inconceivable

Temptation exhibits the appearance of good because if it appeared as evil, it would not tempt because its nature is already evil. “If evil is to tempt at all, it must appear as good; it must take the illusory form of a desirable possession, enjoyment, or other coveted result.”(Ullman, The Sinlessness of Jesus) This is the crux of the impeccability/peccability debate.

For the peccability advocates, if Jesus could not have sinned, then His temptation was a farce and without purpose. Despite the biblical testimony of Jesus’ sinlessness and temptations, A.E. Taylor questions the intensity or frequency of his temptations. “If a man does not commit certain transgressions… it must be because he never felt the appeal of them.” Peccability further “represents the earthly sojourn of Jesus as having been one long, constant struggle on His part to avoid yielding to the enticements of Satan.” (McCormick, The Impeccability of Christ)

It seems that those who believe in a peccable will of Jesus have misunderstood the hypostatic union, that in the one person of Jesus there are two natures: human and divine. “For in Him, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Col. 2:9)

Jesus is one with the Father. Jesus vanquished sin as well as temptation. “To think of Jesus as going serenely through life’s way with never a ripple of real temptation to disturb His even course is to empty His moral life of real worth, and to prevent us from seeing, in Him, our Example. His sinlessness did not result from some automatic necessity of His nature as much as from His moment-by-moment committal of Himself to the Father.” (Moberly, Atonement and Personality)

A weak verdict concludes that no purpose could have been served by a temptation in which Jesus could not yield. It has been contended “only the recognition that Jesus could never actually have sinned safeguards both the integrity of the incarnation as a manifestation of the life of God and its redemptive efficacy. For Christ to have faced the genuine possibility of the commission of sin puts all this at risk, a risk which, it is implied, is just as incompatible with the character of God as sin itself.” (Hart, Sinlessness and Moral Responsibility: A Problem in Christology)

Upon the foundation of Scripture, Jesus was tempted insofar as it is possible to be without sin. “We must conceive of His endurance of temptation with the qualification that He continued free from sin; and of His sinlessness, as having stood the test of every species of temptation.”(Ullman)

Christ’s temptations must have been of an intensity inconceivable to us.

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