Jesus, In All Points Tempted

By John Thiel

We are gathered to behold Jesus and to worship in consequence of what we see of him.  We are to gaze upon a mystery, a mystery that is very hard for us to comprehend.  We will consider written revelations that will boggle your mind.  They are revelations of God.  If it’s a revelation and we don’t understand it, we mustn’t argue with it, it’s a revelation.  Do not become disturbed by the realities of God’s word that you cannot comprehend.

Our understanding is too weak to penetrate the mystery of the incarnation, God manifest in Christ, His only begotten Son.  {BEcho, March 8, 1897 par. 8}

Our poor understanding is too weak and yet we are instructed regarding it.  It is a subject that we need to study and yet it is beyond our understanding to comprehend.

The only way in which we can gain a more perfect apprehension of truth is by keeping the heart tender and subdued by the Spirit of Christ. The soul must be cleansed from vanity and pride, and vacated of all that has held it in possession, and Christ must be enthroned within. Human science is too limited to comprehend the atonement. The plan of redemption is so far-reaching that philosophy cannot explain it. It will ever remain a mystery that the most profound reasoning cannot fathom. The science of salvation cannot be explained; but it can be known by experience. Only he who sees his own sinfulness can discern the preciousness of the Saviour.  {DA 494.4}

If I want to understand something incomprehendible, the only way is by keeping my heart tender and subdued by the spirit of Christ.  We are studying a topic in beholding Christ that is impossible for our human reasoning to fathom.  Did you notice that it is possible to fathom it?  How?  By keeping the heart tender and subdued by the spirit of Christ.  How can your heart be subdued?  Only if I see my own sinfulness can I discern the preciousness of the saviour in the incarnation.  Only as I see my sinfulness is my vanity and pride conquered.  Everything that has held my soul in possession can be vacated when we really appreciate how undone we are as then we can appreciate the atonement if Christ is lodged within.

This subject is an argumentative subject in the ranks of Adventism today.  This is something we must not permit ourselves to enter into.  As we are going to study such a subject, we need to appreciate our absolute dependence on the Lord and not on our own smart thinking as it is not sufficient.

Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human. The limited capacity of man cannot define this wonderful mystery–the blending of the two natures, the divine and the human. It can never be explained. Man must wonder and be silent. And yet man is privileged to be a partaker of the divine nature, and in this way he can to some degree enter into the mystery (Letter 5, 1889).  {7BC 904.5}

Satan Has Bitten Us

In which way can we enter into the mystery?  Not by argument, not by theological discourse but how?  By recognising my undone sinful condition and by opening my heart to the divine nature to enter into my being.  In this way only can this happen.  Let us venture into something that needs to be understood by experience as by beholding this mystery we might be saved/changed. I need to be saved and it is the atonement that saves me.  I need to look and gaze upon the serpent on the pole.  As Jesus said, if I be lifted up, as the children of Israel looked up they were remedied of their poisoned lives.  Satan has bitten us and the only way we can be saved is by beholding Jesus.

Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. {6BC 1098.1}

Dig deep for the revelations of God’s word in reference to him.

No man, woman, or youth can attain to Christian perfection and neglect the study of the Word of God. By carefully and closely searching His Word we shall obey the injunction of Christ, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39. This search enables the student to observe closely the divine Model. . . . The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed.  {FLB 223.2}

As you study the word, you catch the looks.

The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought is transformed by intercourse with God through the study of His Word.  {FLB 223.3}

If you want to walk and talk and have intercourse with God, you need to do more than merely prove the point, not just to study the point.

Truth is so large, so far-reaching, so deep, so broad, that self is lost sight of. The heart is softened and subdued into humility, kindness, and love.  .  {FLB 223.3}

The Bible . . . trains the mind to grapple with the deepest problems and to pursue the broadest explorations. {FLB 223.4}

Do not forget the material we study here but explore it and go deeper still.  Explore it for the purpose of beholding and having intercourse with God.

