- 2 -

An Un-Biblical position: Christ Did Not Take Our Nature

At this point, let us briefly become more acquainted with the primary alternative view. It is remarkably unscriptural.

Within recent years, the introduction by liberals, into our denomination, of the Calvinistic idea that Christ took the unfallen nature of Adam was followed by the appearance among us of the Calvinistic idea that it is impossible for man to stop sinning. The two go together.

Those favoring the position, that Christ had the "unfallen Adamic nature," do not have Scripture for their defense. Anyone who has frequently heard them speak or write their view will be able to recite it with little trouble. Their argument goes something like this:

Because He would have yielded to Satan's temptations and would have sinned if He had taken our nature, Christ must have taken Adam's unfallen nature. If He had taken our nature, weakened after thousands of years of sinful ancestors, He could not have resisted sin. There is no doubt about it. Because Scripture says Christ never sinned, therefore He must have come in Adam's pre-fall nature. Also, Scripture says Christ was the "second Adam"; surely, that must mean He had Adam's pre-fall nature.

Therefore, it is all right for us to yield to temptation and sin, since Christ did not live and die to give us an example in right living. He only died as our substitute. Not having our nature, Christ was insulated protected against sin; He could not sin. But we can. So we will inevitably keep sinning till the Second Coming. At that time, sin will be miraculously taken from us.

But, in reality, as Hebrews and Desire of Ages clearly reveals, Christ had far more than Adam's post-fall nature, Christ had the nature of Adam's descendants, thousands of years later! We earlier mentioned that this subject of the nature of Christ had important ramifications. Defenders of the unfallen nature theory explain those ramifications in this way:

Since neither the Bible nor the Spirit of Prophecy teach these errors, one would think that everyone would reject them. But, unfortunately, these ideas are very attractive to the human mind, for they provide an excuse for sin.

In an article published in Insight magazine, Morris Venden explained why he holds to the pre-fall Adamic nature of Christ view:

"There doesn't seem to be any question that the definition of sin, and the nature of Christ, and perfectionism are a package. I think that the contention is quite valid that if a person defines sin primarily in terms of transgression of the law in terms of legalistic terms and understandings then he is going to need to have a Saviour who has struggled with all of his same temptations to transgress the law. In the process one ends up with perfectionism and a behaviorally oriented Christianity.

"Now, if you go back to define sin in terms of relationship sin in terms of living a life apart from God you don't need to have a Saviour exactly as you are. "Morris Venden Talks to Insight, Part 1, Insight magazine, May 8,1979.

Venden is saying that the way we define sin, what we believe about the human nature of Christ, and whether we believe it is necessary to obey the Ten Commandments all go together. He adds that those people who believe the error that "sin is the transgression of the law" (and therefore believe they are obligated to obey it) will, indeed, need a Saviour who took their nature, relied on God as they must do, and successfully resisted sin.

To this, Venden adds that, according to his view, "sin" is not transgression of God's law, but only separation from God; therefore mankind does not need Christ's example and strength to resist temptation for sin has nothing to do with obedience!

Conclusion: We can sin and still be saved. In this position, Venden not only rejects the plain statement of 1 John 3:4, but he mistakes the cause for the effect of sin. The transgression of the law is the cause, and separation from God is the effect.

"But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear," Isaiah 59:2.

But Venden was right about the three parts to the one package: (1) What sin is. (2) what the nature of Christ is, (3) and whether we need to obey God are closely connected.

( 1) If sin is not the transgression of the law, then we do not need a Saviour to enable us to obey it. (Indeed, if sin is not disobedience, then we do not need a Saviour at all, for there is nothing to separate us from God!)

(2) If obedience is not necessary, then Christ could have a nature not like ours. He would not have to rely on God to help Him resist sin; instead. He would have an automatic not-able-to-sin quality. (And, if that be true, then He need not have come to earth at all!)

(3) If obedience is not necessary, then we can be saved in our sins. Eat, drink, and be merry, for everyone is going to heaven anyway.

