[b]Following Jesus Who Was Tempted As We Are[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
The secret of a godly life lies in receiving revelation on the fact that Jesus lived on earth in a flesh exactly like ours, was tempted through every lust that dwelt in that flesh and yet never sinned even once in thought, word, deed, attitude or motive, or in any other way ( 1 Tim 3:16 and Heb 4:15)
Temptation is not the same as sin. James 1:14, 15 makes it clear that ever person is tempted through the lusts in his own flesh. This was how Jesus was tempted too (Heb 4:15). But God's Word says that those lusts have to conceive before sin can be born. For this to take place, the mind has to give an assent to the temptation. Jesus' mind never assented even once to temptation. As a result the lusts in His flesh never got an opportunity to conceive as sin in His heart. The lusts were put to death in the flesh itself. His heart was pure. Thus He made a new and living way through His flesh (Heb 10:20), in which we can walk today, because our flesh is the same as His was.
The Bible teaches that Jesus received an education through His temptations in the days of His flesh. In each temptation He learnt obedience by suffering in the flesh and thus He was perfected [became complete] (Heb 5:7-9). Thus He became a Forerunner for us to follow (Heb 6:20)
Now He can sympathize with us in our struggle against temptation, because He has been through that struggle Himself having been made in all things exactly like us, His brothers (Heb 2:17-18, 4::15; 12:2-4)
The purity of Jesus was not something that He received on a platter, but one that He acquired through battles. But those battles were not endless ones. Each lust in the flesh was conquered one after the other. Thus, over the period of His lifetime, every single lust that dwelt in the flesh of man was completely overcome.
The school of temptation is just like any other school. We all have to start in the kindergarten class. Jesus also started here. But He never spent more than the minimum time necessary in each class. By the time He was 33 years old, when He died on the cross, he could say "It is finished". Every single examination in the school had been passed successfully. He had been made perfect. His education as a man was complete. (Heb 5:8, 9).
For a person who is unfaithful in the kindergarten class of temptation (e.g. sexual lust, anger, lying etc.,) to try and understand what temptations Jesus faced in the Ph D class is both ridiculous and presumptuous. If you are faithful yourself, you will understand (That is what Jesus said in John 7:17), If you are unfaithful in the moments of temptation however, you will never understand, no matter how many books you read or tapes you listen to. God's secrets are not heard through tapes or from books but directly from the mouth of God Himself, through His Word.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon