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There are two sides to this interesting question. It is important to remember that this is not a question of whether Jesus sinned. Both sides agree, as the Bible clearly says, that Jesus did not si...
David wrote in Psalms 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” In 58:3 we read “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” David was stating one of three things. 1. He was illegitimate. 2. Sex is dirty/sinful. 3. He was born a sinner. We can disregard # 1 because his lineage is well documented. # 2. Within the realm of marriage we know sex is ordained of God. After all, he said be fruitful and multiply so we can trash this idea also. # 3 is the obvious and correct answer. David is stating that upon the moment of conception he obtained a sin nature, the propensity to sin. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12) Some would argue that sin resides in the body. This belief was the foundation for Flagellation, a prominent heretical practice of the 13th and 14th century. In an attempt toward self-mortification the practitioners would flog or otherwise whip themselves hoping to drive the “evil” from their flesh. Let me ask you, is your hand sinful? How about your foot? If you slap or kick someone do you blame the extremity? Let’s be real. The word “flesh” in the New Testament often refers to the desires, the seat of human emotion which according to the Word of God is rotten to the core. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Whom and what was Christ before His incarnation? God. He did not become God’s Son because he was born a baby but has always been The Son of God. This is a title of position, not origin. Yes, the virgin birth most definitely protected his impeccability but also a sign (Isaiah 7:14). In Matthew 1:20 we read: “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Whom and what Mary carried in her womb wasn’t the result of copulation or male contribution but simply a miracle of God, implanted by the Holy Ghost. The result was a person who WAS NOT shapened in iniquity nor was He conceived in sin like the rest of humanity. His is a divine nature dwelling in a physical, human body. Question: Did or could YHWH sin before His incarnation? Of course not! Although he became flesh upon incarnation there was no point he ceased from being God. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) Key phrases: “in the form of God”, “not robbery to be equal with God”, “made himself of no reputation” (He emptied himself, laid aside his form of God) “took upon him the form of a servant”, “was made in the likeness of men”, “he humbled himself”. Who did? Jesus Christ the Son of God. He created all things that exist and there is nothing existing that He did not make. (John 1:1-3) Hebrews 1:3 states: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Note it does not state he was similar to God but that he was the “express image of his person”, the exact representation. All the qualities, divine power and attributes of Almighty God were personified in our Lord Jesus Christ. If I decide to wear a particular coat because of an occasion does wearing a coat change me internally, change my nature or who I am? It only changes my outward appearance. Christ's veil of human flesh had no effect on His divine nature as He dwelt or tabernacled among His creation.
Christ could have sinned, but He didn't. (If it was not so, the bible would have to be rewritten or, worse, be shredded.) For that reason, we are called upon to imitate His life. A. The Messiah was both fully God & fully man while on earth. For His full divinity, please see my article on this link: http://ebible.com/questions/2790-did-god-die-if-jesus-was-god-and-jesus-died-on-the-cross-does-that-mean-god-died#answer-11629 Here I will demonstrate His full humanity, because He maintained the two attributes, AND THE TWO DID NOT INTERFERE WITH EACH OTHER. Another fundamental mystery of our faith. B. He was tempted In His divine nature, God cannot be tempted. James 1:13. But Jesus, in his humanity, was tempted. Heb 4:15, Luk 4:1-12. Jesus was CAPABLE of sin, but DID NOT sin. Hence He commands us to follow His example is because He proved that the Torah CAN be obeyed. C. Purpose The reason why God came in the form of man was to refute the claims of the enemy. (Most regrettably, many are repeating the devil’s claims today – that the Law cannot be obeyed. If the Law could indeed not be obeyed, then the devil was correct in heaven. Moreover, God must repeal the Torah, apologise to Noah’s generation, to Sodom & Gomorrah, to the devil & the demons (the third of angels who followed the devil). All these stand condemned because they transgressed the Law which could have been obeyed, as demonstrated by Jesus. If it turned out that there was no way they could have obeyed it, then the Divine Majesty must repent, see?) The cosmic conflict centers on the Torah. The devil says “It’s impossible to obey it.” And he has Adam as a trophy. (Although Adam was not deceived – 1 Tim 2:14) God says “It’s possible to obey it. I’ll prove it.” And He took on a human form. 1 Timothy 3:16, Col 1:19, Heb 1:3 Suppose parents were complaining that primary exams were too difficult for the kids. The head of the examining body, a professor, then says these exams are simple enough, & he comes to attend classes for a full three years, studying grades 5 to 7, at the end of which he sits the same exams with the pupils & achieves merit in every subject. Tell me, can the parents & teachers encourage the pupils to aim for merit because ‘someone’ had managed to achieve a merit? Isn’t that a joke? Or suppose you’re on a long journey with a robot. When you get tired & feel thirsty, you hear people encouraging you to imitate the robot & go on. Isn’t that an insult? Why would He pretend to shun sin – transgression of the Torah (1 John 3:4 KJV) – if He couldn’t sin? Jesus was capable of sinning, that’s why He calls on us to imitate Him. 1 Cor 11:1, 1 Pet 2:21, Mat 5:19. The bible would be a book of frauds, not worth listening to if Jesus was incapable of sinning. The devil’s claim has been refuted, but he is not ready to give up, that’s why he is peddling a new lie – that Christians are NOT required to observe the Torah (he is effectively fighting the Sabbath Commandment and dietary laws alone). And as the third of angels fell for his lie, so humans are falling for the same. The devil is claiming that the Torah cannot be obeyed, that only Jesus could because He is God, therefore humans need not obey. Jesus obeyed on their behalf, so that they need not do the same. Yet Jesus obeyed SO we can imitate Him! What a contrast! It’s like what Paul laments at Rom 7:10-12. Jesus came, and obeyed, that we may have life. But the devil, seizing the opportunity, is making the testimony of Jesus become death, in that men are in open rebellion BECAUSE Jesus obeyed! What a wretched generation we are. Jesus, like you and me, could have sinned. Jesus, unlike you and me, did NOT sin. We must look up to Him, and endeavor to imitate Him. Where we fail, He will cover us. 1 John 1:8-10, 1 John 2:1. But if we are in open rebellion, we can kiss good-bye to eternal life - Heb 10:26-27. Bless.
