Could Jesus Have Sinned?

This past Sunday we examined the temptations of our Lord in Matthew chapter 4.  I, for one, face temptations every day. I am able to find victory over many of my temptations but at times I still succumb to temptation.  Almost every time I am preaching or teaching on the temptations of Christ, someone will ask, “Could Jesus have sinned?” Now that not only is a complex question, it also demands a complex but not complicated answer.

sunday-extra To get to the heart of this question, we must remember four simple truths which are revealed to us in Scripture.  First, Jesus was fully human.  Throughout Scripture we see the humanity of Christ evidenced in his hunger, his sleeping, his tears, his sorrow, his agony and his death, to name a few.  Secondly, we affirm He was fully tempted by Satan in the desert.  Hebrews 4:15 tells us Jesus was “tempted in every way.” Next, Jesus is fully God.  This is the beauty and mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus was both God and man.  In his Gospel, Matthew confirms this by simply saying Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us.”  Finally, we must remember God can not be tempted (James 1:13).  Therefore, Jesus was fully human and fully divine.  In His humanity, He was physically capable of sinning but in His divinity, He was morally incapable of sinning.  In other words, in His humanity, He was tempted just as we are but in His divinity, He was not tempted; this is a great mystery that boggles our minds.

So how do we answer the question, “Could Jesus have sinned?”  The answer may be both a yes and a no.  This week I read Russell Moore’s “Tempted and Tried.”  To help us navigate the waters of this great mystery, let me close this discussion with an illustration from Moore’s book:

Could Jesus have sinned? To answer that I would simply say that it depends on what you mean by ‘could.’ I’ll respond to another question.  Think of the person you love the most.  While you have this loved one’s face before your mind, let me ask you: ‘Could you murder that person?’ Your response would probably be, ‘Of course not!’ You would tell me how much you love the person and what the person means to you, and so forth.  You’re incapable of murdering this person because the very act is opposed to everything you are about … In your response to my question, you would be assuming ‘could’ to mean a moral capability. But ‘could’ here could also mean a natural ability. You tell me you ‘couldn’t’ murder your loved one, but that’s no sign that you are saying you couldn’t physically take this person on.  You’re saying you would never do such a thing…. God is incapable of sinning. But Jesus, in his human nature, really desires those things humanity’s been designed to desire.  Could he have sinned – is his nature one that is capable of being both light and darkness? No.  Could he have sinned – was he physically capable of eating bread, of throwing himself from the temple, of bowing his knee and verbalizing the words, ‘Satan is lord?’ Yes, of course. (Tempted and Tried by Russell Moore.)

So where does this leave us?  Could Jesus have sinned in the desert?  In His humanity, He was physically able to sin but in His divinity is was morally incapable of sinning.  Therefore, in His humanity, He was fully tempted just as we are but in His deity, He was not tempted and therefore incapable of sinning.  There is a mysterious and mind-numbing tension between the two.  He was physically able but morally incapable of sinning.  Could He have sinned? No. He is God and as God He can not sin but as man He was tempted just as we are.  I sure hope that clears that up.

Sunday Recap May 8, 2016

We had another great Sunday at First Southern Baptist Church. It was such an encouraging Sunday. First, wasn’t it a blessing to see all the children down front for the Children’s Sermon? It was so much fun talking to them and I was grateful and a little disappointed none of the kids said anything too incriminating about their mothers. I am so blessed to have a church filled with so many godly mothers. Thanks moms for all you do for all of us.

We also had the immense joy to see 8 families dedicate their 10 children to the Lord. Since we do not baptize infants, a time of dedication is especially important and meaningful. At the heart of a Christian dedication is a parent’s wiliness to set their children apart to God and His Kingdom. It is their promise to raise their children in such a fashion that the Gospel will be taught, modeled, and learned. It is their promise to do everything in their power to see their children raised in a Christian environment. I like this Billy Graham quote: “You can’t help the type of home you were born in but you can help what type of home your children are born in.” As parents dedicate their children, they are promising to raise their kids in a home where the children will one day find Jesus and place their personal faith and trusts in Him, and live lives worth of their calling.

Our primary passage was taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It is called the “Shema.” Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was and He responded by quoting the Shema. We were reminded our greatest passion as a parent is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. We must then be passionate to impress upon our children the necessity of loving God with all their heart, soul, and strength. How do we impress this upon them? First, we model that passionate love of God. They must see it in us. Secondly, we must teach it. We talk about this love to our children we sit, walk, lie down or get up. In other words, we continuously talk about them in our normal everyday living. Finally, we share it with others. Your family is a witness to a lost and dying world. You must put these commands into practice in such a way the lost world see your love of God and they in turn begin to seek Him.

What actions steps can you take to develop this passionate love for God? What can you do as a family to better impress them upon your children? Meditate in the coming days over these things. Commit your ways to the Lord and He will bless you and your family.

Our numbers continue to stay up really well. Once again we were above the 300 mark. I always remind us, numbers are not the most important thing. However, they are one indicator of our general health. Remember, every number represents one person. This person may be lost without Christ, buried under a heavy burden, or simply needing the fellowship of a good church family. We do not care about numbers for numbers sake but we do care about them for people’s sake. The empty seats around our sanctuary need to be filled so the Gospel can penetrate all hearts of people in Salina.
This week we will look at selected scriptures in Exodus 6-10. We will examine lessons about God from the first 9 plagues. We will even answer the question, “Did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?” You don’t want to miss it.
I hope you are starting to realize when you miss one Sunday you miss a lot!

Prayer Requests:
– Remember to pray for our graduating High School Seniors. This is their graduation weekend.
Pray for me. Ask God to give me clarity when it comes to preparing Sunday’s sermon. Ask Him to fill me with His Spirit and to give me wisdom and insight to His direction for the sermon.
– Our church secretary, Roxanne, is having knee surgery on Monday. Pray for her.
Conner Fry is having tubes put in his ears tomorrow (Friday 5/13).
Mary O’Farell had back surgery on Wednesday and is doing better.
– Begin praying for our World Changer mission team. 21 of us will be going to Dallas to minister to area residents. Be praying for our team. In the coming weeks, you will learn about opportunities to help us get to Dallas.
Quick Thank-you
– Our children were in our services this Sunday. It is great having them worship with us. However, we are also reminded of what a great ministry our Kid’s Church really is. Thank you to everyone who helps in this important ministry. A special thank you to the Berg and Harvey’s. Keep up the great work.
– Our Awana Awards Night was held last night. It has been a great year. If I’m correct, it is the biggest year we’ve had numerically. Praise God. Again, numbers are everything but every number in Awana is one more student hiding God’s Word in their hearts. A special thank you to Fred Leepers for his work with Awana and thank you to everyone who works so diligently in this important Children’s ministry.