Saturday, September 18, 2010

Christ Could Not Be Tempted

Jesus is eternally God, therefore His very unchanging being is God and couldn't sin (impeccable). Nothing in Him is attracted to sin and disobedience.

Check it out:

Php 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

MacArthur states:

Paul began by affirming that Jesus is God. That is the point where the incarnation began and from which Christ began the descent of His humiliation. The Greek word translated "existed" (huparch[ma]o) is not the common verb for being (eimi). Huparch[me]o stresses the essence of a person's nature--the continuous state or condition of something (cf. William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976], p. 35). It expresses what one is unalterably and inalienably by nature. Paul's point was that Jesus Christ is unalterably and continuously existing in the form of God.

The meaning of the Greek word translated "form" (morphe) is crucial for a proper understanding of this passage. In English we have used that word to form terms like endomorph and ectomorph. Morphe "always signifies a form which truly and fully expresses the being which underlies it" (James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1930], p. 417). The word describes the essential being or nature of what it refers to--in this case the essential being of God.

Morphe is better understood when compared to the Greek word schema. Both words are translated in English as "form." That's the best English word for each term, but the meaning of each is not properly represented unless a distinction is made between them.

Morphe expresses is the essential character of something--what it is in itself. Schema emphasizes outward form or appearance. What morphe expresses never changes, while what schema represents can. For example, all men possess manhood. They possess manhood from the time they are conceived until they die. That is their morphe. But the essential character of manhood is shown in various schema. At one time a man is an embryo, then a baby, then a child, then a boy, then a youth, then a young man, then an adult, and finally an old man. The morphe of manhood remains the same, but the schema changes.

In using the word morphe in Philippians 2, Paul was saying Jesus possessed the unchangeable essential nature of God. That interpretation of the first phrase of verse 6 is strengthened by the second phrase, which says Jesus was equal with God. Being in the form of God speaks of Christ's equality to God.

Though He had all the rights, privileges, and honors of being God, Christ didn't grasp onto them. The word translated "grasp" originally meant "robbery" or "a thing seized by robbery." It eventually came to mean anything clutched, embraced, held tightly, prized, or clung to. Paul meant that though He was God, Christ refused to cling to His favored position with all its rights and honors, but was willing to give them up for a season.

When Christ emptied Himself, He not only gave up His privileges, but also became a servant. Paul used the Greek word morphe ("form") again to indicate that Christ's servanthood was not merely external (Gk., schema), but of His essence. It was not like a cloak, which can be put on and taken off. Christ was truly a servant. The only other New Testament use of the word morphe is in Mark 16:12. There Jesus appears in a resurrection morphe--a form fully expressing the nature of a resurrection body. In Philippians 2 Christ is shown as a true bondservant, doing the will of the Father. He submitted to the Father and the needs of men as well. Jesus was all that is portrayed of Him in Isaiah 52:13-14--a Messiah who was a servant.

~Read more here

W.E. Best demonstrates why its impossible for Jesus to have sinned (as if Phil. 2:6 wasn't enough): "Christ Could Not Be Tempted".

7 comments:

Editor said...

Hey Denise,
Love your blog, thanks for all the hard work!
OK, now my question. What do you do with this verse?


Hebrews 4:15-16

15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

Denise said...

"Weaknesses" refers to ailments of the body, which we know Jesus suffered from; He got thirsty, hungry, tired.

Denise said...

You might want to check out http://www.webbmt.org/EnglishHTML/Christ%20Could%20Not%20Be%20Tempted.htm

Editor said...

AHHHHH, ok, I get it.
Thanks for linking to the W.E. best book. Very enlightening...and humbling!

Nina said...

Hi Editor .. think? I might know you from your blogger bio. info,a distinct possibility. On the topic ..I believe as the link Denise provided explains ..that Christ could not have sinned , even in the hypothetical.. because a hypothetical without a possibility of occurance in the factual is , imo, rather meaningless. And had that actually occurred..Christ would not be God. Therefore the weaknesses have to be divorced from the notion of being sinful. Also although certainly there was external temptations , like the time in the wilderness .. there is no indication that Christ even mentally struggled with a desire to sin ( and I assume we agree?)
SDG, Nina

Editor said...

Nina,
Small world indeed! Why my name comes up as "editor" I do not know. I never entered that as my name. As for you possibly knowing me, if you are familiar with Mena and DABC you probably do know me! I didn't even remember that I had written that profile! Anyway, please say "hi" sometime and clear up the mystery.

Back to the subject at hand...I guess I am one of those people who thought that it was "possible" for Jesus to sin (even though he never would) or else he could not have truly been tempted. But I had never considered two things: 1) other scriptures like James ch. 1 and 2)there are other meanings for the Greek word used there for "tempted" (tried, etc.)
Basically, I have had false ideas about Christ and I am happy to be corrected. I often ask God to open my eyes to truth and he always graciously answers. That's why I really like this blog and some others.

Nina said...

Editor , Send Denise your email & she can forward it on to me. I heard Dallas Ave just had a church split. Not sure over what. Nina