Ask Steve: Temptation of Christ







Question: Steve, I want to know how the verse, “He was tempted in all things as we are” (Heb. 4:15) is related to Christian edification and counseling?

Answer: Hebrews 4:15 is a significant principle for edification because it shows us the strength and sufficiency we have in Christ when we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. We have real instructions on how to not only to be saved from the penalty of sin, but how to overcome the temptations of sin in our lives. This is especially more powerful considering that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came in the flesh and experienced the fullness of human frailty (although without sin), therefore He can relate to and give counsel to our pain and suffering.

Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man upon His incarnation. As such, Jesus experienced the limitations and frailty that is common to mankind, which includes the ability to be tempted in all things. Though Jesus was tempted, He never fell into sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), which distinguishes Jesus from us. He proved to be the perfect human being, the model human being that Adam should have been, how all humans should be in general, and what Christians will be one day. Christ proved to be the sinless Son of God, therefore being the one and only person qualified to atone for the sins of humanity and to intercede for them as their High Priest.

Jesus’ lifelong victory over temptation was not only His qualification to be the spotless offering onto the Father at the cross, but also provides an encouraging and necessary model for overcoming temptation, the enticement of sin, and putting on holy characteristics such as love, holiness, justice, righteousness, and truth. 1 Corinthians 10:13 states that no one is tempted beyond what he can bear, and God provides the redeemed with all they need to overcome the power of sin and live a holy, righteous life. The main agent in the sanctification process is the Holy Spirit. Though we are regenerate, we are still in the flesh, which is why we are still tempted and fall into sin. However, Jesus understands our struggles because His incarnation allowed Him to feel what we felt. He is a sympathetic Lord. His humanity also allows Him to be our human High-Priest (Hebrews 4:15), continually interceding to the Father on our behalf for our daily forgiveness and sanctification in Christlikeness.

This affects edification in that it appropriately identifies the plight and ability of men, though they are regenerated and redeemed. It gives the counselees a proper perspective to never depend on their own strength or wisdom to overcome sin and temptation, but to rely on God’s Word and the Spirit with all perseverance. It also informs counselees that, if they are truly saved, then they are not hopeless in their battle against certain sinful habits, but that they have the tools necessary by applying God’s word and submitting to accountability (Rom 14:19; Jas 5:16). Our dependence as Christians must not be on other religions, on ourselves, or human reasoning, but always be on Christ. We are also not called to wallow in our failures, for in Christ, we have both a sympathizer who understands our struggles and One who grants us strength through the Spirit to overcome sin.