For the Love
of  Christ
Constraineth
us

 

A Lesson from the
Wilderness
Temptation of
Jesus Christ

  THE GOSPEL OF MARK relates the
      following account: "And it came to pass
      in those days, that Jesus came from
Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in
Jordan.   And straightway coming up out of the
water, he saw the heavens opened, and the
Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And
there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou
art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the
wilderness.   And he was there in the wilderness
forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the
wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto
him."
  Mark 1:9-13

In the Fourth Chapter of Matthew (and Luke), we
find a detailed description of how the devil
tempted Christ.   Of course, we all know the devil
tried in vain.   The Bible says of Jesus Christ: "For
we have not an high priest which cannot be
touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but
was in all points tempted like as we are, yet
without sin
."
  Heb. 4:15

Christ did not have a sin nature.   Being born of
the seed of the woman, and not the man's, the
Adamic nature did not get passed on to Him.
Jesus Christ, Himself, stated: "...for the prince
of this world cometh, and hath nothing in
me
."
  (John 14:30)   Internally, within Christ's
nature, there was nothing for the devil to "grab
on to,"
no weakness within Christ to exploit.
We, however, are a different story . . .

Jesus said: "For out of the heart [our
hearts!] proceed evil thoughts" (Mat.
15:19).   As sinners, we have a desire in our
hearts to surrender to sin-related pressures
bearing upon us from external temptations.   This
"internal temptation," found within our

members, is what responds to the external
temptations this world is constantly throwing at
us.   The Bible says, "From whence come wars
and fightings among you? come they not hence,
even of your lusts that war in your
members
?"
James 4:1
   Even the Apostle Paul struggled with trying
to keep this "internal temptation" in check.
Notice what he says: "But I see another law in
my members, warring against the law of my
mind, and bringing me into captivity to
the law of sin
which is in my members."

Rom. 7:23

Referring back to Christ . . .
The ability, and/or desire, to sin is not a
necessary part of being human.   Christ was
100% human, "yet without sin."   (Heb. 4:15)
The inner desire to sin is a result of our FALLEN
nature.   Christ's humanity was "un-fallen."
   In Christ's case, while the devil's temptation
was externally bearing upon Him, there was no
sin nature, no internal temptation on His part,
urging Him to surrender.   To state it again, there
was nothing for the devil to grab on to.   There
were no buttons he could push.   "...for the
prince of this world cometh, and hath
nothing in me
."
  John 14:30

Now, having seen all this, it's easy to
conclude that Jesus Christ's success at not
succumbing to the devil's temptation was
strictly due to Him not having a sin nature.
   Therefore, we Christians, can't possibly glean
anything from this event, since we still have a
sin nature.   We simply don't have the advantage
that Christ had.   Right?   WRONG!

There is more here than
meets the eye . . .

IF CHRIST'S VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION
  was due ONLY to His sinless nature, then
  why did Adam and Eve fall?   Being sinless
also, Adam and Even should not have succumbed
to, essentially, the same threefold temptation
that the devil used on Christ!   Yet, why did Adam
and Eve fall when Christ did not?   Let's study the
temptation of Jesus Christ in detail.   Beginning
with the threefold temptation:

1- "And when the tempter came to him, he said,
If thou be the Son of God, command that these
stones be made bread"
(Mat. 4:3).   Our Lord,
being human, no doubt could have used some
bread after fasting forty days.   It was His flesh
here that was being tempted.   In 1 John 2:16,
we find "the lust of the flesh" listed as a
common source of temptation.

2-"Then the devil taketh him up into the holy
city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the
temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son
of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He
shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and
in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any
time thou dash thy foot against a stone"
  (Mat.
4:5-6).   This temptation is aimed at who Christ is;
His status as the Son of the Almighty God.   As
such, Christ would be invincible, unable to be
harmed.   Any one of us would easily get puffed
up with pride at the thought of being invincible.
1 John 2:16 also mentions this temptation.   It is
referred to as "the pride of life[.]"

3-"Again, the devil taketh him up into an
exceeding high mountain, and SHEWETH HIM
all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of
them; And saith unto him, All these things will
I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship
me"
(Mat. 4:8-9).   The devil SHOWED CHRIST "all
the kingdoms of the world[.]"
  Thus, this last
temptation involved what 1 John 2:16 describes
as "the lust of the eyes[.]"

