More thoughts on Christ and Temptation…
One of these days I really must look at changing my blog layout. Though I do like the one I’ve been using there is one aspect I wish were different: the poor visibility of your comments, and the even poorer visibility of my responses to them.
If you look very carefully, down at the bottom of each post you will find in small, very light font a list if options… something like this,
but it looks like this,
Most miss-able indeed!
If you click on the “Leave a Comment” link you will be able to do so, but few readers notice the link and consequently comments are rare. Once a comment has been left, however, it is easy to be seen following that blog.
The July 9 post, “Could Jesus Have Sinned,” was such a post with a good reader comment. Because these are easily overlooked I repeat my responses here as today’s post for your consideration…
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In Gal. 5:16 Paul writes, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” We tend to walk in and out of the Spirit and likely will until heaven. Jesus walked always in vital union with the Spirit and Father, excepting that dreadful moment on the cross (Matt.27:46).
A Spirit filled Christian seeing someone drop their wallet would be compelled to chase after the owner and return it. If this Christian is asked, “Why didn’t you keep it?” he may well reply, “Oh, I couldn’t do that!” Well, he could, but He couldn’t. Why? “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set [him] free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). So long as he walks in the Spirit, and until all sin is taken from him. Christ always walked by the Spirit.
On the matter of Christ being tempted “in all points like as we are” (Heb. 4:15), I think it important to distinguish between the virtue being tested and the means used to effect that testing.
When a man is tempted to vanity he may be enticed to purchase and flaunt an extravagant sports car, a fine yacht, or expensive electronics. When a woman is tempted to vanity she may be excessive in her clothing, beauty treatments, or socializations with some elite clique. Both are tempted on the same point, vanity, but the bait must necessarily be different. Christ was tempted to vanity also. It was the second of his great temptations while Jesus was in the wilderness.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’” (Matt. 4:5-6).
The devil had been taunting Jesus, challenging His identity. He dared Christ to prove His divinity by performing this act of indulgence. “If you are the Son of God,” he said. But Jesus asserted the Word of God over competition of vanity. He said, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”(v.7).
Like the man and the woman, so too Christ was tempted on the point of vanity, and as in the case of the man and the woman, so too with Christ the bait had to be tailor-made.
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3 thoughts on “Friday, 7/30/21 – More thoughts on Christ and Temptation…”
It does help John, but you’re right, my mind is finite, so I’m still a little confused, as to how Jesus can know temptation as we do, when He couldn’t sin and we can. That being said, I know that we will not know everything on this side of heaven…but sometimes, I wish we could. Thanks for your reply and your blog John. 🙂
John, maybe I’m too thick to understand this, but I think it is the word “tempted” that has me scratching my head. To me the very idea of being tempted indicates that that person can succumb. Now if Satan had just taunted Jesus, that would make more sense to me. Do you know the Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew word used for tempted?
You are not “thick” at all Barbara; you are very intelligent as your insightful and probing questions demonstrate. What you are, and what we all are is finite. Finite minds trying to grasp the workings and nature of infinite God. Of course this is impossible! Best we can do is poke new angles of looking at Him into our heads and possibly, by their consideration, gain new confidences in, and marvel more deeply at, Him.
The Greek words used in the Matthew 4 account of Christ’s temptation and in Heb. 4:15 where we read “He was in all points tempted…” are the same, all deriving from the root: πεῖρα, transliterated “peira.” The word means “to attempt a thing, to make trial of a thing or of a person… to experience, learn to know by experience.”
I am not a fisherman, but those who are will be well familiar with the idea of pound test, or line test. This refers to a fishing line’s strength, I.e. the most weight that a particular line can hold before it will break. In manufacturing these, various weight tests are given the line to determine its strength. Once learned, the manufacturer is able to make a guarantee that a particular line will not disappoint you up to its stated limit, be that 20, 30, 40, 50lbs pull or whatever.
And so the devil comes at Christ, pulling at Him, yet Christ does not yield. He was tested and showed His Strength, the Strength of the pure and Holy Spirit of God – the same Spirit that indwells every child of God. The Spirit which, when we choose to “walk in Him,” will keep us from sinning also. (Gal. 5:16; 1 John 3:9, 5:18).
Hope this is helpful Barbara, but I’m no guru here. Ultimately we are all just finite beings marvelling before our infinite and awesome God!