We are all familiar with the story of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, as told in Matthew 4. We also know that the story concluded with Jesus not yielding to Satan’s temptation.
Now let us contrast that with the other huge temptation story that we are also familiar with. Adam and Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden. In this story, we are also familiar with the conclusion. Eve fell. Adam fell. Man kind fell.
Over the centuries, when these two stories are put side by side and compared, many have come to the seemingly obvious reason being: Man is man. It’s easy for man to fall. We are just flesh and blood after all. But this was Jesus. He couldn’t fall!
That isn’t really true. Is it?
There is an error that we Christians make when looking at Christ and His life when He walked upon the earth. Many a time, in gest, and when correcting others, we say things such as: Jesus said to forgive, Jesus said to practice patience, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, etc. To which, when we find ourselves unable or unwilling to do these things, say, “Well, I’m not Jesus”.
Why do we separate Jesus the man from Jesus the Messiah. King of Kings. Is there really any difference?
Here are 2 important points to consider.
1. Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, came, as man, in flesh and blood, to die for our sins. He could only qualify as a propitiation for sin if he himself were sinless. Unblemished. Were he to have been found with a single spot of sin, He could not have qualified for the job. The deal would have been off.
2. Jesus did not come down to earth to learn the way. To navigate the way. He came down to show us the way.
So, what was He really showing us? What is “the way”?
Believing in Christ is significant. As is confessing Him with our mouths. there is, however, a deeper component to “believing in Him”. It is not simply acknowledging who He is that makes up belief, but understanding what He came to do, and most importantly, HOW He came to do it.
We say, “Jesus died for my sins, and that is how I am saved”.
How was it possible? How was it possible that He was able to be the propitiation?
How was it possible that was able to be “Him who knew no sin”, when He was flesh and blood just as we are. Also, how is it possible for Him say to us (you and me) “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48, when we are clearly imperfect?
The “How” is the vital part of the message of Salvation that many Christians either gloss over, or truly have no idea how to answer if asked. Because it is this “How” that is the reason we are saved.
We constantly hear – Follow Christ. Imitate Christ – Yet, we Christians struggle with every, single form of external sin that exists. Repeatedly.
So, what are we missing?
Why is it so hard?
Why did Adam and Eve fall where Jesus did not?
For starters, the answer is not “because He’s Jesus”. Because that would imply that He had some sort of unfair advantage that we do not possess. Which in essence denotes cheating. We know that cannot be. Because not only would “unfairness” be grounds for Satan to have an accusation against God, but it would have, again, disqualified Him from being the Propitiation.
The “How” Jesus Christ came to show us the way of Becoming Perfectly Aligned to God.
He came to show us that to make it through this world, we must be in sync with God.
Perfectly aligned to Him.
In oneness with Him. “I and my Father are one” John 10:30
Let us go back to the comparison of the two temptations.
One yielded while the other did not. For one reason, and one reason only.
One turned aside from the will of God, and the other did not.
One turned aside from the specific instruction of God, and the other did not.
Don’t take my word for it. Go to the text and read exactly what Satan said in both temptations, and what the response/action of the person(s) being tempted was:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 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.
6 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.
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 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.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 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.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 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;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 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.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Compare the responses.
Where Adam and Eve responded to the serpent, not with the specific Words of God which had instructed:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
But instead, turned aside from God, considered within themselves what the serpent said, and made a decision independent of God.
Jesus, on the other hand, gave Satan’s words/proposal/offers no consideration whatsoever. But, instead, responded with the very Words of God. He never turned aside from the instruction of His Father.
It was a choice.
A choice to remain perfectly aligned with the same presence of God that Adam and Eve had the opportunity to remain aligned with. They chose instead to consider Satan, and listen to themselves after he had influenced their thoughts.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. John 14:10
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. John 6:38
These bible passages all speak clearly to one thing:
Jesus’ single minded devotion to the will and instruction of God.
I use the word “instruction” because when working according to the will of another, one’s actions are carried out soley based on the dictate of the one whose will one is obeying.
Christ came down for a mission. His instructions we spoken to Him; inside of Him; within Him, by the Spirit of His Father that He stayed closely aligned to.
The alignment is in the devotion to obey.
The alignment is in the very obedience.
“Not my will but yours”.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14:19-21.
Christ passing through this world, affected and tempted by the very same devil who affects us and tempts us today, yet, remaining without sin, was possible only because He remained aligned to the Father who was in Him. Jesus is telling us that He was able to overcome because His Father abode in Him, and He in His Father. Therefore, as He has poured His life out for us, to receive the gift of that life, all we need to do is abide in Him. Then He, along with The Father who abode in Him will too abide in us!
The Holy Ghost is the presence; the nature; the very personality of Jesus Christ. The same Jesus, the One who endured the very same temptation of Satan as we do today, and won. Which was “How” He was able to be the Propitiation for us.
Jesus Christ is saying “I did it by devoting myself to the will of The Father, abiding in Him, and NEVER turning aside to any other voice. EVEN MY OWN. I considered not my own needs; not my own comfort; not my own feelings; not my own rights and entitlements; not my own popularity; not my own glory; not my own happiness, not my own cares; not my own advancement; not my own reputation; not my own honor; not my own respect; not my own suffering. I simply obeyed what my Father asked me to do”.
Abiding in Christ is a wilful and active process, brethren. We have to remain vigilant, and commit ourselves actively to the Holy Ghost.
WE MUST DIE DAILY
“And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:30-31.
WE MUST TAKE UP OUR CROSS DAILY
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Jesus said to Simon Peter “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”
When you surrender to me; when you count yourself as absolutely nothing except an empty vessel with only one desire:
To Be Filled With Me.
You will then carry out my will solely for the sake of your brethren, as I carried out my Father’s will solely for your sakes.
The evidence of conversion is not what people see on the outside.
“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Luke 7:33-34
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’sbones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matt. 23:25-28
The evidence of conversion is the shift that happens on the inside.
We stop looking to the comforts, gains, and benefits of this world as succour.
We stop looking to ourselves for wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
We turn aside completely from every, single source, and turn to Christ.
Then, we will be able to say as Jesus did in John 4:34
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
Or as Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:7-8
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
This, brethren, is Conversion:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
May the Spirit of Christ tear down every resistance to true conversion in us. May He undo every damaging lie, belief, and stumbling block in our lives that the enemy put there, and we not only turned towards, but accepted as God’s truth. May the light of the Salvation of Christ, drive out every shadow of lies and deceit, that Satan has used to keep us in bondage. May your Spirit of Truth, Lord Jesus, bring us into the liberty of oneness with you. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Now to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power. Both now and forever. Amen.
The handmaid at His feet.