Temptation and Sin
Temptation and Sin
There is a difference between being tempted and sinning. The Bible says, "Each one is tempted when he is enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin" (James 1:14, 15). Sin is not born in our heart, until the desire of our flesh has been allowed to conceive. When Satan or the flesh flash a suggestion into our mind, we are tempted. If our mind agrees with that temptation, then a conception takes place and sin is born.
To be tempted doesn't make us evil. Even Jesus Himself was tempted. But He never sinned even once in any way, and so He was totally pure.
The Scripture says that Jesus was "made like His brethren in all things" and "tempted in ALL THINGS as we are" (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15). He was tempted exactly like us, yet He never sinned.
That may not sound very wonderful to some of us, because we may feel that Jesus, being God, could naturally overcome sin easily. But remember, He had "emptied Himself" of the prerogatives of equality with God, when He came to earth (Philippians 2:6, 7). Although He was God, yet while He lived on earth as a man, He had access only to the same power of the Holy Spirit that He offers us today. That's why we are told to run the race, "fixing our eyes on Jesus." In our "striving against sin" today, we can look at His example and be encouraged (Hebrews 12:2-4). That's because He overcame each temptation that we face, as a Man too. Thus He has become a Forerunner and an Example for us to follow (Hebrews 6:20).
This is "the secret of godliness....- Christ came in the flesh ....and was declared righteous in the spirit" (1 Timothy 3:16). Although He had our flesh, He kept His spirit pure throughout His life.
This is what gives us hope that we too can overcome as He overcame. For He has "inaugurated a new and living way through the flesh" for us, in which we can follow Him (Hebrews 10:20). This is the way of sanctification.