The Priesthood of  Christ. Part 4 of 5

Heb. iv. 14-16.

Taken from: THE BIBLE TREASURY, Edited by William Kelly #5 (New Series), May, 1896


Waits, therefore, our Lord Jesus here below was tempted like as we are in all points, He was tempted in a most important way that was altogether proper to Himself. And it was meet that it should be so; for He was not what one may call a merely natural member or natural head of the human family. Most truly a man He became, by grace made of a woman; but in His own right God, and the Son of God. And soon He was about to take the place of head of the new creation. He was to be the counterpart of the first man—as he in sin, so the Second in righteousness and grace; and just as Adam fell in a place that was peculiar to him in his measure, so the Lord Jesus stood under incomparably more severe temptations, and is now the glorified man in resurrection, as the other brought in death for himself and his race. Thus Adam’s case, here briefly sketched, helps, or ought to help, any soul that wants to know what temptation is; for the common notion that temptation supposes inward evil is a fatal mistake, and shows that there is a leaven of unsuspected heterodoxy in all who think so, and thereby fail to conceive of temptation apart from proclivity or tendency to sin. One need not do more than just ask the simple questions, Was not Adam tempted? and what was his condition when tempted? Certainly there was no sin, no inward proclivity to evil, in Adam before he fell. Sin therefore is in no way necessary to temptation in the sense of the word here meant; for the first great instance of temptation, and alas! of sin, was the case of a man who was made without sin. So here ; so with the Son of God Who conquered Satan, the destined extirpator of sin, and this too not by power but by suffering, that it might be by righteousness, and thus grace have all its blessed way for and with our souls. How admirably, here on earth morally, now in fact on high, was not our Lord Jesus the counterpart of that first man, Himself the second man, and last Adam!

I affirm then, that He, absolutely without sin, was therefore the very and only One that could be a prime object for temptation on the part of Satan. The enemy’s aim was to get sin in; but no, even at the very close, the prince of this world came and found nothing in Him. There was neither sin inwardly to excite, nor was there lack of dependence on God which admitted sin. It was not there, nor could it ever find entrance by independence of God. If Satan had only contrived to lead Him to use His own will, there had been sin at once, and all was ruined, every hope gone. It could not be indeed; for He was both a divine person and the dependent, obedient man. The foe was utterly foiled. And there is the great mistake—that many reason from themselves to Him, and conceive it was a kind of virtue or merit in the Lord Jesus that He never sinned. Whereas there never was a question about His sinning, either to God or even to any man who believed in Him.

How could any one born of God entertain for one moment the thought of the Lord Jesus failing? Could such a profane dreamer be really supposed to believe that He is the Son of God? All these speculations of men which lower the glory of Jesus simply show that they do not really believe that Jesus is God while a man. They do not know what they mean by such a confession as that He is the Son of God to be honoured as the Father. They do not truly believe that He is God Himself as truly as the Father or the Holy Ghost; for His becoming a man detracted nothing from it. He took manhood into union with His deity; but the incarnation in no way lowered the deity, while it raised humanity in His person into union with God. Each nature, however, preserved its own properties. There was no confusion. Each was exactly what it should be—human nature, and divine nature, each in all its own characteristic excellence, combined, not confounded, in His person. And such was Jesus, Who came to glorify His God and Father, and deliver us from our sins to His glory by redemption through His blood.

(To be continued, D.V.)