When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven–the incarnation of the Son of God.  {7BC 904.6}

What do you study?  The incarnation of Christ.  The problem within the problem of the incarnation of Christ is in Hebrews;

Hebrews 4:15 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.

Is this a problem?  We are contemplating Jesus Christ.  We are beholding him and we are looking at the problem of the incarnation and trying to comprehend it as when he became incarnate in our human flesh, he made himself subject to all the temptations we are subject to.

The Son of God was assaulted at every step by the powers of darkness. After His baptism He was driven of the Spirit into the wilderness, and suffered temptation for forty days. Letters have been coming in to me, affirming that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had, He would have fallen under similar temptations. {1SM 408.1}

People were writing to Sr White and were saying it’s impossible that Jesus had the same nature because if he did, he would have fallen.

If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man’s behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature.  {1SM 408.1}

If you become a partaker of the divine nature, you will become totally confused when you are tempted in the way that true temptation is.

Most people think that when Jesus comes into their life there is a release from corrupting inroads.  They think they are going to dwell in a wonderful haven of mind rest that has no more to deal with corrupt thoughts and when corrupt thoughts happen they question if they are converted or not.  This is why we need to understand that Jesus had the same temptations as us.  This is a problem in Christianity today.

What is Temptation?

Explore the experience of what temptation actually is.  What is temptation?  Here is the problem that many people reject.  In the time of Sr White there were some who believed Jesus could not have had the same human nature as we otherwise he would have fallen like us.

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. 13 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: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Happy is the man that endures.  Can you see the problem?  If Jesus was tempted in all points as we are tempted and knows the feeling of our infirmities, this text applies to him does it not?  Here is a description of a man that is tempted and endureth temptation to overcome.  When a man is tempted he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.  Did Jesus have his own lust to be enticed?  Can you see the problem?  Is that temptation?  If Jesus was tempted what was happening to him?  Most people read lust as though that was sin already.  When lust has conceived it brings sin.  In this setting it is not sin, it is a deep and strong desire but it is not yet sin.  When it is conceived, then it is sin.  The fact stands clearly in this scripture that this is the experience of this temptation and Jesus was tempted in all points like that.

Every man is drawn of his own lust and enticed.  Was Jesus a man?  He is just like every man.  Was the man Christ Jesus tempted as every man is?  This boggles the mind.  This pure wonderful God coming down into human flesh as we have studied previously as a babe, as a youth, through to thirty years of age suffering as every man.

But the plan of God, devised for the salvation of man, provided that Christ should know hunger, and poverty, and every phase of man’s experience.–Ibid., Feb. 18, 1890.  {7ABC 445.1}

What is the experience of temptation?  Drawn away of his own lust and enticed.  That is what temptation is.  That is the phase of every mans experience.  It is hard to comprehend that a pure God incarnate in human flesh would suffer this kind of thing, human flesh and human nature, Christ would suffer.

Those who claim that it was not possible for Christ to sin, cannot believe that He really took upon Himself human nature. But was not Christ actually tempted, not only by Satan in the wilderness, but all through His life, from childhood to manhood? In all points He was tempted as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation under every form, He gave man the perfect example, and through the ample provision Christ has made, we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust.  {7BC 929.2}

There is no form of temptation that Jesus did not meet no matter what it was.  Every form of temptation he met.  James says he who endures temptation blessed is he.  Here is Jesus tempted as we are and successfully resisting under every form.

Christ Was On Probation

The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality. As a free agent, He was placed on probation, with liberty to yield to Satan’s temptations and work at cross-purposes with God. If this were not so, if it had not been possible for Him to fall, He could not have been tempted in all points as the human family is tempted (YI Oct. 26, 1899).  {5BC 1082.5}

For a period of time Christ was on probation. He took humanity on Himself, to stand the test and trial which the first Adam failed to endure. Had He failed in His test and trial, He would have been disobedient to the voice of God, and the world would have been lost (ST May 10, 1899).  {5BC 1082.6}

Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed. He could not have been tempted in all points as man is tempted, had there been no possibility of His failing. He was a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam, and as is every man. In His closing hours, while hanging upon the cross, He experienced to the fullest extent what man must experience when striving against sin. {5BC 1082.4}

He experienced to the fullest extent what man must experience when striving against sin.  It is a revelation by which we may be able to strive against sin and conquer.  I can’t do it unless I behold Christ, unless I dig for this detail, contemplate it and embrace it. When the sinner is tempted without first looking to Jesus and drawn of your own lust, your own deep desire, what is that experience to most people to be tempted and to be drawn of a desire?  For example, you like a certain dish but you know it has unhealthy contents but you are tempted and your mouth waters and you love the thought of having it.  Do you hate the temptation as a sinner?  No you enjoy it.  It is a desire that you want to indulge.  You know it’s not good for you but you want to indulge it.  Apply that simple illustration into every area of temptation that the sinner feels tempted with.  He is enjoying the thought of going ahead with that.

Let us look at Jesus

Hebrews 2:17 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.

2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

What was that?  What was a temptation to Jesus?  It was a suffering.  Take the temptation along the track of when you have to endure the responsibilities that are upon your path laid out before you by God.  Mothers training their children and governing the house hold, would you like relief?  Is it a temptation to be relieved.  You just can’t anymore and you are tempted with the thought to no longer pursue that course, it is a desire.  Jesus came to bear heavy responsibilities and it was very hard.  He cried my God, my God if it be possible let this cup pass from me.  He had a desire to be relieved of the burden.  Note it was a suffering to even be tempted that way.  To desire something that wasn’t right was a suffering to Jesus and he would not indulge it, He suffered.

Would that we could comprehend the significance of the words, Christ “suffered being tempted.” While He was free from the taint of sin, the refined sensibilities of His holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to Him. Yet with human nature upon Him, He met the archapostate face to face, and single-handed withstood the foe of His throne. Not even by a thought could Christ be brought to yield to the power of temptation.  {7BC 927.4}

Temptation comes to you by a thought, an emotion and a desire.  If Jesus was tempted people read this to mean that he didn’t even have the thought.  Was the temptation there?  Yes, the thought and feeling was there, it came through the sinful human nature.  The divine pure untainted nature was suffering under those thoughts and feelings that arrive in temptation.  Jesus from childhood through to the cross suffered temptation.  Behold him in the agony and the torment of temptation;

Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, “in all points tempted like as we are;” but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin.  {SC 93.4}

As he was in contact with evil, his nature recoiled from that contact.  His divine pure untainted nature.  What are you beholding?  Your Saviour tortured and tempted so that I would enter into his sufferings. That instead of enjoying the temptation, I would suffer it with him.  Every time you come to an experience of a temptation that you know is soliciting and enticing your desire, look to Jesus and suffer.

His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.  {SC 93.4}

From childhood to the cross, behold the story. Marvel at it as He was is terribly tempted.  The Pharisees were angry with Jesus that he wouldn’t submit to their dictates.  They turned to his mother and complained to his parents and now Jesus had the terrible internal struggle of seeking to please his parents and wanting to do God’s will.  What a temptation as a child.

The Wilderness of Temptation

In all the temptations of Satan, there is a deeply laid plan, a dark purpose, to compass the ruin of the human soul. But we are to meet the wily foe as Christ met him. He presented to Jesus the three great temptations that overpower the human race. He was tested on the point of appetite, presumption, and the acquisition of worldly power and honour. Satan sought to turn Him from his integrity by challenging Him to prove his relation to God by some act that would call forth a special miracle on the part of God for his preservation; and he presented to Him the bribe of the world and its glory, if He would but fall down and worship him.  {BEcho, December 1, 1893 par. 9}

This study is not to prove something but to explore the answer and remedy to your own temptations. You will experience an answer and a victory by beholding Jesus that in every phase and every form in your temptation you will see of these three temptations, the ones from his childhood to the cross.  By doing this we sense our utter need and can appreciate the preciousness of the saviour and thus be saved.

