Hamartiology

“Is the coronavirus God’s judgment for sin? The answer must be yes.”

"All the effects of the curse are God’s judgment upon the sin of humanity, and [are] God’s continual, providential engagement with creation (cf. Isaiah 24:1-13, Lamentations 3:37-39). God’s involvement in governing creation has not ceased upon the introduction of sin, but continues ...When the scourge of the curse befalls his people, our reaction should be to evaluate our lives in light of God’s holy judgment." - Ref21

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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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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.

1983 reads

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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“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 Greater Sin: Are There Degrees of Sin? (Part 4)

Read the series.

The Unpardonable Sin Today?

In light of these and other passages, it seems difficult to deny that there is such a thing as an “unpardonable sin” or what Jesus calls, “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” But the possibility of such a sin raises many difficult questions, especially for pastors. Was the unpardonable sin unique to the first century? Or is it still possible for someone to commit this sin today? If so, how shall we counsel the struggling soul who believes he has commit­ted this sin and can no longer be forgiven? Can we know whether someone has committed this sin? If so, should we pray for their salvation or refrain from doing so?

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The Greater Sin: Are There Degrees of Sin? (Part 3)

Read the series.

There is an unpardonable sin.

Jesus’ greatest critics were the scribes and the Pharisees. As we have seen above, they were religious men who possessed much biblical knowledge but who refused to submit to God’s will. On one occasion, they actually accuse Jesus of per­forming miracles by the power of the devil rather than by the power of God. Jesus’ response is tremendously sobering:

Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blas­phemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation (Mark 3:28-29).

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The Greater Sin: Are There Degrees of Sin? (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

Why does God treat some sin more seriously than other sin? The answer to that question depends upon at least two factors: the degree of light the sinner possesses, and the degree of intention involved in the sin. Let’s consider each of these in turn.

1. The degree of one’s guilt is relative to the degree of one’s knowledge of truth.

In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus teaches this principle by way of an illustration:

And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare him­self or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

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