeping our eyes in the skies will help us through suffering and trials.
If anyone knew what suffering was it was the Roman Church. As you recall, Rome was the place who’s evening entertainment was not the fake wrestling of WWE, but the spectacle of watching Christians being torn apart by hungry lions. In Paul’s letter to the Romans just a few years before the hight of Roman persecution he wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). While our sufferings on this earth can be tough, if we were to even glimpse a fraction of the glory that will be revealed, we would regard our trials as insignificant in it’s light.

I am reminded of a lyric from David Crowder Band’s song How He Loves (especially the fourth line below):

Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

Meditating on Christ and his return can, in a sense, “eclipse our afflictions.”

Even Jesus endured the suffering of the cross “for the joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2).

2. Keeping your eyes in the skies promotes our sanctification.
Eagerly anticipating the return of Christ not only helps during our trials, but the apostle John states that it has a certain purifying power. I John 3:2-3 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” Not only will we be made completely pure at His coming, but as we “hope in him” we are progressively being made pure here on earth.

3. Keeping our eyes in the skies acts as an idolatry test.
Though these last two do not come explicitly from the Bible, I believe they are true and have important implications on our lives. The more we attempt to obey the biblical exhortations to anticipate His coming (such as Titus 2:13 “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”) the more we see where our affections really lie. Do we find this constant expectation to be a difficult command, or is it something that comes naturally? The answer to that will tell us what we really love! As we attempt to lift our gaze heavenward, worldly interests often flood our minds. That item which immediately takes center-stage in our thoughts—the one we are most reluctant to leave behind—may be our foremost idol.

4. Keeping our eyes in the skies helps us overcome idolatry.
I am thankful that it does not only point out our sin, but helps us overcome it. I can testify in my own life that the more I look to Jesus, and dwell on Him, the looser this world’s death-grip clings to my life. The more I “consider Jesus” (Heb 3:1) the easier it is for me to say with Paul, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Phil 1:23). As we consider His person, and fix our gaze to the skies awaiting our first face-to-face encounter with Him (whether by rapture or death) we will be, “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” as Paul puts it in II Corinthians 3:18. We will be continuously set apart to be better worshipers and “great commandment” keeping Christians (Matt 22:37). The more we understand His glory, and the joy that is found in Him, the less we will be drawn to the inferior pleasures of this world. The oft-quoted paragraph from C. S. Lewis paints a vivid picture of the superior pleasures found in God:

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” (Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses, 2).

Conclusion
Let us “Set [our] minds on things that are above.” Let us “ set [our] hope fully on the grace that will be brought to [us] at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Let us live with “one foot raised.” Let us keep our eyes in the skies. Our lives here don’t even compare to the glory that will be revealed. Our life on earth is just a vapor; our future life with Christ will be an eternity!

C. S. Lewis concluded the last book in his Narnia series in a way that is very insightful to the Christian’s life and future:

“And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” – C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

How to preserve the Church: Lessons from Jude

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” Jude 3 (NASB).

Jude, while wanting to write about the “common salvation,” had a change of plan — a change of subject. Jude told his readership to “contend earnestly for the faith.” To stand firm on, and defend the doctrines which they had been taught! This is a call to you and I today.

It doesn’t matter if you are reading Paul, Jude, James, or John, the New Testament is full of warnings against apostasy. False teachers are here. False teaching is as close as your local Christian book store. False teaching is being sent over the airwaves by Christian television. False teaching is rampant on the internet through emerging organizations and bloggers. This we can be sure of because it was promised: “there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…” 2 Peter 2:1 (ESV).

After listing some historic examples of apostasy, and describing the heretics of his day, Jude commands seven things to be done in order to preserve the Church:

“But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” Jude 20-23 (ESV).

1. Build yourself up in the faith vs. 20a

The first thing he tells us is to “build yourselves up in your most holy faith.” All the doctrines and truths of our faith have been graciously given to us in the Scriptures. Acts 20:32 says that God’s Word “is able to build you up”! I can’t help but think that this was listed first on purpose; what better way is there to identify false teaching than to know the truth? I’m sure you have heard the illustration before—the best way to learn to recognize counterfeit bills is not the study the counterfeits but the real thing! It’s the same way with Christianity. This is our summons to study the Word; the more we are built up in the Scriptures, the better we will be able to spot the counterfeit.

2. Pray in the Spirit vs. 20b

Ultimately, if the Church is going to prosper, it will need the power of God on it. In Jude’s doxology he says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” Who is able to keep us from stumbling? Answer: God. Any effort to walk in truth, or build ourselves up in the faith, apart from God, will be futile. God commands us to pray! It is our wartime walkie-talkie. James says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16 ESV). Using the Bible to interpret the Bible I would reference Romans 8:26-27 to give insight as to what “in the Spirit” means. Paul writes,

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (ESV).

Aside from that, praying in the spirit could be said to be simply the opposite of praying in the flesh. James gives a good example of this in James 4:3. Praying in the flesh is praying “that you might spend it on your passions.”

3. Stay in the love of God vs. 21a

It is clear in Scripture that God’s love is never ceasing; the oft-quoted John 3:16 shows us that He loved us even before we were redeemed! Paul, towards the end of Romans eight, says that nothing can separate us from the love of God! What then does Jude mean, when he writes, “keep yourselves in the love of God”? John MacArthur says,

“[This command] means to remain in the place of obedience where God’s love is poured out on His children, as apposed to being disobedient and incurring His chastening” (John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary 1985).