Thank God for the truth! Thank God for the precious pages of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy! Thank God we can know the truth; and, coming to Christ, the truth can, in His strength, make us free to obey Him!

Sin is the transgression of the law.

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law," l John 3:4.

He lived to provide us an example that we might live as He lived, and walk in His steps. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps," l Peter 2:21.

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him," Colossians 2:6.

.. Christ..came to this world to save us...from our sins, not in our sins.

 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins," Matthew 1 :21.

"And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whoso abideth in Him sinneth not," l John 3:5-6.

Christ can take away our sins because He took our nature and, in it, never yielded to sin:

Do not be afraid of that "sinneth not" phrase in 1 John. It just means "is empowered to obey," and that is good news indeed! Through the enabling strength of Christ, we can obey His Written Word. That makes Him happy, and brings us truest happiness also.

He is not asking us to rely on our own strength, to resist temptation, and fulfill His will for our lives. He will be by our side, as long as we will let Him.

Worldlings, trying to disparage those who love God and want to obey Him, label them as "legalists" and "perfectionists." Concern yourself not about such terms; just know that, as you love God and want to obey Him, He will enable you, in His strength, to live clean, godly lives just as long as you choose to remain close to His side. This is what He wants for you and what you want for yourself. It is a sweet experience.

Frankly, in view of that majestic passage in Philippians 2:7-11 (in which God's Word tells us that Christ went from the highest to the lowest place in order to save us, and that. because of it. someday every knee shall bow in worship to Him), it is an insult to the Godhead for men to flippantly say that Christ did not go all the way down to our nature! Satan is laughing at his success. He does not want mankind to realize the extent of the sacrifice of Christ in its fullness.

"That the Son of God should come to this earth as a man filled him [Satan] with amazement and with apprehension. He could not fathom the mystery of this great sacrifice. His selfish heart could not understand such love for the deceived race. . Since he had lost heaven, he was determined to find revenge by causing others to share his fall. This he would do by causing them to undervalue heavenly things, and to set the heart upon things of earth. "Desire of Ages, 115-116.

"So now the tempter seeks to inspire Christ with his own sentiments. 'If Thou be the Son of God.' The words rankle with bitterness in his mind. In the tones of his voice is an expression of utter incredulity. Would God treat His Son thus? . . He insinuates that God never meant His Son to be in such a state as this. . He [Christ] had come as a man among men, and it was the Word that declared His connection with heaven. It was Satan's purpose to cause Him to doubt that Word. If Christ's confidence in God could be shaken. Satan knew that the victory in the whole controversy would be his," Op. cit., 118 119.

Today, Satan is seeking to shake our confidence in the plan of redemption! He whispers, "No, it cannot be true that Christ actually became a human. Surely, it would have been impossible for Him to keep from sinning, even with the help of His Father. And you can't stop sinning either. Get this settled in your mind!"

"He [Satan] is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf. . 'My grace is sufficient for thee' . . Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome." Great Controversy. 489. It is remarkable that the liberals dare say that Christ did not really take our flesh, for this is a view startlingly similar to the antichrist teaching! Read 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3-4; 2 John 7. They say that Christ took the nature of Adam. Totally immaculate, in conception, is what they tell us. This, of course, is close to the Roman Catholic dogma of the "Immaculate Conception" which Pope Pius IX proclaimed as infallible doctrine in A.D. 1854.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist."1 John 4:3.

The error is also closely related to that other Catholic error, Original Sin, invented by Augustine, a very licentious man whom the Vatican sainted. That is the teaching that we can neither resist nor overcome sin, with or without divine help, until Christ returns the second time.  

A Second Un-Biblical position: Christ Was a sinner

Part One: The Baker Letter

In that same letter, she said that Christ did not have our "sinful propensities." We are repeatedly told that Christ was born with the moral tendencies to sin that we have, but that not once did He develop sinful propensities; that is, begin loving it. These two statements explain one another:

"Not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity." Baker Letter. 5 BC 1128.

"Our natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as Christ overcame: 4 Testimonies, 235.

Likewise, He inherited the same ability to indulge passion that we do, but He never once did so:

"He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human fallen nature. . but compassed with infirmities, tempted in all points like as we are:2 Testimonies. 509.

"Though He had all the strength of passion of humanity, never did He yield to temptation to do one single act which was not pure and elevating and noble. "In Heavenly Places. 155.

It is obvious, from the above statements, that the words, "propensities" and "passions," are used in two senses: (1) an inherited tendency which could be indulged; (2) a tendency which, during His life, never was indulged.

But, in another sense. Ellen White used "propensities" and "passions" in two ways: First, human passions and propensities must be controlled by the Christian; and, second, evil ones must be eliminated. More on this later in this study.

W. L. H. Baker was an Adventist pastor in Tasmania, a large island just off the southeastern coast of Australia. He had accepted an ancient error, called Adoptionism.

Baker was not an ordinary pastor. From 1882 to 1887, he had been an assistant editor at Pacific Press; and, later, he accepted a call to go to the newly started publishing house in Australia. During his research work, he discovered the writings of the so-called "early church fathers", who frequently speculated about theology and the nature of Christ. Baker became intrigued, and accepted one of those errors.

Very early in church history, after New Testament times a theology developed among certain Greeks, that Christ was a man with a non-virgin birth, on whom divine qualities had later been conferred. It was taught in Rome, during the years A.D. 189-199, by a leather merchant from Byzantium named Theodotus (Phillip Carrington. The Early Christian Church. Vol. 2, 415). Paul of Samosata, who served as bishop of Antioch from 260 to 269, expanded the error still further. Because this was an influential bishop, many in the Eastern and Armenian churches held on to the error for centuries (A. H. Newman, A Manual of Church History, Vol 2, 379-380).

In the 8th century it was advocated among the Western churches by Elipandus of Spain (R. R. Mackintosh, The Person of Jesus Christ, 223-224).

The Ebionites, Paul of Samosata, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and the Antiochene School in general exemplified this type of Christology. Then the concept died away.

But, in eighth-century Spain, the theory broke out again; and, still later in the Dark Ages, it reappeared in more moderate forms when Abelard and others revived similar views.

The Adoptionists maintained that Jesus was a regular man, without a virgin birth, who had sinned less than those around Him so He had been "adopted" by the Word and thus incorporated into the Godhead. (For more on the Adoptionists, see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, 618-621 and Albert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History, Vol. 2, 379380.)

In modern times, certain liberal Protestant theologians have taught the concept. According to this theory, God waited until a good-enough man grew up; and, then, He adopted him into the Godhead. But, according to Scripture, God sent His Son into the world.

There is a world of difference between the view that a man became God and the Bible position, that God became man.

Near or shortly after the end of the year 1895, Ellen White wrote a letter to W. L. H. Baker, warning him against his theory that Christ had not only been adopted, but that He had sinned at various times in His life!

In this letter, she warned Pastor Baker about spending too much time in reading and cautioned him against accepting the speculations of the early church fathers.

As one might expect, she also stressed the fact that Christ was sinless. But, because in that letter she said that Christ did not have our "passions" and "propensities," advocates of a prefall nature of Christ position have cited those passages as evidence that Christ did not really have our fallen nature.

Christ was divine-human, and Baker believed Him to be altogether human. If the charge of these critics is true, then the Baker letter would run entirely opposite to all her other hundreds of statements on the subject, and would disagree with the Bible as well!

But, viewed in the context of Pastor Baker's error, her statements are understandable. The Baker letter (Letter 8, 1895) was 13 pages in length. Nearly all of 11 pages were concerned with pastoral work. Much of the letter is to be found in Manuscript Release 414 (released February 12, 1975). Slightly over 2 pages are concerned with Baker's Christological error. This key portion has been reprinted in 5 Bible Commentary, 1128-1129. All of the statements which liberals use to infer that Ellen White did not believe that Christ took our nature are to be found in those two pages.

Here is the complete passage, with the controverted statements (used to suggest that Ellen White did not believe that Christ took our nature) in italics. She was telling him that Christ was not merely a good man who had sinned on occasion, whom God adopted into the Godhead.

"Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin, his posterity was born with the inherited propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness, as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden.

"Brother Baker, avoid every question in relation to the humanity of Christ which is liable to be misunderstood. Truth lies close to the track of presumption. In treating upon the humanity of Christ, you need to guard strenuously every assertion, lest your words be taken to mean more than they imply, and thus you lose or dim the clear perceptions of His humanity as combined with divinity. His birth was a miracle of God; for, said the angel, 'Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, 'How shall this be, seeing that I know not a man?' And the angel answered and said unto her, 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.'

"These words are not addressed to any human being, except to the Son of the Infinite God. Never, in any way, leave the slightest impression upon human minds that a taint of, or inclination to, corruption rested upon Christ or that He in any way yielded to corruption, He was tempted in all points like as man is tempted, yet He is called "that holy thing." It is a mystery that is left unexplained to mortals, that Christ could be tempted in all points like as we are and yet without sin. The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and will ever remain, a mystery, That which is revealed is for us and for our children, but let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such an one as ourselves: for it cannot be. The exact time when humanity blended with divinity, it is not necessary for us to know. We are to keep our feet on the rock, Christ Jesus, as God revealed in humanity.

"I perceive that there is danger in approaching subjects which dwell on the humanity of the Son of the infinite God. He did humble Himself when He saw He was in fashion as a man, that He might understand the force of all temptations wherewith man is beset.

"The first Adam fell; the second Adam held fast to God and His Word under the most trying circumstances; and His faith in His Father's goodness, mercy, and love did not waver for one moment. 'It is written' was His weapon of resistance, and it is the sword of the Spirit which every human being is to use. 'Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me'nothing to respond to temptation, On not one occasion was there a response to His manifold temptations. Not once did Christ step on Satan's ground. to give him an advantage, Satan found nothing in Him to encourage his advances." Letter 8, 1895, 5 Bible Commentary, 11281129 [Italics ours].

It is clear, throughout the above passage, that Ellen White was telling Baker that he should not give the people the idea that Jesus Christ might have sinned. This is clearly her chief concern. Ten times she stated in the strongest terms that Christ never sinnednot once, not in the slightest degree:

"Not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity."

"Never, in any way. .

"Do not leave the slightest impression. . "That He in any way yielded, .

"Did not waver for one moment. ,

" 'Hath nothing in Me' , ,

"Nothing to respond to temptation. .

"Not one occasion has been given in response

"Satan found nothing in Him, ,"Baker Letter.

 This is why she wrote:

"He [Christ] could have sinned, He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity," Baker Letter. "Let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such an one as ourselves," Baker Letter, Christ was not altogether human; He was God and man combined. Instead of being "altogether human," she said He had a miraculous birth and total sinlessness throughout His life. But she also points out two great similarities between Christ's life and ours: His temptations and His human nature.     

But why did she write, in the Baker letter, that Christ did not have evil "passions" and "propensities"? She used "propensities" and "passions" in two ways: First, human passions and propensities must be controlled by the Christian; and, second, evil ones must be eliminated. Consider this:

God's people are to have controlled passions:

 "His [unfallen Adam's] appetites and passions were under the control of reason, "Patriarchs and Prophets, 45.

"A man of like passions as ourselves, the pen of inspiration describes him [Daniel] as with out fault." Prophets and Kings, 546.

All circumstances, all appetites and passions, are to be servants of the God-fearing man." Testimonies to Ministers, 421.

"The appetite and passions should be restricted and under the control of an enlightened conscience," 3 Testimonies, 491.

God's people are to have their propensities under control:

"That your passions and appetites may be subject to the control of reason, , Our natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as Christ overcame." 4 Testimonies, 235.

" . . enabling men to bring all their propensities under the control of the higher powers," 3 Testimonies, 491.

"If enlightened intellect holds the reins, controlling the animal propensities. keeping them in subjection to the moral powers, Satan well knows that his power to overcome with his temptations is very small." Messages to Young People, 237.