Jesus was tempted many times in His life on Earth, living in the flesh, dwelling among us, experiencing hunger, 'regular' pain, heat exhaustion, thirst, fatigue, 'incomprehensible' pain (on the cross at Calvary), aggravation, frustration with others, etc... Point being: He experienced every TYPE OF TEMPTATION: And, every feeling or emotion or pain that any and every human would experience and more than the extreme majority of all humans; i.e. The Cross! The Cross, to me is the single most 'human flesh pain enduring experience' that any human being could go through! ***Key point to understand is this: YES, Jesus Christ could have sinned, but HE did not commit a single solitary sin! Jesus came down from Heaven to be born as a babe, live in the flesh, be tempted by Satan, be our Holy example, our ultimate teacher and finally, OUR SAVIOR and The Sacrificial Lamb as our Sacrifice for all our sins!*** (Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:12, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 2:2) The sacrifice that Jesus made on that cross at Calvary was and is still the 'greatest sacrifice ever made or ever will be made in all of eternity'. "Praise God that He provided a Savior! And, His name is Jesus Christ!" ~~Andy~~
Concerning the question "If He could not sin, what was the point of the temptation?" - We are the point. Jesus' spotless record in the face of temptation is additional evidence for us, that He is who He says He is, much in the same way that new airplane models are exhaustively tested to prove to the FAA and the flying public that they will not fail under normal circumstances. Jesus, on the other hand, didn't fail in any circumstances.
In my view, Jesus had to have the capacity to sin and the free will to say NO in order to be my perfect substitute. He had to be like me in every way except that he did not inherit a sinful nature because he was born of God [see NOTE below]. I am so glad that when I accepted Jesus as my Saviour, the bible says that my sinful nature was crucified with him on the cross and his divine nature was given to me. I instantly became justified before a holy God because Jesus righteousness was imparted to me. Then Jesus sealed the new covenant by giving me his Holy Spirit who breathed life into my divine nature so I was born again. We think of temptation and sin in terms of the "law of God" and almost always in the context of "not doing the things we know are wrong". But Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to Love God and Love Other People. Love is a positive word and requires positive action. We were created anew in Christ to do the good works that have already been prepared in advance for us to do. We love God when we enable his kingdom to come and see his will done in and through our lives. We love other people when we say and do all the things that Jesus did for other people. I believe the greatest temptations that Jesus faced were failing to DO the will of God. When Jesus left heaven the bible says he emptied himself (Phil 2:5-11). He left is divine knowledge and divine power behind. As a man, he became utterly dependant on his intimate knowledge of the Scriptures, his daily guidance from his Father through prayer and the power of being filled with the Holy Spirit to direct his mission. [Just like we are]. But Jesus retained his divine nature and his authority as the Son of God. With this authority he could ask anything of his Father and it would be done for him in an instant. Let's take a look in scripture at this capacity to sin - to reject or disobey the will of God - that Jesus was keenly aware of. Matthew 26:39 My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way. All authority on heaven and earth had been given to Jesus. At any moment he could say "I can't take any more of this humble suffering, Father, get me out of here" and he would have instantly returned to heaven. But then how would the Father's salvation plan have been accomplished and how would everything the Holy Spirit prophesied in scripture be fulfilled. Jesus prayer and words above make no sense at all unless He had the complete authority and free will to say NO to the will of God and therefore sin by doing so. Jesus understood this struggle and willingly surrendered His will to His Father's will. As Jesus himself said "I only say the words that my Father gives me to say and I only do the things my Father tells me to do". His words are in the present & continuous sense - moment by moment, every day of his mission. This is the level of obedience that Jesus was called to and the level of temptation that he faced. Jesus fulfilled everything that was written about him in the scriptures. He fulfilled the will of God by delivering the gospel message and the love of God through his words, signs, wonders and miracles. Then he willingly laid down his life to pay the penalty for our sins. Then he picked it up again and became our advocate before a holy God in heaven. Now we have unrestricted access to the throne room of God to experience His presence and have an intimate personal relationship with Him. How sweet it is! The bible says Jesus was perfected through his suffering. How hard it was for Jesus to say "YES" every time to the will of God, when he was dealing with such sinful people and such a corrupt world filled with so much evil and wickedness. But I am so glad he did. Aren't you?
