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

1 comment:

Helen said...

A helpful and clear examination of the controversy. The final paragraph in bold hits the heart of the matter as to why we (I) fail, especially when I relapse into worshipping idols, rather than Him. Must try harder (!), nay rather submit, and have no other gods...

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