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If God can't be tempted by evil, what about Jesus?

‘If God can't be tempted by evil (see James 1:13), what about Jesus? Was he really tempted? And even if he was, wasn’t it just easy for him to resist? Jesus couldn't sin!’ They were questions that were asked at home group on Tuesday evening. And they were questions that weren’t really answered at home group on Tuesday evening (sorry!) However, Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is able to help us. He writes this:

‘For some time now, I have considered another possible way of dealing with [these questions], one that flows from a strong sense in which Christ should be understood to have lived his life of sinless obedience as a man, anointed and empowered by the Spirit, to live his life and carry out his calling, obedient to the end. Essentially this proposal runs as follows: Jesus was genuinely impeccable (he couldn't sin) owing to the fact that in the incarnation it was none other than the immutable and eternally holy Second Person of the Trinity who joined to himself a full human nature. Nevertheless, this impeccability of his Person did not render his temptations inauthentic or his struggles disingenuous. How so? Jesus resisted these temptations and in every way obeyed his Father, not by recourse to his divine nature but through the resources provided to him in his full humanity. In short, this proposal suggests that coming to terms with the distinction between why it was that Christ could not sin – [because] he was God – and why it is that he did not sin – [because] he was the human Jesus, anointed and empowered by the Spirit – in fact presents us with an answer to this theological problem that promises to account fully for the genuineness of his impeccability and the genuineness of his temptations.’

This is a the summary of Bruce Ware's proposal. If you want to read his explanation in full it’s available online: It’s not the easiest read but it's a really encouraging one (and he has a good illustration about a swimmer attempting to break the world record for the longest continuous swim!) Enjoy!


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