God's people must eliminate evil passions:

"Our pride, selfishness, evil passions, and love of the world must all be overcome. " 3 Testimonies, 115.

"The unsanctified will and passions must be crucified. " 3 Testimonies, 84.

"When this [the grace of Christ] is implanted in the heart, it will cast out the evil passions that cause strife and dissension. " Desire of Ages, 305.

God's people must eliminate evil propensities: "We need not retain one sinful propensity. " Review. April 24, 1900.

Although their evil propensities may seem to them as precious as the right hand or the right eye, they must be separated from the worker, or he cannot be acceptable to God. " Testimonies to Ministers. 1 71-1 72.

As it must be with us, so it was with Christ. This is why it was written of Him:

"He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with infirmities, tempted in all points even as we are. "2 Testimonies, 509.

"He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. "2 Testimonies, 202.

"Not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity." Baker Letter.

Because of the two aspects (passions and propensities that we must control), this was penned:

"Though He had all the strength of passion of humanity, never did He yield to temptation to do one act which was not pure and elevating and noble." In Heavenly Places, 155.

"He was made like unto His brethren, with the same susceptibilities. mental and physical." Review, February 10, 1885.

"Our natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as Christ overcame." 4 Testimonies, 235.

In one passage, Adam's unfallen nature, without fallen principles and tendencies, is contrasted as different than the nature Christ took:

Adam was tempted by the enemy. and he fell. It was not indwelling sin that caused him to yield; for God made him pure and upright; in His own image. He was as faultless as the angels before the throne. There were in him no corrupt principles, no tendencies to evil; but when Christ came to meet the temptations of Satan, He bore 'the likeness of sinful flesh.' " Signs, October 17, 1900 [italics ours].

It is highly significant that Ellen White wrote the Baker letter at the very time that she was putting the finishing touches on the manuscript for the book, Desire of Ages, which contains outstanding passages on the nature of Christ.

That letter was also written in the very middle of a two-year period in which many, many earnest sermons and articles were written by Ellen White and other workers in favor of the Bible position (that Christ had a sinful, fallen nature like ours. but in that nature had never sinned).

A. T. Jones, in a series of talks, made the point not less than 90 times. Taken down stenographically, they were reported in the General Conference Bulletin. Later that year, William Covert, J. H. Durland, and W. W. Prescott published on the subject in the Review.

Then, in 1896, along with 20 statements by Ellen White and several by J. E. Evans, Stephen Haskell, and others, the Review published a series of articles by W. W. Prescott, in which he restated his conviction about the human nature of Christ at least 25 times.

During that two-year period (1895-1897), there were not less than 250 statements made by Ellen White and other prominent workers that Christ came to our world in the human nature of fallen man.

In conclusion, we can say that the Baker letter should be viewed in light of Baker's errors. Ellen White's concern for his soul, and her hundreds of other statements on the nature of Christ. She never published that letter.

The Baker letter does not say that Christ came in the unfallen nature of Adam, even though critics interpret it that way.

Regarding "passions" and "propensities." the Spirit of Prophecy spoke of them in two ways; ( 1) as hereditary potential which Christ could have exercised;

"Though He had all the strength of passion of humanity, never did He yield to do one single act which was not pure and elevating and ennobling. "In Heavenly Places, 155.

"He was made like unto His brethren, with the same susceptibilities, mental and physical." Review, February 10, 1885.

(2) Speaking of passions and propensities, which He did not have:

 "He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen nature, but compassed with infirmities, tempted in all points like even as we are."2 Testimonies, 509.

"He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions."2 Testimonies. 202.

"Not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity:' Baker letter, 5 Bible Commentary, 1128. In summary, we are told:

"It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin:'Desire of Ages, 49.

And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. Review, July 28, 1874,

"In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition. Christ did not in the least participate in its sin." 5 Bible Commentary, 1131.

Just that which you may be He was in human nature. Letter 106, 1896.

Un-Biblical Positions

A Second Un-Biblical position:

Christ Was a sinner

Part Two:

Current Statements that Christ Had a sinful Will

It is surprising how inventive people can be when it comes to the human nature of Christ. Down through history, there have always been two erroneous extremes: Either Christ did not take our nature at all or He did take our nature and sinned.

