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.

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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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“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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Jacob Arminius and the Doctrine of Original Sin, Part 6

By John A. Aloisi. Reproduced from DBSJ 21 (2016) with permission. This installment continues Consideration of Original Sin and the Justice of God and concludes. Read the series.

The Providence of God

The providence of God] may be defined the solicitous, everywhere powerful, and continued [intuitus] inspection and oversight of God, according to which he exercises a general care over the whole world, and over each of the creatures and their actions and passions, in a manner that is befitting himself, and suitable for his creatures, for their benefit.106

So Arminius defined the providence of God. Perhaps especially important is the fact that he spoke about God’s providence as “everywhere powerful” but did not indicate that God’s providence is actually all-powerful. He also referred to God’s providence being exercised in a manner that is “suitable for his creatures.” This statement seems to point out the direction that Arminius’s understanding of providence will take. In this brief definition, Arminius’s picture of God’s providence seems to be shaped by the creation rather than the will of the Creator.

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Jacob Arminius and the Doctrine of Original Sin, Part 5

By John A. Aloisi. Reproduced from DBSJ 21 (2016) with permission. This installment continues the study of Original Sin Itself, and follows a look at the defitions of Original Sin held by Augustine and Aquinus. Read the series.

The Relationship of Original Sin to “Actual Sin”

Arminius placed great emphasis on the “event” of sin. In his view, sin consists in action.82 It is an event much more than it is a state or condition. Arminius therefore drew a sharp distinction between original sin and “actual sins” which people commit at a specific point in time.83 Actual sin is “that sin which man commits, through the corruption of his nature, from the time when he knows how to use reason.”84 People are born with original sin, but they commit actual sins when they choose to transgress God’s law.

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