Arminians snarl whenever the Calvinist doctrine of reprobation comes up. Reprobation is God's intentional hardening of the hearts of those that He has passed over in election, leaving them to the judgment that their wickedness earns them. Arminians claim that this makes God the author of sin, in violation of James 1:13.
And it must be confessed that James does indeed say there that "God tempts no one."
Yet, in I Kings 22:20, the inspired text has Jehovah seeking a spirit to "entice" (some versions, "deceive") Ahab, the wicked king of Israel. See also Jeremiah 20:7 and Ezekiel 14:9, where the same Hebrew word is used for God's deceiving of false prophets.
I think that the distinction between these two contrasting concepts is that James is addressing Christians, while the Old Testament references are to unbelievers. That is, God does not place stumblingblocks in the paths of believers, His elect and beloved people, but does trip up hypocritical professors, using their own wickedness to bring consequences into their present lives as a foretaste of their judgment to come.
This is reprobation! This is God provoking the sin nature in those whom He has rejected! And it not to bring about their repentance, but rather to confirm them in their spiritual rebellion.
This should be a thunderous warning to unbelievers. If you are reading this, but have never submitted to the lordship of Christ, you have great reason for fear. Judgment isn't waiting for you to die and pass into eternity. Rather, it is happening now, in this life, and is a costly burden to bear. The last chapter of I Kings goes on to describe the death of Ahab, lost without any remaining hope of redemption. I beg you not to follow his path!
Hanging on His Every Word
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