For What the Law Could Not Do

When the divine Word became at one with humanity, what was the nature of His flesh?

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:

“Through sin the whole human organism is deranged…Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul” -Testimonies for the Churches Vol. 8, p. 312

“What a strange symbol of Christ was that likeness of the serpents which stung them. This symbol was lifted on a pole, and they were to look to it, and be healed. So Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came as the sin-bearer. . . .” –Sons and Daughters p. 222

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 2:14 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;

“He was in human nature. He took our infirmities. He was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.”-Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1124

“Think of Christ’s humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, p. 1147

“When Jesus took human nature, and became in fashion as a man, He possessed all the human organism.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1130

He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, p. 1147

What is further revealed of His experience of the likeness of sinful flesh?

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

“In what contrast is the second Adam as He entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed. Since the fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ’s advent to the earth. And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. He humiliated Himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that He might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, p.1081

Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

“The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it.”-Adventist Home p. 127

“Those who overcome will follow the example of Christ by bringing bodily appetites and passion under the control of enlightened conscience and reason.” -Review and Herald, March 4, 1875

“Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, did as He was told even if the task was not agreeable to His feelings.”-Our High Calling p. 264

Is there such a thing as sin in the flesh? What did Apostle Paul meet as he became enlightened? 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 7:17, 18, 22, 23.

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Lam 1:12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger. 13 From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate [and] faint all the day. 14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, [and] come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into [their] hands, [from whom] I am not able to rise up.

The organism Jesus inherited was degraded and deranged by sin; how does that equate with sin in the flesh? Compare 1 Peter 2:24 with Lamentations 1:12, 14. How would our understanding of physiology assist us here?

“All should have an intelligent knowledge of the human frame that they may keep their bodies in the condition necessary to do the work of the Lord. The physical life is to be carefully preserved and developed that through humanity the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. The relation of the physical organism to the spiritual life is one of the most important branches of education.” Christ Object Lessons p.348

Jesus was bound to the laws of sin and death in his members;

Hebrews 2:14 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;

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Because of the likeness of sinful flesh which Jesus was given, what was the natural ingredient to which He was bound? Hebrews 2:14; Romans 6:23 (first part) Psalms 40:7-12.

Psalms 40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart. 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

40:11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

“It was the burden of sin, the sense of its terrible enormity, of its separation of the soul from God–it was this that broke the heart of the Son of God.” –Steps to Christ p. 13

“He humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal; but as a God, He was the fountain of life.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1127

“When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1113

“The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon his divine soul…Though the guilt of sin was not his, his Spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men.” –Review and Herald, December 20, 1892

“If he drank of the cup of suffering, he must open his breast to the grief’s and woes and sins of humanity.” -Signs of the Times, November 25, 1889

Does this make Jesus too much like a human being?

“Well,” says the cold, formal professor, “this is making Christ too much like a human being”; but the Word of God warrants us to have these very ideas. It is the want of these practical, definite views of Christ, that hinders so many from having a genuine experience in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…Behold Jesus crucified for you. Behold Him grieved with your sins…” -Our High Calling p. 30

The Bible identifies desire coming from the flesh;

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

James 4:1 From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?

The five senses of our flesh translate stimulations exercised upon them into electric impulses, which are normally carried along their designed nerve tracks as emotions of sense to the brain, there to be recorded and decided upon. The response of the thinking brain will determine the action of the body. If there was no existence of sin, or threat because of sin, the body would have always followed this procedure. But we are told, that through sin the whole human organism is deranged … sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Hence the normal track of stimulation from sense to brain has been deranged. Bridges in the nervous system of sinful flesh have been developed and passed on by heredity, so that electric impulses can jump from sense to response and cause tendencies, appetites, cravings, passions and propensities upon which the brain had no effect. These will produce emotions and sensations in the human organism which can be effectively entitled the desires wills. The mind may not have a desire to sin but the flesh can;

1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

A pure mind has to contend with the flesh;

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

A pure mind still has to fear the desires of the flesh;

Phil 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

“Every Christian will be assailed by the allurements of the world, the clamors of the carnal nature, and the direct temptations of Satan. No one is safe. No matter what our experience has been, no matter how high our station, we need to watch and pray continually. We must be daily controlled by the Spirit of God or we are controlled by Satan.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, p. 102

James 1:13 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.

“In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God.” -Desire of Ages p. 122

“There is a science of Christianity to be mastered–a science as much deeper, broader, higher than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for we are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. Hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil must be overcome.” -Ministry of Healing p. 453

What do we and did Jesus have to do with these desires?

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

“There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence.” -Mind Character and Personality Vol.2, p. 432

“In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames that they may be able with the psalmist to exclaim: “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1, p. 486-487

“The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives.” –Ministry of Healing p. 130

Jesus was tempted as we are. The temptations that Jesus had took place because he had our sinful flesh. The only way we can overcome our temptation is to have the divine nature, the same mind that was in Jesus as only then is it possible to submit to God while we are so strongly drawn by our passions and desires.

James 1:13 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:

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

James 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.

“Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7 p, 904

“Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.” –Desire of Ages p, 49

“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.” –Selected Messages Vol. 1 p, 408

“As God He could not be tempted: but as a man He could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations.” –Selected Messages Vol. 3, p, 129

“He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are our wants, and where lies the strength of our temptations.” –Ministry of Healing p, 71

“By experiencing in himself the strength of Satan’s temptation, and of human sufferings and infirmities, he would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves.” –Review and Herald March 18, 1875

“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.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7 p.927

“He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin.” –Steps to Christ p, 94

“The conflict was at times so severe that the soul of the Son of God was wrung with anguish.” –Review and Herald April15, 1880

His contact with sinful flesh affected him;

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

Jesus was made like us and we read this about him;

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

“Christ stood at the head of humanity in the garb of humanity…Christ stands before us as the pattern Man, the great Medical Missionary–an example for all who should come after. His love, pure and holy, blessed all who came within the sphere of its influence. His character was absolutely perfect, free from the slightest stain of sin.” –Medical Ministry pp, 19, 20

“Christ humbled Himself to stand at the head of humanity, to meet the temptations and endure the trials that humanity must meet and endure. He must know what humanity has to meet from the fallen foe, that He might know how to succor those who are tempted.” –My Life Today p335

“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;” –Steps to Christ p, 93

He was tempted like us as he had the same as us;

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.

Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things [pertaining] to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Jesus had to deal with our body.

“He [Jesus] walked once a man on earth, his divinity clothed with humanity, a suffering, tempted man, beset with Satan’s devices. He was tempted in all points like as we are, and he knows how to succor those that are tempted.” –Signs of the Times September 3, 1886

He was tempted in all points;

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Luke 22:37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

“A man may be trying to serve God, but temptations from within and from without assail him. Satan and his angels urge and coax him to transgress.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 9, p. 222

“Christ alone had experience in all the sorrows and temptations that befall human beings. Never another of woman born was so fiercely beset by temptation…He could feel not only for, but with, every burdened and tempted and struggling one.” –Education p, 78

“He participated in the suffering and trials of sorrowful human nature.”-The Watchman Dec. 10, 1907.

“We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.” –Desire of Ages p. 117

“If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us.” –ibid p, 117

“In His humanity He understood all the temptations that will come to man.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 925 (last line)

He was tempted like us;

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

This applies to him to;

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].

Only by the inexpressible anguish which Christ endured can we estimate the evil of unrestrained indulgence. His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God. In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome.” –Desire of Ages pp, 122, 123

But He overcame by praying;

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

“When tempted, he sought strength from his Heavenly Father, just as every individual may do who is tempted. He prayed often, pouring out his petitions with strong crying and tears.” –Review and Herald May 19, 1896

“It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood.” –Desire of Ages p, 71

“Those who overcome will follow the example of Christ by bringing bodily appetites and passion under the control of enlightened conscience and reason. –Review and Herald, March 4, 1875

“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 lives…” -Our High Calling p, 107

The only way we can overcome our temptation is to have the divine nature, the same mind that was in Jesus as only then is it possible to submit to God while we are so strongly drawn by our passions and desires. Commencing with an untainted sinless nature in character as a baby, what was the task of Jesus, bound to our sinful nature? Jesus had a sinless character as a baby but as he was bound with us he had to learn to be good like we do;

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

“Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 311

“A divine-human Saviour, he came to stand at the head of the fallen race, to share in their experience from childhood to manhood. That human beings might be partakers of the divine nature, he came to this earth, and lived a life of perfect obedience.” –Review and Herald, June 15, 1905

He still had to learn obedience like us;

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

He had to grow like us;

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

“It is because they seek to evade this discipline that so many are weak and inefficient. They may possess precious and amiable traits, but they are nerveless and almost useless when difficulties are to be met or obstacles surmounted. The positiveness and energy, the solidity and strength of character, manifested in Christ are to be developed in us, through the same discipline that He endured. And the grace that He received is for us.” –Desire of Ages p. 73

Jesus had to be sober and vigilant too as he had our flesh.

Hebrews 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Jesus had to resist Satan as well.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

“In His humanity He has gone before us and wrought out for us perfection of character… Perfection of character is based upon that which Christ is to us.” –That I May Know Him p. 130

“Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering. Had Christ’s life been one of ease, then might we safely yield to sloth. Since His life was marked with continual self-denial, suffering, and self-sacrifice, we shall make no complaint if we are partakers with Him.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol.5, p. 71

Jesus gained a perfect character… by suffering in our body like we have to suffer with our sinful flesh.

