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How Jesus Was Able to Overcome Temptation.

There has been much speculation as to how Christ differed from ordinary men and women in that he was able to overcome all temptation, and all his adversaries, without once sinning.

Modern scientific discoveries, whereby it is understood that individuals inherit half their chromosomes from each parent, have given new life to an old idea that Christ inherited part of the divine nature - perhaps by being given special genes, DNA or chromosomes by his Heavenly Father - thereby inheriting something different from us that enabled him to resist temptation. It is testified that Jesus was born of a virgin (Matt.1:18-23) but we are led astray if we use the term 'inherit' in connection with the conception of Jesus. Scripture teaches that Christ was made according to the will of his Father, But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law (Gal.4:4).

And he was made exactly like us in every way, Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren... (Heb.2:17).

This rendered him susceptible to temptation in exactly the same way that we are, For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted (Heb2:18).

We all differ from one another, in the natural talents we are born with, and also in our upbringing and development. It is testified concerning Christ that he is, ...the branch that thou madest strong for thyself (Psa.80:15,17). ...And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD... (Isa.11:2-3).

Joseph and Mary were faithful parents who would be mindful of the precept, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when is old, he will not depart from it (Pro.22:6).

This is literally true. However human parents are not perfect and make many mistakes in rearing their offspring. It is clear (from the Psalms and Proverbs for example) that God addressed his son directly through the Holy Scriptures and, during all stages of his life, Jesus would have had enough knowledge of his heavenly Father's will to be able to choose the right way, Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good (Isa.7:15).

So well versed in the Scriptures was he that, by the age of twelve, he was found, ...in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers (Lu.2:46-47).

Having stayed behind in the temple when his parents left for home, he answered their chiding with, ...wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?...And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Lu.2:49,52).

After about thirty years of nurture and training from his Heavenly Father, Jesus was ready to begin his public ministry. Baptised in the river Jordan by John, he received the power of the Holy Spirit without measure, For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand (Jn.3:34-5).

In this sense he was Immanuel (God with us), Isa.7:14, Matt.1:23, ...God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,... (2 Cor.5:19)

However, this power of the Spirit given to Christ at his baptism was a two-edged sword. He was given the power of healing, knowledge of men's thoughts, the ability to turn water into wine, produce food by miracles etc. but he was not immune from the temptations of his human nature and this new power could have been used to his own advantage. This can be seen from the temptations to which he was subjected in the wilderness following his receipt of these powers. These took the form of the three categories of worldly temptations to which we are all subjected, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1Jn.2:16 - cf. Gen.3:6).

Thus; Christ hungered and was tempted to use this new power to turn stones into bread - but he answered from the Hebrew Bible,...saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Lu.4:4).

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me [lit. fall before me], all shall be thine. (Lu.4:5-7).

It was Christ himself who had the power referred to in the above underlined section and he was tempted to take the kingdom promised to him there and then. Had he succumbed to this second temptation to use his new power wrongly, he would have 'fallen', but again he responded from Scripture, And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (v.8).

Thirdly, he was tempted by pride,And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone (vv.9-11).

Again, the answer came from Scripture, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (v.12).

And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season (v.13). It is clear from this, and from what he said to his disciples near the time of his crucifixion (Luke 22:28), that Christ was subject to temptation throughout his ministry. But God, the perfect Father, had given Jesus the necessary human talents, guidance (and angelic help in time of extreme need - Lu. 22:43) so that he did not depart from the way of righteousness. If there was any conflict of interest, he always put his Father's will before his own, [he]prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matt.26:39).

These things, his love for his Father, his Father's nurture and his great faith, ...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross... (Heb.12:2), these things were enough to enable him to overcome all his adversaries and temptations. To ascribe any other supernatural element to this process is to rob him of his supreme achievement in overcoming his human nature with all its temptations.

For it became him [God], 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 (Heb.2:10). And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (Heb.5:9).

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