In James, it says God doesn’t tempt man.
And yet, we also have the Lord’s prayer directly from Jesus where he directs us to pray “lead us not into temptation”
In a related vein, we have the spirit leading Jesus up to be tempted in Matthew 4.
We also have Paul stating that God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can withstand in 1 Cor 10:13
We also have the book of Job where God allows Satan to nearly destroy him.
Is this one of those hard questions that might be left as something to be glossed over rather than one to be dug into? Many fear going in depth on this, as it is a hard thing to ponder. It’s perhaps all too easy to say its an issue of the precision of language. Ie, God doesn’t tempt us, he allows us to be tempted. Such an approach leaves us an out, and perhaps we should just take the bit about God not truly tempting us on a matter of faith. Ie, God is good, God would not tempt us… and we must not question God’s goodness or his sovereignty.
But, it sticks in my craw.
What is the ultimate difference between God doing the tempting vs God allowing the tempting. It still happens, and ultimately is not God responsible, even if he doesn’t do the actual tempting? It seems like the gamesmanship a lawyer or politician would try to use to pull a fast one. How does that square if God is truly good as the scriptures say he is? How are we to square this with the Jesus words about millstones and causing a little one to stumble? Is allowing Satan to do so vs doing it Himself really that much of an out?
I believe there are some times and places for leaving hard issues like this as a matter of faith… but I don’t believe such applies here. Rather, I think their might be a path to navigate through it, albeit the below is just my opinion
I believe God does lead us to temptation as a means of testing and growth, but we must also remember that Satan can just do it (1 Peter 5:8) and (Ephesians 6:11-12), plus I think we might seek out temptation all on our own. The later is I believe what Paul is referring to in when he tells us to flee from idolatry in 1 Cor 10:14, flee from the temptation of riches in 1 Timothy 6, flee from youthful lusts in 1 Timothy 2:22, and flee from sexual temptations such as prostitution and adultery in 1 Cor 6:18
And for other matters, God gives us to the tools to overcome temptation via 1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
The way of escape looks to be a couple things, standing firm on the one hand and pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness on the other.
Ephesians 6:15 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
1 Tim 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
It would do no good for God to keep us in bubblewrap, leaving us to our own devices to eventually wiggle out of it on our own, only to be swept up in evil as we have never exercised, or perhaps even been aware of the tools God gave us.
We grow when we learn how to overcome temptation as Peter talks about in 1 Peter 5:9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.