Jesus was really tempted
1. Christ could have sinned.
For a temptation to be real, the possibly to sin must exist. When Christ was tempted, He could Have sinned. If it was impossible for Christ to sin, the temptation would have been meaningless.
Mark 1:13; "And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him."
2. Christ's "flesh" was the same as ours.
If Christ's "flesh" was different from ours He could not be our high priest.
Heb 2:14-18; "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on him the nature of angels; but He took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted."
Heb 4:14-16; "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Romans 8:3; "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:."
3. When we are tempted we do NOT have to sin.
1 Cor 10:13; "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
2 Peter 2:9; "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"
4. It is not sin to be tempted.
Christ was tempted on every point, yet He did not sin
5. You do not need "a sin nature" to be tempted.
When Eve was tempted in the garden she did not have "a sin nature"
We are tempted through our natural appetites, not through a sinful nature. Our appetites are not sinful in themselves, for they have been given to us by God; but unless they are controlled by the Holy Spirit, they will become sinful. Just as a branch, even while grafted into a true vine needs the constant care of a gardener, so must we be cared for, guarded, guided by the Holy Spirit. We must deny any desire or craving for something not consistent with the Vine in which we abide.
To be tempted, man does not need to have a sinful nature; in fact, he is not tempted through a sinful nature, for that is not the object of the devil's attack. Man is tempted through his natural desires. These are not wrong in themselves, for they are God-given, and so are for man's good. But through wrong use, man's desires may become defiled, especially if the wrong use is habitual. Yet if properly controlled, these desires may remain pure and good.
The devil therefore seeks entrance through one or all of these three natural, fundamental desires -- to enjoy things, to get things, and to do things. Dr. Kyle's definition of temptation is rather difficult to improve upon: "Temptation is the incitement of our natural desires to go beyond the bounds set by God." We are tempted by Satan along the lines of our human desires. The devil does not tempt a sinful nature; there is no point in tempting evil with evil. In our case, human nature is a fallen nature, but not in the experience of Adam and Eve, nor of Christ (for they had no fallen nature). They did have a human nature which was temptable, for it had these three fundamental, natural desires which could respond to temptation. While man is temptable through these desires and can respond to the enticements or the allurements of the devil or the world, yet by the promise of Hebrews 2:18, "He is able to succor them that are tempted." Praise God for this truth!
Man is tempted "when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed." Usually we attach a bad meaning to the word lust, though strictly speaking, it means nothing more than a strong desire. The meaning of the Greek word lust is to "set the heart upon, to long for" (rightfully or otherwise). This is where the battle is joined. It is through his desires that man is enticed. Only when lust has conceived does it bring forth. Until the will marries the wrong desire, there is no conception. Unless the will yields to the enticement, there is no sin. Only when the will yields to the desire is there a conception and sin; the child of lust is born.
James 1:12; "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."