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Question:
In the Lord’s Prayer, what does “lead me not into temptation” mean? Does God lead us into temptation? Is God responsible for possible sin?

Answer:

No, God certainly does not tempt us, we find the unequivocable answer to that in James:

James 1:12-15 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (NKJV; emphasis mine)

We are tempted by own internal desires that originate from the curse of sin. Our fleshly desires turn to sin, which in turn leads to death. The death here can come in many forms: actual physical death, death of fellowship, death of security, death of happiness.

So what does “lead me not into temptation” mean? It is a plea to God to guide our steps so that we don’t follow our desires into sin; it is a plea to God to protect us from spiritual forces that can influence us to sin (Eph 6.12); and it is a plea to God to help us find our way home when we do stray (Luke 15.31).

We are not capable of keeping ourselves from sin without God’s help, so we petition God to protect us from being lead into temptation.

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