Recall when he was carried in the arms of Lucifer to the pinnacle and those desirable sensations that go through every one of us. The world is out there getting thrills,  Lucifer gave Jesus a physical thrill.  Can you imagine being carried by angel?  Then Lucifer says look, jump, the angels will carry you to the ground.  How many people go for the thrills of those kinds of things today?

That same angel carries him in his arms and the sensation of the desire of the flesh is causing its terrible impact on the pure nature of Jesus and now he says you can have this entire world and all this glory, just bow down to me.  I’m a strong angel, I’m stronger than you.  We don’t often delve deep enough into the experience of these things because we don’t believe Jesus really had those sensations. Knowing that he was in all points tempted as we are, we have a precious answer that we can conquer as he did.  Conquer these sensations by looking to Jesus.

Evil Thoughts

There is one other temptation that is rarely appreciated by the Christian that Jesus actually experienced the same.

They say, it is useless for me to pray. My prayers are so mingled with evil thoughts that the Lord will not hear them.  {HP 78.3}

These suggestions are from Satan. In His humanity Christ met and resisted this temptation, and He knows how to succor those who are thus tempted. In our behalf, He “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).  {HP 78.4}

What was the temptation that Jesus had?  When we are praying and evil thoughts are mingled with our prayers we think they cannot be heard.  That was the temptation that Jesus met as well.  With these examples and what we have studied, there is not a single form of temptation that we have had that Jesus has not had.  He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.  Look at Gethsemane and the cross. Why did Jesus submit to such torment and such excruciating internal struggles?

John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

The truths that we have been studying, these difficult to understand topics of Jesus work, he had to sanctify himself.  In Hebrews it says that he who sanctifies and they that are sanctified are all of one. Jesus is one with them.  He didn’t have to sanctify himself, he didn’t have to go through all those experiences but what did he say?  For their sakes I sanctify myself. You and I will go through torment if I choose to follow Jesus.  I will seek to sanctify myself and I can’t unless I know the truth as it is in Jesus.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

What is the succour?  To succour means to help.  We are to strive against sin.  That means conquer temptation.

The pitying Saviour stands right by your side to help you. He would send every angel out of glory while you are struggling to overcome sin, so that Satan cannot have the victory over you. Christ . . . took man’s human nature upon Him that He might come right down to man in the temptation wherewith man is beset. The pitiful Redeemer knows just how to help us in every one of our strivings.  {HP 263.6}

What are our strivings?

When we see that sin in us is striving for the mastery, then we must strive. . . .  {HP 263.5}

What was the flesh of Jesus?  He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.  When the sinful flesh was striving for the mastery, Jesus knew the experience.  We have someone who can succour us, someone who can come right beside me and I can sense and know that he understands my struggle.  In the severe problem of researching the nature of Christ and the problem of sin, Jesus is our problem solver.  By beholding him the sin problem is solved.  We may not be able to explain or comprehend how it is possible for Jesus the sinless one to be tempted like we are.  We reach a situation of a mystery in which we only partially comprehend but we can experience it.  By partaking of the divine nature we can understand it because we are experiencing it.

His human will was nourished by the divine. When we place our will in unison with the will of God, the holy obedience that was exemplified in the life of Christ will be seen in our life. OHC 107

When will Jesus perfect obedience be exemplified in our life?  When as with him, our human will is nourished by the divine will.  To be partakers of the nature of Jesus, the divine nature, we will know the sufferings of temptation.  The torment of evil thoughts mingling with our prayers was his to conquer and overcome.  He is my helper.  Whatever these thoughts and feelings are as they come surging through my system, I’m only being tempted, I’ve not yet sinned.  When do I sin?  When I do what Jesus didn’t do.  When I cherish the thought and the feeling.

May God grant us to keep on looking and beholding Jesus so we can indeed have the anti-dote to the poison of the bite of the serpent.

Amen.

Posted on November 1, 2009, in Beholding Christ, Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Nature of Christ and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great post an wonderful blog; thank you for your work 🙂

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