Hebrews 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

Ephesians 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

“When Jesus came into the world, Satan’s power was turned against Him. From the time when He appeared as a babe in Bethlehem, the usurper worked to bring about His destruction. In every possible way he sought to prevent Jesus from developing a perfect childhood, a faultless manhood, a holy ministry, and an unblemished sacrifice. But he was defeated. He could not lead Jesus into sin. He could not discourage Him, or drive Him from a work He had come on earth to do… All the efforts of Satan to oppress and overcome Him only brought out in a purer light His spotless character.” –Desire of Ages p. 759

The benefit for us was;

Gal 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1 Tim 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Cor 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

“We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; and so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure… Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works –works of righteousness, obedience.” –Steps to Christ pp.62, 63

So, can we now understand how Jesus could be sinless and yet have sinful human nature to be tempted by the devil? we’re told not to try and argue this point, just accept it:

“It is a mystery that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be tempted in all points like as we are, and yet be without sin. The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and will ever remain a mystery.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, pp. 1128-1129

Can we now understand how Jesus could be sinless and yet have sinful human flesh to be tempted by the devil? we’re told not to try and argue this point, just accept it:

“It is a mystery that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be tempted in all points like as we are, and yet be without sin. The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and will ever remain a mystery.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, pp. 1128-1129

The sins of us caused him agony in his flesh;

Psalms 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance. 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 [As] with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where [is] thy God?

Psalms 69:1 To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, [A Psalm] of David. Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto [my] soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where [there is] no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. 13 But as for me, my prayer [is] unto thee, O LORD, [in] an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

“Who can fathom the suffering of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He felt to its fullest extent the weight of the sin of the world? So keenly did He feel the sinfulness of sin that for a moment the cup trembled in His hand, and all heaven heard the agonizing cry, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” –Upward Look p. 223

“The cup which he prayed should be removed from him, that looked so bitter to his soul, was the cup of separation from God in consequence of the sin of the world.” –Review and Herald Nov 19, 1895

Jesus submitted to the cross for us;

Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

“If he drank of the cup of suffering, he must open his breast to the griefs and woes and sins of humanity.” –The Signs of the Times Nov 25, 1889

“He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself.” –Desire of Ages p. 756

“The sword of justice was unsheathed, and the wrath of God against iniquity rested upon man’s substitute, Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1103

“Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” – Desire of Ages p. 753

“So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.” –ibid p.753 (last line)

And in order to be just like sinful flesh, it would have to be sinful flesh; in order to be made flesh at all, as it is in this world, just such as we have, and that is sinful flesh. This is what is said in the words ‘likeness of sinful flesh’. 1895 General Conference Bulletin pp. 231, 232

Now many people do not know what is implied by sinful flesh; some take it to mean that he had merely received a body that had physical functions that man did not have before sin, namely that of excreting waste and unpleasant odours, and the necessities of sleep and relaxation. Others seem to take it too far and understand sinful flesh means sinning flesh, and if so He was a sinner, hence they flee from such an expression regarding Him.

Sinful flesh means more than a body that produces waste, but by no means does it suggest that the flesh commits sin. The Bible does not teach the doctrine of original sin.

Ezekiel 18:1 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, 2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? 3 [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have [occasion] any more to use this proverb in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Sin is an act of meditation and execution for which the mind is responsible – the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God.

The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words “flesh” or “fleshly” or “carnal lusts” embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness. {AH 127.2

Sin then has damaged the physical, mental and moral powers of the human flesh, so that the emotions, impulses and electrical currents the flesh is responsible for are in disarray and consequently make man in sinful flesh more vulnerable to commit sin in thought or action.

He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily the second time. Every repetition of the sin lessens his power of resistance, blinds his eyes, and stifles conviction. Every seed of indulgence sown will bear fruit. God works no miracle to prevent the harvest. Patriarchs and Prophets page 268.

This illustrates that sin weakens us, takes its toll upon our body so we find it easier to sin again and the harvest is death by that sin. Hence we see why the sin of Adam and Eve has multiplied; each generation has fallen more readily until man is in abject hopelessness to stop sinning. The condition of the sinful body has deteriorated to such a degree, that under temptation it is too easy to relent, the power of resistance is minimal and sin is repeated. Such weakening of flesh by sin is passed on via birth by the law of heredity, and is described clearly in Testimonies Volume 8 page 312:

Is it possible to understand how Jesus could be sinless and yet have sinful human nature to be tempted by evil?

Have you been in danger to try and argue the point over this matter? Don’t try.

“It is a mystery that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be tempted in all points like as we are, and yet be without sin. The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and will ever remain a mystery.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, pp. 1128-1129.

Posted on March 31, 2012, in The Nature of Christ and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Dear Friends,
    This is very good material. However, the last three paragraphs are confusing the issues. The Incarnation is about HOW and WHEN Divinity and Humanity were blended in Christ Jesus and Yes! that is a mystery which man cannot explain or understand. But the TYPE of Humanity which was blended with Divinity is not a mystery—your article has just explained it through the words of inspiration. His flesh was the same as our flesh, but His mind was that which we can have through the complete true conversion process. My book—Golden Links of Truth—explains these areas and is available through my website—vsdigitalinspiration.com
    God bless,
    Vernon Sparks

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