The devil tempted Christ with the same three
temptations listed in 1 John 2:16: "For all that
is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust
of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the

Father, but is of the world."   If we study the
temptation of Eve in the garden of Eden, we find
the devil using the same three temptations on
her: "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye
shall not surely die: For God doth know that in
the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be
opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good
and evil.   And when the woman saw that the
tree was good for food, and that it was
pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be
desired to make one wise, she took of the
fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her
husband with her; and he did eat."
  Gen. 3:4-6

"good for food" is "the lust of the flesh"
"pleasant to the eyes" is "the lust of the eyes"
"to make one wise" is "the pride of life"

So, if Christ experienced the same three
temptations as Eve, and yet did not succumb to
them because He was sinless, then why did Eve
succumb to them?   Wasn't she sinless also at
that point in time?   If the devil had "hath nothing
in"
Christ, because Jesus didn't have a sin
nature, then what did the devil have in Eve?
   One would have to conclude that Eve already
had a sin nature before the Fall, which would
make no sense!

Perhaps there's a better answer . . .
Go back to 1 John 2:16.   In fact, let's read 1
John 2:15 as well: "Love not the world, neither
the things that are in the world.   If any man love
the world, the love of the Father is not
in him
.   For all that is in the world, the lust of
the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride
of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

1 John 2:15-16

These two verses make a connection between
the threefold temptation we have been looking
at, and having "the love of the Father[.]"   Taking
this connection into account, we can begin to
speculate why Eve gave in to the temptation in
spite of not having a sin nature.   Her problem
was not that she had an internal inclination to
sin.   Could it be that her problem was:

SHE DIDN'T LOVE GOD?

The love of the Father was not in her . . . YET!
Now, before you cite the fact that not loving
God IS a sin, remember that Adam and Ever were
brand new created beings.   Everything was brand
new.   And while God can create anything,
perhaps there is one thing that can't be created:
a love for God!

We assume that Adam and Eve loved God.   But
how, why, and when would they have learned
to love God?   Would God create them with a
built in love for Him?   If He did, why did they
reject God?   For that matter, why wouldn't God
create us all with a built in love toward Him?
   Maybe the answer is that love must be
instilled.   It must be nurtured.   Adam and Eve
were childlike, and children don't come out of
the womb loving their parents!

We don't "automatically" love God . . .
The Bible tells us why we would even consider
loving God: "We love him, BECAUSE HE FIRST
LOVED US"
(1 John 4:19).   Our love toward God
is a direct response to God's love toward us.
Thus, Adam and Eve could not have loved God
until God exhibited His love toward them.   And
the greatest example of love God could bestow
upon any of us is described by Christ, Himself:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends"
(John
15:13).   "For God so loved the world, that he
gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life."
  John 3:16

One can only speculate, but perhaps the fall of
man HAD TO TAKE PLACE so that the Father
could demonstrate His love, thus initiating our
love for Him in return.   Love had to be instilled
within us.   "But God commendeth [proved] his
love toward us, in that, while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us."
  Rom. 5:8

Getting back to Christ . . .
Could it be said that Jesus Christ did not
succumb to the devil's temptation because of
His love for God, as well as for any other
reason?   Perhaps.

Notice the three things Christ says in
response to the devil's attacks:

n   "But he answered and said, It is written,
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

Mat. 4:4
n   "Jesus said unto him, It is written again,
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
  Mat.
4:7
n   "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence,
Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the
Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

Mat. 4:10

Notice how all three statements refer to God.
Christ's defense against the wiles of the devil
was the fact that He did not want to forsake
God in any way, shape, or form.   HE LOVED
GOD.   His obedience, loyalty, service, trust, and
faithfulness toward God stemmed from His love
of the Father.   That love constrained Him!

Can we make the same claim?
Fellow Christian, in spite of all of the previous
speculations, there is one truth we can gain
from all this: Loving God will help us fight
temptation.   Jesus told us to love "the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and
with all thy mind."
  Matt. 22:37

Loving God, will keep our minds set on God.   No
doubt, Jesus' love of the Father played a big
part in his victory over temptation.   Can we make
the same claim?   Does our love for God keep us
on the right course?   Can we say, "For the love
of Christ constraineth us"
? 2 Cor. 5:14

No one is minimizing Christ's sinless nature, nor
the fact that it played a major part in fighting the
devil.   But loving God was vital to His walk with
God.   Loving God should be the major motivation
in keeping us from succumbing to sin.

Everything we do, including our service for God,
should stem from our love for Him.   Our
faithfulness to His Word and His ways should be
the natural outcome of our love for Him.

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast."
  (Eph. 2:8-9)   Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
us
,"
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me."
  (John 14:6)   THAT'S
WHY
: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us
."
  Romans 5:8-9

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind
); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart
[TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved."
  Romans 10:9

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