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Could Jesus have given in to temptation?

Postby Jilly Bean » Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:50 am

Can God sin or does He choose to be perfect?

My thought: If God cannot be tempted, then Jesus cannot be tempted.

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."

As I understand it, Jesus was tempted, but was above giving in to sin.

Peter says Jesus cannot give in to sin because of His God nature.

My problem: If Jesus cannot make the choice to remain sinless, then how does the fact that He is sinless show He understands? If He can't choose to sin, but we can, where is the equivalent? We can choose to sin and must resist. If he can't choose to sin, then resistence doesn't mean anything. If He can't choose to remain sinless, how is He fully man? We can choose to sin and must flee temptation. If He can't choose to sin, then He does not have to resist as we do.
Jilly Bean

Re: Could Jesus have given in to temptation?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:08 am

Great question, Jilly Bean. It seems like an unresolvable paradox, but I think I can help. Here’s how I understand it.

Jesus could not sin. It was not possible. As God, sin was never a choice. He is perfect, and therefore, because of His God nature, He was incapable of sinning.

We also have to understand that even nurturing or relishing the temptation in one’s mind for an inordinate amount of time can cross the line into sin. Matthew 5 teaches that sin can happen in the mind long before it happens in our actions. So Jesus could not have even gone there.

But temptation for Him had the same dynamic as it does for us. It had the same emotional impact, spiritual draw, and even physical gnawing, and that’s where He can identify with us. He was tempted just as we are. He experienced the temptation just as we do, even though He didn’t have the same potential for sin through it—“yet without sin.” Let me offer some examples.

After Jesus’s baptism the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. There he fasted for 40 days. In other words, He was desperately hungry. When Satan approached Him to turn the stones into bread, he was experiencing that temptation on the same level and with the same dynamic we do. His body craved food. His mind was keyed in to fulfilling that hunger. He was tempted just as we are, and it was real.

In another temptation He was offered dominion of the world. We know that dominion of the world is His rightful possession, and He was here to become (eventually) King of kings and Lord of lords. In other words, He was being offered something that was authentically one of His goals. So the temptation was real. The same dynamic that pulls us to a quest for power was pulling Him to a quest for power. He experienced that temptation with all of the same triggers being pulled, all the same switches in his mind and soul being flipped. He was tempted just as we are, and it was real.

On the cross He was taunted with, “If you are really the Christ, come down from the cross.” We all know He could have done it. That taunting challenge had the same pull on Him that it has on us. It was in that sense that He can sympathize with our weaknesses, that He was temped in every way just as we are.

We see some of these same paradoxes in other areas of Jesus’s life. On the website people have asked me (or tried to claim), “Jesus’s sacrifice wasn’t a real sacrifice. He knew He would rise again, so it was no sacrifice at all, but only a temporary blip. Therefore Jesus didn’t sacrifice Himself for our sins.” This, of course, is incorrect. It was a real sacrifice. The dynamic of it was the same as any other sacrifice: his pain was real, the mental challenge of it was the same, and the cost was severe.

Others ask, “How could Jesus have grown in wisdom if He were omniscient?” These are all versions of the same question. Jesus truly experienced all the realities of humanity even though He was divine.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more, disagree, or discuss as you wish.
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Re: Could Jesus have given in to temptation?

Postby Jilly Bean » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:00 pm

Thanks Jim. I appreciate your taking the time to reply in so much detail. I think maybe it is one of those things I won't understand, as so often I have to say, "His ways are not our ways". He has proven Himself to me so many times in my life, that when I don't understand, I just accept on faith that I don't have to. He is our God, He is faithful, His sacrifice on the cross is far beyond anything I will ever understand because I am a sinner and God will never turn away from me. It is still hard to resolve His temptation as the same as ours when He did not have a choice and we do, but I know that I don't have to understand that completely. I can accept that there are parts of God that won't be clear until we get to heaven. How do we then accept God's ways? Just as a young child cannot understand why Mommy would take him to the doctor to get a shot, I will take God at His word that this is something I don't have to understand.

Last bumped by Anonymous on Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:00 pm.
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