The former position is held by liberals in our church today; the latter by Elder Baker.

Another, who came close to this other extreme, that Christ had sin in His life, was A. T. Jones, who said that Jesus had "flesh laden with sin":

"That He can manifest Himself in flesh laden with sin and with all the tendencies to sin, such as ours isthis is a mystery. "A. T. Jones, Bible Echo. November 30, 1896.

But in recent years, one strong defender of the correct position has carried the matter to extremes. In his writings, he has suggested that Christ thought sinful thoughts and had a corrupt will. This cannot be true! Both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy are adamant that Christ was totally sinless in thought, word, and deed. His will power was strong. Yes, He was tempted, but He instantly resisted and was not in the slightest affected or infected with evil thoughts or motives. He was tempted, but never entertained the temptation for a moment.

The individual referred to is a very fine individual who, very likely, overstepped a little in a few paragraphs in his writings. Therefore it should not be necessary to name him.

Here are a couple sample statements, so the reader will know what to watch out for:


Disputed book quotation # 1: "Why did Jesus say, 'I seek not mine own will' (John 5:30), and 'I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will' (John 6:38)? Why would it be necessary to say this if His own will was faultless and pure, and holy? But if His own will and His own inclination were tending toward the negative, then it would make sense for Him to ask His Father's will be done." Page 59.

Our comment: It is clear, from both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, that Jesus was the unblemished Sacrifice. His own will was faultless, pure, and holy. As our example, He submitted to the Father as we today should submit to the Godhead. It is totally unnecessary to declare Him weak in will power and almost overwhelmed by temptation, as is implied in the above statement. This is not the portrait of Jesus that we find anywhere in the Inspired Writings! His will was never tending toward the negative.

Disputed quotation #2: "He [Christ] knew what it was like to go wrong. He knew what it was like to feel the temptation to rebel against God, and that temptation arose from within His own nature. "Page 60.

Our comment: Jesus was fully God, and He became fully man. He took the fallen nature of mankind, after 4,000 years of sin. In that nature, He was fully tempted of Satan, by His surroundings, and associates. In exactly what way He was tempted, we are not necessarily told. It is not for us to presume to delve into such matters. But the sentence, "He knew what it was like to go wrong," is totally abhorrent! Jesus knows what we are all like, and He can read the mind of a criminal but He Himself was no criminal in His mind, and He never went wrong! He did no evil.

Equal in sacred status with the statement, "He took our nature," is the teaching, "He never sinned." We are not to ignore the second, in order to add strength to the first.

Disputed quotation #3: Are not our problems basically self and pride and the desires that come from our fallen nature? Do we not fall most often because of the inner desires that lead us astray? If Jesus did not have any of these, could it really be true that He was tempted in all points as we are? Page 59.

Our comment: According to this statement, Jesus had self, pride, and sinful desires. Why are not the grand words of Inspiration on this subject thought sufficient for us? Why must we insert the suspicion that Christ had sinful desires? We fully agree that He was tempted, but Christ did not have sinful desires!

Hundreds of times the Spirit of Prophecy confirms the Bible truth that Christ took our fallen nature; and hundreds of times those writings attest to the fact that, in that nature, He never once sinned in any way in thought, word, or action. The Bible fully concurs in this. Indeed, those inspired books go on to say that, because in our nature He never sinned or in the slightest yielded to temptation, therefore we can avoid sin in our lives just as fully. But, if in His life Jesus was locked into selfish and prideful desires, then we are too.

Jesus had pure desires, not sinful desires. Yes, He was tempted to accept the sinful desires. But, in the strength of His Father, He instantly repulsed the thought. Although tempted to do so, He did not accept the temptation.

Disputed quotation #4: "If Jesus' life is to have any meaning as an example for us, then it is crucial that He inherit just what I inherit." [We agree with that, but not with this:] "We do inherit badness, weakness, and corruption from Adam. " Pages 55, 27.

