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If Jesus was perfect, how could he have been tempted like the Bible says he was?


In a cursed world, evil is inevitable. Temptation to break God’s law comes from within and without. And Scriptures tell us that even Jesus did not escape the temptations that are common to the human experience. The relevant verses are:

“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb 2:18).

Jesus “has been tempted in every way, just as we are” (Heb 4:15).

It is true that Jesus was the sinless Son of God and some believe that his divine nature would keep him from identifying himself completely with the human condition. Could he experience the level of desire that powers so much human sinful behavior? Could he really be tempted?

Temptation is not the same as sin. Every human is tempted, but not everyone sins when tempted. Temptation can also be a test, to see if we will remain faithful to God. Abraham was tested to obey God, even though it meant sacrificing Isaac, the son of promise. God intervened and provided a substitute. Abraham passed the test. Job was tested when God removed the hedge of protection and Satan attached his family, his wealth and his health. In spite of being tempted to curse God and die, Job remained true, confused but faithful.

So just because we are tempted doesn’t mean we sin. Jesus was sent to the wilderness to be tested by the devil. Would He fulfill his kingdom rule by using the tactics of the world? No, Jesus would trust the Father to feed him even though he was hungry (Matthew 4:2). He would not test the Father’s protecting care. He would not bow to Satan as a short cut to world reign. Temptation? Yes. Compromise? No! Jesus remained faithful and sinless. He was truly human and struggled with temptation like the rest of humanity. The relationship between the human and the divine natures of Jesus is a mystery. But we know from Scriptures that he was truly tempted, passed every test and lived a sinless perfect life.

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