Quick note: the NIV 1984 has been removed from online resources, so I have switched one translation to the NIV. I'm disappointed that it's not available anymore, even though I'm using the ESV.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; (NIV)
13 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. (ESV)
This may seem like a sudden transition - from trials to temptations. But it's not really. Trials can become temptations.
John MacArthur: Every difficult thing that comes into my life either strengthens me because I obey God and stay confident in His care and trusting His power, and so I grow. Or I am tempted to doubt God, deny His Word, disobey, do what is expedient and thus I have fallen to the solicitation to do evil.
The same word that means an enticement to evil is also used to speak of a trial. The difference is how you respond to it. If you respond to a trial with obedience, then you find it a means of spiritual growth. If you respond to a trial with disobedience it has turned into a temptation and you have fallen prey to it. Every trial has the potential to become a temptation, depending on our response.
So, James makes this shift from trials, which lead to growth and blessing, to temptations which lead to sin and death. Every circumstance of life that we face then provides us with a decision. In fact, it requires a decision. Will I persevere? Will I move ahead in faith in God by obedience to His Word? Or will I listen to the voice that suggests the easy way out is disobedience and fall into sin?
Now if I fall into sin, whose fault is it? Is it God's fault who brings the trials or allows them? Is it the fault of my circumstances? Is it the fault of my being created by God the way I am and I can't help it? Whose fault is it?We have a tendency to blame anyone but ourselves for our own sin, don't we? Started with Adam - when God questioned him, he blamed both Eve and God! Eve blamed the snakes, and God since He created the snake. And we do the same - even if only subconsciously. God made me, He orchestrated my circumstances, He's sovereign - so it must be His fault.
In this verse, James makes it absolutely clear that temptation is absolutely not God's fault. We cannot blame Him or excuse ourselves. God cannot be tempted, and He tempts no one. Black and white.