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God Tests Man to Edify Him
God does test us (1 Thessalonians 2:4; Job 7:18; Psalm 17: 3; 11:4-5; 26:2). But the tests that we encounter should never be understood as allowed for the purpose of luring us to sin. James wrote, “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” (James 1:13).
God’s purpose in trying us is like that of the refiner, who casts his material into the fire with the hope that a purer metal will be the result (Proverbs 17: 3; Psalm 66:10; Isaiah 48:10). As the refiner purifies fine metals, so the Lord cleanses us in the fires of affliction (Jeremiah 17:10; Malachi 3: 3; Job 23:10; 1 Peter 1:7). God tries us as a disciplinary measure (Job 5:17; 23:10; Ecclesiastes 3:18,19).
Personal faith goes through the process of trying that it might shine brighter (1 Corinthians 3:13, 15; Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 1:14; 2:18; 19:12). God tried Abraham when He asked him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice (Hebrews 11:17). Abraham needed to go through this difficult experience in order that his faith might reach maturity. And God tried Joseph (Psalm 105:19) and his faithfulness was greatly rewarded.
Also, God allowed calamity to come upon ancient Israel to try the nation’s loyalty to Him (Deuteronomy 13: 3; Deuteronomy 8:16). He tried them with the manna (Exodus 16:4; Judges 3:4). And He tried them by the affliction of other nations to teach them that the way of apostasy does not pay (Judges 3:1; 2:22; Judges 3:4). And in the New Testament, Christ tried Philip in order to help his faith grow (John 6:5,6). Thus, we see that tests are means for spiritual growth (2 Corinthians 2:9).
The Devil Tries Man to Make Him Fall
Satan tests us with the intention of causing us failure and eternal death (Genesis 3:1-5; James 1:15; Revelation 12:9). Satan tried Christ (Matthew 4:1-11). But Christ overcame him by the power of the Word and prayer. When people disconnect from God they fall into sin (John 15:6; Luke 8:13). Satan is constantly tempting men like “a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore, the Lord admonishes the believers, “submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Trials Produce Edification
Trials are inflicted by Satan but overruled by God for purposes of mercy (Romans 8:28). For this reason, God tells us to rejoice for “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
In addition to producing virtue, the Lord tests man for judgement: “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10). In the great day of final Judgement, it is those who have done the will of God who will enter the kingdom (Matthew 7:21–27; 16:27; Revelation 22:12).
Believers Are to Test the Spirits
God wants His children to test the spirits by His Word. John wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Also, Paul stressed the same truth, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
And for the very purpose of testing the spirits, God bestows on the church the gift of distinguishing between true and false spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10). The Bereans were “fair-minded” because they listened to Paul, but they also checked the Scriptures to see whether he had been teaching the truth or not (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Likewise, it is the duty of each believer to test everything that he reads and hears by the inspired writings of the prophets and apostles (Isaiah 8:20).
In His service,