“If He could not sin, what was the point of the temptation?” is the question I want to consider. Though it has been touched on, I would like to offer a slightly different perspective. Since we will agree that God knows the “end from the beginning,” (Isaiah 46:10), the past present and future are all real to Him. He even infallibly knows what can be called “counterfactuals,” or things that could happen based on free-will but don’t. (1 Samuel 23:10-12) Therefore, it is reasonable to ask, Why does God permit anything to happen if He already knows all the details in advance? A reasonable conclusion is that our reality is His way of educating all His sentient creation. It is like we are all in school, the good, bad and the ugly. Our lives are our education to prepare us for the future He has planned for us whatever that might be. (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10) In Jesus’s case as well as Job’s and Abraham’s, (1 Peter 1:18-20;Job 42:11; James 2:21-23) the events, the outcomes of which were already known in advance, served as a witness for the entire creation to model. So when we experience trials and temptations of all sorts, we should ask, “What can I learn from this experience that will equip me for service in the future?”
It is in my full opinion that Jesus had the full capability to sin. Did he? No. That’s why it’s so important, it highlights the human condition and what a relationship with God is supposed to look like, a perfect relationship. There is nothing forcing you to sin or go against the will of God, it is made very clear that we as humans have control over our own actions and can choose to follow God; it is in our nature as humans that have sinned to always sin. We cannot be perfect because we are separated from God, and all good things come from God. That relationship is broken (then consequently repaired through Jesus, and fully reinstated after death and judgement), and therefore we cannot be perfect. Jesus on the other hand, has never sinned. His relationship with God (who is himself) is completely untarnished and pure; Jesus lives by only the word and nothing but the word out of his own free will. This is a glowing example of what a relationship with God as a human being is supposed to look like, and it is important to the representation of this relationship that he was, in fact, capable of sinning just as Adam and Eve had the capability to sin. The difference is that while he had the option to sin, Jesus never would and never will because his relationship with God is pure and unbreakable; simply because he lives by the word and absolutely nothing other than the word of God and the relationship that grew between them. He knew what it was like to be human, to be born a human. All of his strength and glory came directly from God, just as man should also. This is why it is stated that Jesus gave up his divine rights in heaven and instead came to earth as a human; to lead all of humanity by example of what they can achieve and choose not to. A perfect relationship and reliance on God.
I believe Jesus could have sinned, but He did not. I base my belief primarily on the combination of these two verses: (1) Sin is falling short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,), and (2) Jesus CHOSE to die on the cross for us (John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.). Jesus could have chosen not to lay down His life. If that had been His choice, He would have fallen short of the glory of God (so therefore, He COULD have fallen short/sinned). Also, Nathan Toronga has made several excellent points.
This question is very challenging because it borders on accurate leadership and the personality of Jesus Christ. Titus 1:7, "Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless, not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain". This perfectly describes the expectation of Godly leadership, and Christ is someone who believes in perfect righteousness, which literality means a life devoid of sin. Sin is considered a wrong aspect of life, hence Christ teachings is always to encourage Christians on what is good, and the odd that goes with evil, and also emphasized that a sinner has no place in his fathers' house, which is in heaven. Humans' are not as accurate like him, and must therefore, be able to express the characteristics and expectation for those that value faithfulness, and the worship of God as necessary. Jesus was tempted, to show that he was living with humans in the world, and the world consists of both the good and the bad. But He was able to express himself that he tolerated no evil, and any evil that comes must not be allowed to exist around us (Luke 4:1-13). The good lesson, for human is the observation that the world bears evil, and if a believer is not adequately equipped with the holy spirit as guidance, he/she may easily fall victims to temptations. Hebrews 4:15; 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. Temptation is the inclination to sin, and can be considered as, the state of being attracted and enticed" without anything to do with moral, ethical, or ideological valuation, and which could also, affects the degree of moral standards in public decision making. Temptation is usually used in a loose sense to describe actions which indicate a lack of self-control, that is, something that allures, excites, and seduces easily. And that, successful endeavors of goal-driven activity is usually threatened by the tempting nature of immediate pleasure, of which consequences is dangerous. John 16:33; "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
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