Temptation

Was Jesus Tempted? Could Jesus Have Sinned? (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

What’s the Relevance to Us?

The questions I’ve raised above are not ivory tower speculations. I believe these questions are important to answer if we are to understand fully the implications Christ’s temptation as well as his victory over temptation for you and me. Consider the following three points of practical application:

(1) Unless the Jesus Christ had faced real temptations and successfully endured those temptations as a real man not yet glorified, He could not be our Savior from sin.

That’s pretty relevant, wouldn’t you say? Is that not the logic of Hebrews 5:8-9?

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Heb 5:8-9).

In order to become “the source of eternal salvation,” Jesus had to be “made perfect.” And in order to be “made perfect,” Jesus had to “learn obedience through what he suffered.” In other words, He had to become like Adam. But where the First Adam failed, the Second Adam had to succeed. That is precisely what He did: “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:19).

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David French reflects on “the distinctions between recklessness, courage, and cowardice.”

"There exists within Christianity a temptation to performative acts that masquerade as fearlessness. In reality, this recklessness represents—as the early church father John Chrysostom called it—'display and vainglory.'" - Coronavirus, Courage, and the Second Temptation of Christ

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“Satan tempts us to not fear sin, so that we will not keep a safe distance from it.”

On Thomas Brooks (d.1680):  "Brooks characterized this strategy as 'making the soul bold to venture upon the occasions of sin.' Like many of the devil's lies, it distorts a truth, namely that temptation is not sin. The Christian who is tempted only sins when he surrenders to the temptation; being outwardly tempted is not a sin.

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The Bible and "Gay Christians"—Are We Sending the Right Message?

Debate over whether there can be such a thing as a “gay Christian” has raged for a while now, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Much of the conflict is over deeply incompatible views on the authority of Scripture, and the right basic approach to interpreting it. Some of the conflict, though, might not be necessary at all—because it arises from a combination of unclear language and slightly (but consequentially) faulty interpretation.

If we could clear some of this up, we’ll relate the Bible better to the times we live in and—as much as possible—avoid sending the wrong message. Three principles may help.

1. Scripture doesn’t condemn anyone for an “orientation.”

The currently popular idea of sexual orientation as a person’s unalterable sexual wiring has no equivalent in Scripture. Many of us doubt that orientation, in this sense, is even a thing. That aside, what’s clear is that the Bible nowhere judges anyone for unbidden feelings of attraction toward those of their own sex rather than (or in addition to) those of the opposite sex.

Some passages may seem to do that.

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From the Archives: Getting Pleasure Right

Reprinted with permission from Spiritual Reflections.

In The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer made the following assertion in an insightful chapter entitled, “Why We Must Think Rightly About God”: “The most portentous [weighty] fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God” (p. 9).

Tozer does not mean that one’s words or actions are of little consequence. Rather, he means that one’s view of God serves as the control center for one’s words and actions (Luke 6:43-45, James 4:1). False views about God will naturally and inevitably issue forth in a lifestyle that, despite all pretensions to the contrary, dishonors God (Matthew 23:1-36). Conversely, right beliefs about God have the potential to fuel genuinely righteous deeds.

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