From God or from Evil Powers?

William C. Brownson

READ : James 1:12-18

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. (v. 17)

Question: How can we tell the difference between the chastisement God sends us and the evils from Satan? (from Guyana, South America)

Answer: James warns us not to say, “I am being tempted by God” (v. 13), for God tempts no one. God is not responsible for temptation. That’s the devil’s work, aided by the wayward desires of our own hearts. Nor should we see the malice of other humans as from God. He allows it to happen, but such evils never represent what he wants. Sickness and physical affliction are in somewhat the same category. God’s will for his people is not sickness but health, not death but life.

At the same time, God is at work somehow in the things that come upon us. He may choose to use evil as an agent for our good. He is the Lord who can make the wrath of men to praise him and the malice of Satan to serve his design.

We see this supremely in the Cross. The rejection and crucifixion of Jesus was engineered by the powers of evil. Human agents were also responsible: the envy of the priests, the cowardice of Pilate, the treachery of Judas, the brutality of the soldiers. Yet somehow God’s hand was over all of it. The powers of evil were at work with malicious intent to destroy Christ, but God was at work to save us through that same tragic event. God can work in the worst of evils to fulfill his loving, saving purpose.


May your purpose be clear to me.