Our comment: We inherit weaknesses, but we do not inherit badness. That would be tantamount to inheritance of sin. We inherit a sinful nature, but we do not inherit sinfulness; there is a difference. Jesus inherited a fallen nature; He did not inherit badness. Such a view is not Scriptural. Let us stay with the simplicity of God's Word rather than trying to reshape it.

A corollary erroneous statement is cited next. It comes from Alonzo T. Jones, who tended to be flamboyant in his speeches:

Disputed quotation #5: "Then Satan took Jesus upon an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them too the glory, the honor, the dignity, He showed Him all that. And there, at that moment, there was stirred up all the ambition that ever appeared in Napoleon, or Caesar, or Alexander, or all of them put together. But from Jesus still the answer is: 'It is written. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.' "1895 General Conference Bulletin, Number 7.

Our comment: A. T. Jones is here attributing evil ambitions to Jesus stronger than those that were in three of the most devilishly ambitious men who ever lived. Note that, according to Jones, Christ was not presented with those ambitions; they were stirred up within Him.

For shame, for shame, that a man must, for the sake of making a more startling speech, reduce Jesus to a sinful man, barely able to control His feelings and thoughts! Yet, in the Spirit of Prophecy, we are told that "the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character."

Men are willing to attribute evil thoughts and feelings to Jesus, in order to strengthen a Scriptural truth, which is already clear enough. Jesus was tempted as we are; but, because He never once yielded, the temptations did not awaken memories of past indulgences. One may say then, Was He tempted as strongly as we are? Yes. for He was tempted incessantly, far beyond anything we are subject to. Second, He underwent the agony of the wilderness temptation, the crisis of Gethsemane, and the Crucifixion which none of us will ever face to the degree He did. Third, He was tempted to use His super-powerful divine nature, which He never did.

There is an area of speculation which we should avoid: We should not seek to implant sinful aspirations, hopes, and desires in the mind of Jesus!

The disputed passages should never have been written! This type of thing can result in most startling errors. We should remain with the Words of God, as found in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Our strength will be found in staying close to Scripture, not in wandering from it.

We should be careful how we discuss the nature of Christ, so as not to lead minds away from basic truths and into speculative errors.

Christ took our fallen human nature. The Bible definition of His humanity is wonderfully accurate. It is equally wonderful for its simplicity: "He was tempted in all points as we, yet without sin." Why is it thought necessary to delve into that mystery so that we place sinful thoughts in the mind of Jesus? To do so is terrible. Let us remain with the simplicity in which Scripture endows the subject.

Here is an example of how it works: A person is tempted to have thoughts of rebellion against God. Christ was tempted with that thought also. But the temptation came to Him even more powerfully than it does to us.

However, when the temptation came to Christ He instantly cast it out. He repulsed it, just as we may do. When the temptation comes to a person who has had rebellious thoughts before, that person is also free to reject the temptation or accept it. If he is trusting in Jesus, God will give him grace to repulse it as Christ did even though he may earlier have indulged in rebellious thoughts. It is in that sense that Christ has no advantage over us in meeting temptation. The strength He received to meet them, we too can have.

But, if the man chooses to linger on the temptation for a moment, then it strikes an answering chord in his own mind. He lingers over the temptation as Eve lingered about the forbidden tree.

But Christ never lingered.

Someone will say, "Well, then, Christ had no answering chords, but we do." Yes, but the answering chords the sympathies with sin are only there when we linger. Christ did not linger, and neither need we. If you do not linger over it, when the temptation comes, there will be no answering chord to worry about. In the strength of Christ, repulse it immediately. Refuse it instantly. In addition, as you continue doing that. the answering chords tend to fade away.

I speak from experience, I am sure you have experienced it also. It is an experience we can all have from day to day. In the strength of Christ we can overcome all the power of the evil one. Thank God!

(Yet, as we draw closer to our Creator. we will continually feel more and more our deficiencies and our weakness apart from Him. There will be no vaunted pride. "Hey, look at me! I have overcome, and am living without sin!" Flee from anyone who claims to be without sin. Earnest Christians do not consider themselves sinless and worthy of eternal life. Men, such as those from LOR (see our tracts on that cult), have hypnotized and overcome Advent believers by telling them that, if they accept them as spiritual guides they could tell them how to overcome sin, once and for all, that same evening.)