I believe it could be related to Philippians 2:12 where Paul says, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Jude is saying that believers need to stay in a place of obedience where God can bless our lives.

4. Wait for Christ’s return vs. 21b

It may seem out of place, or like a strange commandment, but it is there. God desires that we wait for Jesus’ return! Not the kind of waiting that leads to slothfulness as the Thessalonians did, but with an eager anticipation that leads to action! The apostle John seems to say that having an anticipation of Christ’s return has a certain purifying power. He writes:

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” I John 3:2-3 (ESV).

5. Have mercy on doubters vs. 22

As is true whenever false teaching takes place, the propaganda began to frustrate the moving of the gospel in the hearts of those whom the Church was reaching out to. There was doubting among them; would they believe the Gospel, or the new teaching of the apostates? Jude urges the Church to show compassion to these people, continuing to preach the Gospel to them.

6. Evangelize the lost vs. 23a

His next two commands go along the same line. The beginning of verse twenty-three says this: “save others by snatching them out of the fire.” In modern-day vernacular: evangelize. Peter wrote that the Lord “[does not wish] that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”; that is the great commission. God does not want a stagnant, infertile Church. Just as he commanded Adam and Eve (as well as every other living thing that He created) to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28), He desires the Church—a living organism (Eph 4:15)—to do the same!

7. Carefully show mercy to the wicked vs. 23b

There is a textual variant in verse 23: the text behind the KJV produces only one group of people (hence, “Evangelize the lost,” and “Carefully show mercy to the wicked” would only be one command). The KJV reads, “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Either way, it doesn’t matter; the point remains the same. Jude is saying that there are some in the world who are so polluted by the heretical teaching that we need to be careful (“with fear”) when we try to reach them. Carelessly mingling with them could cause their teachings to pollute our faith.

This passage has been a challenge to me, and I pray that it has been to you! Grace and peace.

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Enduring Trials — James 1:1-18

James has come to be one of my favorite books. I love to study Paul and his theology, and I love to learn the doctrines found throughout the New Testament, but there is something refreshing and beautiful about the practicality found in the Book of James.

I have been teaching though it in my Sunday school class so i decided to post the general ideas in written form here.

James, to begin his very Jewish, highly practical letter to “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad,” writes a very intriguing, almost shocking sentence: “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (1:2 NASB). What? The word “joy” is probably the farthest word from our thoughts when we are in the middle of a trail, yet that is what the Holy Spirit inspired him to say.

In the first 18 verses of his letter James tackles the issue of trails. Two kinds of trials: outer trials, and inner trials. Those tribulations or hardships, that come upon us at the worst time, and the trials or “temptations” that peel our eyes away from God and onto the things He has told us to stay away from.

In the first twelve verses he takes on the the outer trials. Those hardships that come into our lives; often with no apparent reason. James gives his readers three steps to enduring this type of trial.

1. (2) First we need to have the right attitude in our trials.

Its only common sense that if we are going to make it through the rough times in our lives we are going to have to take a positive attitude towards them. This is obviously not easy for most of us; though it is common sense to take a positive attitude it is human nature to take a negative. But why “count it all joy”? A very good answer comes only ten verses later. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (1:12 ESV). Something which will help us be joyful in the middle of these trials is to understand his next point.

2. (3-4) Next we need to understand the advantage of our trials.

“for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:3-4 ESV). The Bible speaks in many places about trials, and all the good they work in our lives. Check out Romans 5:3-5, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 ESV). So looking at a given trial we should recognize that without this trail we would not have the chance to gain the endurance, character, and hope, along with the many other non-mentioned character traits that trials produce in our lives.

3. (5-12) Lastly we need to know where to get help during our trials.

One thing we know is that God is a God of compassion. He does not let us go through a trial and sit back and watch. God is there by our side to help us through. Psalm 46:1 says this: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (ESV). In verses 5-12 James reminds us that a very important key to making it through trials is knowing where to get help. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (1:5 ESV). God does not mind us asking him for wisdom and help, in fact He asks us to! He desires that we persistently ask Him for help. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7 ESV). The words “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” are all in the present tense, meaning a continuous action. The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates it this way, “”Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

the next type of trial is what we know as temptation. James begins this section on making it obvious what the origin of temptation is. He writes, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (1:13-14 ESV). So when we are tempted the first thing we can be sure of is that God is not behind it… and not only that, but Satan isn’t even necessarily behind it! James says, “…each person is tempted ….by his own desire”!

Next he gives what is sometimes called “the genealogy of sin.” “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (1:15 ESV). J. Ronald Blue writes

“The biological imagery is vivid. the lust or desire conceives and from this conception sin is born. The unmentioned father is most certainly Satan. The grotesque child, sin, then matures and produces its own offspring, death” (J. Ronald Blue, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, 822).

If our lives are conceiving and baring sin, and the father is Satan, than the obvious solution would be to ditch our relationship with him, and cling to the loving, awe-inspiring God, and “father of lights” spoken of in the following three verses! Clinging to God and seeking him is necessary for enduring both the inner and outer trials.

This passage has been a blessing and a help to me, and I hope it will be to you. As trails come into your life remember to have the right attitude through them, understand their advantage, and know where to get help during them, asking God for wisdom and strength through it all.