Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Contradictions In The Bible 13 :
Could Jesus have yielded to temptation to sin?
Hebrews 2:17-18 reads concerning Jesus: "For this reason he had to be made like his
brothers in every way [kata panta], in order that he might become a merciful and faithful
high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the
people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who
are being tempted" (NIV). This passage indicates that Jesus really came under temptation
in the way that any child of Adam is confronted with temptation, for "he was made like
his brothers in every way." He would not have been made like His fellow men if He had
not been made capable of yielding to the temptation--any more than a hippopotamus can
be said to be tempted to fly through the air.
Apart from ability to yield to the temptation to sin, there is no temptation at all. There
has to be a deliberate decision to reject what has attractiveness and appeal of some sort to
the person attacked by temptation. When man is tempted, he must be confronted by
something that requires him to choose between compliance or refusal. Therefore we must
conclude that unless Hebrews 2:18 is in error, Jesus Christ had the ability to give in to the
temptations that Satan directed against Him. Otherwise He would not have been tempted
"like his brothers in every way."
A little further on we read in Hebrews 4:15: "For we do not have a high priest who is
unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in
every way, just as we are--yet was without sin" (NIV). The last phrase inserts "was" in
order to clarify the obvious intention of the Greek phrase choris hamartias ("without
sin"). KJV omits the "was" and renders the phrase "yet without sin." But even if the
"was" is omitted, the basic meaning remains the same; it is no sin to be tempted, but it is sin if we yield to temptation. The consideration added by this last verse is the element of sympathy," i.e., the ability to understand the feelings of the one tempted and feel
compassion toward him during his crisis. If Christ had been utterly incapable of sin, even
as the Son of Man, then it is hard to see how He could have felt sympathy for sinners.
On the other hand, there is another sense in which we may say that Christ was incapable
of sin, and that is in the psychological sense. When the patriot says, "I could never betray
my country to its foes," or "I could never be unfaithful to my dear wife," he is speaking
not of a physical inability but of a psychological inability. He has no personal desire to
commit the evil he is being solicited to do; in fact, he finds it repellant and distasteful, not
so much the act in itself, but the evil consequences that would ensure from that act.
Because Jesus was completely in love with His heavenly Father, He could never have brought Himself to grieve Him or go counter to His know will.
Gleason L Archer