CEM’s Ron Dart: “Jesus was tempted in all points like we are”



In his latest commentary, CEM’s Ron Dart correctly posted:

The New Testament writers tell us that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, and that he suffered every kind of pain that we suffer.

And that is what today’s post will focus on.

In the New Testament, John begins by making the divinity of Jesus clear when he wrote,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1-3 NKJV unless otherwise specified).

Thus the Word was God and was with God. And the Word, Jesus, is a lot like the Father, notice

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

An important point to notice is that this shows that Jesus was God and that He became flesh–scripture does not state that He remained fully God on the earth.

Some serious students of the Bible understand that Jesus was not “fully human and fully God”, which is a major position held by most trinitarians.

There are four major claims to support that position:

1. The Bible shows that Jesus emptied Himself of His Divinity while in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 8:9 teaches that Jesus became poor, yet God is rich (Haggai 2:8). Philippians 2:7 specifically teaches, “…Christ Jesus, who subsisting in (the) form of God thought (it) not robbery to be equal to God, but emptied Himself, taking (the) form of a slave, becoming in (the) likeness of men” (Literal translation. Green J.P. ed. Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, 3rd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 1996, p. 607). Note that “emptied Himself” is the literal translation in the Greek. Thus Jesus was not fully God (though God in the flesh) when He became a human.

2. Since Jesus repeatedly taught that He of Himself “could do nothing” prior to His resurrection (John 5:19,30;8:28), that He claimed He had “[a]ll authority” after the resurrection (Matthew 28:18), He was not fully God when He could do nothing.

3. The Bible states that Jesus was tempted in all points as humans are (Hebrews 4:15) and that “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13). “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17). Since “scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) He could not have been fully God while in the flesh.

4. Jesus was not called God in the flesh until after His resurrection (John 20:28).

Thus while Jesus was what God would be like in the flesh, He simply was not fully God then. Also, the idea of being both FULLY human and FULLY God at the same time is contradiction that a logically is not possible.

By being empty of His divinity, Jesus simply did not have the direct powers (John 14:10), the inability to somehow die (and the Father raised him, He did not raise Himself–Acts 13:30-34; Romans 10:9; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12), the inability to be tempted (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 4:15), and the glory that He had prior to His human birth and after His resurrection–thus Jesus was not “fully God and fully human” while in the flesh as the trinitarians tend to believe. The fact that Jesus actually died, and that one who is fully God cannot, also shows that Jesus was not “fully God” while on Earth.

Although I have heard some Protestant theologians improperly attempt to ignore what Paul taught in Philippians, perhaps the strangest one, was one who after admitting that kenosis (a word used in Philippians 2:7) means to empty, actually then stated that Jesus could not sin, and Jesus was God according to James 1:13. Let’s look at that passage from James to see what it actually states:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone (James 1:13).

Notice that verse says that God cannot be tempted.  However, the Greek word for tempted (peirazo) is the same as the one used in Hebrews:

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Thus, there is a contradiction in the Protestant theologian’s logic here.

By comparing James 1:13 to Hebrews 4:15 it is clear that since the Bible shows Jesus was tempted on earth (and this is repeated in many places in the New Testament) and that God cannot be tempted, that while on earth, Jesus was not fully God (though God in the flesh). Jesus was not God with all the godly attributes – but God in the flesh. God in the flesh is limited to the flesh. God in the flesh is subject to temptation to sin. The Word, prior to emptying Himself, was God Unlimited. While on earth He was limited, yet still God – but God in the flesh.

The main difference between He and us is that He had the Holy Spirit without measure, from birth.

Since we humans can sin, either Jesus was capable of sinning (which He was) or He was not tempted as we are.  This also demonstrates that while on earth, Jesus was not fully God. However, as scripture shows, Jesus now is God–and was prior to His incarnation. It is a clear biblical truth that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity to become a man prior to the resurrection.

Perhaps it should be noted that even what is believed to be the most ancient Christian complete sermon ever found, teaches that Jesus was Spirit and became flesh:

If Christ, the Lord who saved us, became flesh (even though he was originally spirit) and in that state called us…(Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed, 9:5. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p. 115).

This ancient sermon is saying that Jesus was originally spirit and became flesh like us! Thus, confirming the general binitarian position that Jesus, in fact, did fully empty Himself of His divinity while on Earth.

Many people, sadly, have been deceived about the nature of the Godhead.

Several articles of related interest may include:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the BeginningIs binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?

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