Tempted, But Without Sin

Q. We all know that Jesus was born of a virgin so that He would not be born in sin, like the rest of us. My question is this, If Jesus was not capable of sinning, why does the Bible say that, “He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin?” It also says, Jesus is our example. But He was not able to sin. And if this is true, why did the devil bother tempting Him?

A. These are good questions.  First, it is true that Jesus didn’t have a sin nature.  But that doesn’t make a person incapable of sinning.  Remember, Adam and Eve didn’t have a sin nature either, and yet they sinned.

Second, James 1:15 says sin begins with desire.  Therefore, temptation becomes a sin when we consciously consider yielding to it.   In His “humanness” Jesus faced all the temptations common to man, but He never once considered yielding to any of them (Hebrews 4:15).

In Matt. 4:1-11 the devil was trying to get Jesus to consider acting on the temptations presented to Him, knowing if Jesus did He would become a sinner and would be disqualified as our redeemer. The example Jesus was setting for us was in choosing not to yield to the temptation He faced.

Our sin nature makes it impossible to not ever yield to temptation.  But when we do, we can go to the Lord and confess, knowing He understands what we’re going through and that He has already covered our failures with His love.

 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

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