In Matthew 6:13, Jesus prays that God "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Why would he pray this, if God cannot tempt us? — Michael Tedrick (Atlanta)
God tempts no one, according to James 1:13. If "tempt" in Matthew 6 is the same word and meaning as "tempt" in James 1, we seem to have a problem. Yet as you know, words are often used different ways in different passages and contexts. There are at least two meanings of "tempt":
* Test — with the connotation of proving, refining, or strengthening (Matthew 6).
* Entice — with the aim of breaking down one’s resistance so that he will give in to sin (James 1).
In the Lord’s Prayer, it is the first sense of the word which Jesus is using. Not that we are never to be tested in this sense! The prayer is that we will not be led into temptation that would overwhelm us. God’s solid promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 stands! He will not test us with greater pressure than we are able to endure.
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