Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Jesus Was Tempted But Was Without Sin

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

I love to discuss theology. I love to talk about doctrine and beliefs. Good thing – since that is my calling and career. I bet there aren’t too many who love these things.

One of the theological discussions I enjoy surrounds the thought of Jesus’ temptations. It is clear through Scripture that Jesus was temped. Today’s passage says – Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

That Jesus was tempted is not really in question. What seems to be in question is whether Jesus could or could not sin when tempted. Is a temptation a temptation if there is no possible way you could yield to the temptation and sin? That is a significant question.

Whether Jesus could sin or not is cloaked in His nature. Jesus’ nature as the second Adam – was different than our nature for sure. 1 Corinthians 15:45–49 – 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

Jesus was not born by the will or desire of man or woman. Jesus was not created by the will of man or women but was implanted into Mary by the Holy Spirit. Thus – He was not born with Original Sin upon Him. John 1:9–13 – 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Yet – as the second Adam – I believe that Jesus could have sinned – He resisted sin. Some of my esteemed colleagues might suggest that Jesus couldn’t have sinned. In theological circles this is called the impeccability of Christ. I rather – as stated – believe that He could have sinned but didn’t. This is called Christ’s peccability.

The fact that He did not sin is also not in question. He was tempted – He did not sin – both are clear in Scripture. 2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 1 Peter 2:22 – “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 

In The Sermon on the Mount Jesus instructs us how to resist sin – but controlling the thought life. If we don’t hate – we won’t murder – if we don’t lust – we won’t commit adultery – if we love our enemies – we will be modeling God’s love. Jesus ends this section with these instructions – Matthew 5:48 – Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jesus set an example for us to follow. He did not set an example we could never hope to follow. He resisted sin and we can too – by walking with God as He did. God has promised a way out of all temptations. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Jesus could have sinned but didn’t. He set the example for us to follow. He calls us to walk His walk – in perfect harmony with the Father. We can defeat the devil and his temptations. We can resist sin. If He couldn’t have sinned – I’m not sure He could help us resist sin – because we would face temptation in a way He never did.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.


March 15, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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