Anthropology

Was Jesus Tempted? Could Jesus Have Sinned? (Part 2)

The Temptation in the Wilderness - Briton Rivière

Read Part 1.

Could Jesus Have Sinned?

In other words, should we refer to Christ during his state of humiliation as impeccable or peccable? The terms “impeccable” and “peccable” do not, in this context, refer to the commission of sin but simply to the ability or susceptibility to sin. Thus, the question is not whether Jesus was born with a sinful nature. Nor is the question whether or not Jesus ever committed any actual sin. The Scriptures in no uncertain terms affirm the purity and sinlessness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1 John 3:5). The question is, rather, was the human nature of Christ able or susceptible to sin during Jesus’ earthly ministry?

I believe the correct answer is both “no” and (a qualified) “yes.” Let me explain.

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Was Jesus Tempted? Could Jesus Have Sinned?

The Temptation in the Wilderness - Briton Rivière

The greatest battle ever waged on earth’s soil took place two thousand years ago in the desert of Palestine. There met the champions of evil and righteousness. Satan, the most intelligent and powerful creature ever made and who’d become the archenemy of God, stood toe-to-toe with the Promised Descendant of Eve, Jesus of Nazareth, the long-awaited Messiah and the Son of God. It was a conflict of cosmic proportions. And the final outcome of his battle determined the destiny of men.

Temptation or Test?

Each of the three synoptic Gospels refer to an event at the beginning of Christ’s ministry that’s commonly known as “the temptation of Christ.” Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days where he was tempted by Satan (Matt 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).

Some question whether we should refer to this ordeal as the temptation of Christ. After all, Jesus is fully God. According to James 1:13, God cannot be tempted. Moreover, the Greek verb πειράζω, commonly translated “to tempt,” can signify to examine or reveal the nature or character of something or someone by submitting it to a test. Hence, it is often translated “to test” or “to examine” (e.g.s., Gen 22:1 [LXX]; Exod 20:20 [LXX]; John 6:6; 2 Cor 13:5; Heb 11:17; Rev 2:2).1 Accordingly, scholars like Birger Gerhardsson prefer to view this ordeal as “The Testing of God’s Son.”2

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“It has become a common trope to argue that the Bible calls us to Christlikeness, not biblical manhood and womanhood. This is a category error.”

"Christlikeness looks different in different domains. Just consider: Christ offers particular commands to women and others to men; some to masters and others to bondservants; some to fathers and others to children; some to young men, others to old men, and still others to older women; some to pastors and others to church members. He has also ordained that some be born Gentile and some Jew; some barbarian and some Greek." - 9 Marks

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Both body abuse and body adoration fail us

"'You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body' (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We are to glorify God with our bodies, not glorify our bodies. As Christians, our bodies are sacred, as the Lord has taken up residence in our lives. If we speak poorly of your bodies we are speaking negatively about where God lives, about His house." - Church Leaders

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“Anthropology lies at the center of contemporary controversies both inside and outside the church.”

"Anthropology is a topic of ecclesiastical concern in my own denomination. Last summer at its General Assembly, the Presbyterian Church in America appointed a study committee to consider questions related to human sexuality, having only two years earlier received a report on women in ministry.

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From the Archives: The Dignity of Being Human

The other day I was driving in downtown Kokomo and saw a comical sight—comical for me, at least. A man in pickup truck was backing into a parking space, tapped the streetlight pole with his truck’s bumper, and—boom! Down she went. Although he did not hit the pole hard, one weighty tap was all it took.

We, too, are fragile. In Psalm 103:13-14, the psalmist reminds us that, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (ESV).

The fact that we are vulnerable does not mean we are not valuable. God’s compassion is showered upon us like the compassion of a loving father. He values us so intently that He did not spare his own Son for us (Rom. 8:32).

Our human dignity comes from God. Understanding human dignity is a theological point, but that does not preclude it from being an important issue in daily life. It is a crucial matter that affects the life and death decisions we make.

In Genesis 2:7, we are told that mankind originated from the dust: “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

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