But, from time to time, those strong temptations will come again. Yet, just as Jesus did. we can as quickly resist them and cast them out. Why do we do this? because we love Jesus with all our hearts, more than we love the evils of earth. Our loyalty is to the God of heaven, not to the devilish trinkets Satan presents to us.

Thus, we find that Jesus did not have evil feelings, evil thoughts, evil words, or evil actions. He was sinless. He harbored nothing evil.

Did He have evil tendencies or propensities? He inherited weaknesses just as we all do. But He yielded to none of them. He entertained none of them in His thoughts. Thus it is clear that Christ did have inherited tendencies, but He had no evil propensities such as we do. To say that again: He inherited weaknesses and tendencies as we do; but, because he did not respond favorably to any of them when tempted. He did not change it into an evil disposition or liking, in His mind. He did not transform the potential immorality into actual immorality. He did not respond favorably to inherited or environmental negative factors. Because He did not accept them, He did not make them His own.

In view of all that we have discussed, it is clear that Christ is our perfect Example. He is the great Exemplar, the Pattern Man, the One we can safely follow in every way.

He was tempted in every way we are, yet He never once yielded to the temptations. He did not have the blood of raging rebels burning in His veins; He did not have rebellious thoughts against God; He did not have pride, stubbornness, and evil desires overwhelming Him.

But someone will say, "But I do!" Well, the same strength available to Him is now available to you. Read the little book, Steps to Christ, carefully; and you will find it all outlined in clear detail.

Keep in mind that Christ was also tempted more than you will ever be tempted. First, He was tempted incessantly by Satan.

No human being was ever tempted as constantly as was Christ. Why? Whether Satan conquers you or me is of some importance to him, But whether he could overcome Christ was a life-or death issue to him! If the devil could win Christ to his side, he, Satan, would not have to perish someday in the lake of fire! There would be no lake of fire! So the temptations experienced by Christ were utterly devastating in strength and in constancy.

In this life, Christ was continually harassed by evil relatives, associates, priests, and people to a degree you and I will never experience. Satan did no idling while Christ walked this planet. Second, Christ experienced the forty-day Wilderness temptations for our sakes, and He went through Gethsemane and the agony of the cross. Third, Christ was tempted to call upon His divine nature to come to His aid. But He never did that. That alone was a powerful temptation. So then, the temptations of Christ were far greater than any experienced by mankind. Yet, through it all, He never once yielded. Never once was His mind tainted by the evil of this world.

How can we know it? Because God's Word tells us so. When we believe the Word, everything else falls into place.

Here are several interesting statements, relating to this matter of the will:

"There are many who in their hearts murmur against God. They say, 'We inherit the fallen nature of Adam, and are not responsible for our natural imperfections: They find fault with God's requirements, and complain that He demands what they have no power to give. Satan made the same complaint in heaven, but such thoughts dishonor God. "Signs, August 29, 1892.

"Since the sin of Adam, men in every age have excused themselves from sinning, charging God with their sin, saying that they could not keep His commandments." Australian Signs, September 14, 1903.

"The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. . It is the deciding power." 5 Testimonies, 513.

"While Satan can solicit, he cannot compel to sin. . The tempter can never compel us to do evil. . The will must consent. "Desire of Ages, 125.

"There is no excuse for sinning." Desire of Ages, 311.

"Let the children bear in mind that the child Jesus had upon Himself human nature, and was in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was tempted of Satan like all children are tempted. " Youth's Instructor. August 23, 1894.

Just that which you may be He was in human nature." Letter 106, 1896.

May Jesus give us strength to live His life. Here is a significant statement to close this section:

 "And as Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be. Ministry of Healing, 426.

As Jesus was on earth, so God wants us to be. He does not want sinful thoughts raging through our minds. He wants us in peace with Heaven, as His own Son was when here.