Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Was Christ tempted only as the sinless Adam was tempted? Or was He tempted as we, the sinful descendants of Adam? Hebrews reiterates the answer: "We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:14, 15).
No matter how deep or how strong our temptation may be, Christ was tempted that same way, "yet without sin." And that's not all! A powerful "therefore" follows verse 15: "Let us therefore come boldly … and find grace to help in time of need." His "likeness of sinful flesh" gave Him perfect entrance to condemn that very sin--judge it, pronounce sentence on it, kill it. Be "bold" in Him; you deserve to receive the victory. Don't hang back timidly as though you are doomed to defeat. Step out and believe.
There are wonderful, highly respected people who tell us, no, this cannot be. Christ could not have been tempted as we are, for there were no TVs in His day, no vodka, no Maserati luxury cars, etc. But that idea fails to appreciate what the Bible says.
Every temptation to sin that we can experience is directed at our primal love of self; and Christ knows every avenue of that appeal. Knowing how strong the temptation is, He sympathizes with us, but even that is not all. Mere sympathy and pity would not help. You can sympathize with your injured dog and pity him. But Christ "succors" us. His full-time job is saving us from yielding to temptation. We "come boldly," not timidly, in a prayer of faith to "obtain" that help.
Note the clear insistence that although Christ came close to us, taking our sinful nature, He was "yet without sin." Not even by a thought would He yield to the tempter. "The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me," He said (John 14:30). He always remained "that Holy One" (Luke 1:35). The struggle against sinful temptation was so fierce and so dangerous that He sweat drops of blood in His agony (Heb. 5:7; 12:3, 4). That was a more terrible ordeal than any of us have known.
The struggle to yield our will to be "crucified with Him" may seem painful, but it is easier than our being crucified alone. Don't forget that Savior "nigh at hand." And living the life of resultant resurrection "with Him" is surely easier than wearing oneself out continuing to fight against the Holy Spirit.
--Robert J. Wieland
From: Grace on Trial, 2001.
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