- 2 -
An Un-Biblical position: Christ Did Not Take Our Nature
this point, let us briefly become more acquainted with the primary
alternative view. It is remarkably unscriptural.
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.
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:
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
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.
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:
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.
an article published in Insight magazine, Morris Venden explained why he
holds to the pre-fall Adamic nature of Christ view:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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!)
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.
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!
is the transgression of the law.
committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression
of the law," l John 3:4.
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.
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.
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.
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.
can take away our sins because He took our nature and, in it, never
yielded to sin:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!"
[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.
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.
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.
One: The Baker Letter
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:
for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity." Baker
Letter. 5 BC 1128.
natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as
Christ overcame: 4 Testimonies, 235.
He inherited the same ability to indulge passion that we do, but He
never once did so:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
the 8th century it was advocated among the Western churches by Elipandus
of Spain (R. R. Mackintosh, The Person of Jesus Christ, 223-224).
Ebionites, Paul of Samosata, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and the Antiochene
School in general exemplified this type of Christology. Then the
concept died away.
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.
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.)
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.
is a world of difference between the view that a man became God and the
Bible position, that God became man.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity."
in any way. .
not leave the slightest impression. . "That He in any way
not waver for
one moment. ,
'Hath nothing in Me' , ,
"Nothing to respond to temptation. .
one occasion has been given in response
found nothing in Him, ,"Baker Letter.
is why she wrote:
[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
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:
people are to have controlled passions:
[unfallen Adam's] appetites and passions were under the control of
reason, "Patriarchs and Prophets, 45.
man of like passions as ourselves, the pen of inspiration describes him
[Daniel] as with out fault." Prophets and Kings, 546.
circumstances, all appetites and passions, are to be servants of the
God-fearing man." Testimonies to Ministers, 421.
appetite and passions should be restricted and under the control of an
enlightened conscience," 3 Testimonies, 491.
people are to have their propensities under control:
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.
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.
people must eliminate evil passions:
pride, selfishness, evil passions, and love of the world must all be
overcome. " 3 Testimonies, 115.
unsanctified will and passions must be crucified. " 3
this [the grace of Christ] is implanted in the heart, it will cast out
the evil passions that cause strife and dissension. " Desire of
people must eliminate evil propensities: "We need not retain one
sinful propensity. " Review. April 24, 1900.
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.
it must be with us, so it was with Christ. This is why it was written of
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.
is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions.
"2 Testimonies, 202.
for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity." Baker
Because of the two aspects (passions and propensities that we must control), this was penned:
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.
was made like unto His brethren, with the same susceptibilities. mental
and physical." Review, February 10, 1885.
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:
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].
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
Baker letter does not say that Christ came in the unfallen nature of
Adam, even though critics interpret it that way.
"passions" and "propensities." the Spirit of
Prophecy spoke of them in two ways; ( 1) as hereditary potential which
Christ could have exercised;
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.
was made like unto His brethren, with the same susceptibilities, mental
and physical." Review, February 10, 1885.
Speaking of passions and propensities, which He did not have:
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.
is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like
passions."2 Testimonies. 202.
for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity:' Baker letter, 5
Bible Commentary, 1128. In summary, we are told:
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.
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,
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.
A Second Un-Biblical position:
Christ Was a sinner
Current Statements that Christ Had a sinful Will
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.
former position is held by liberals in our church today; the latter by
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
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.
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.
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.
are a couple sample statements, so the reader will know what to watch
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
corollary erroneous statement is cited next. It comes from Alonzo T.
Jones, who tended to be flamboyant in his speeches:
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
should be careful how we discuss the nature of Christ, so as not to lead
minds away from basic truths and into speculative errors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Christ never lingered.
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.
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!
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.)
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.
we find that Jesus did not have evil feelings, evil thoughts, evil
words, or evil actions. He was sinless. He harbored nothing evil.
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.
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.
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.
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
in mind that Christ was also tempted more than you will ever be tempted.
First, He was tempted incessantly by Satan.
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.
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.
can we know it? Because God's Word tells us so. When we believe the
Word, everything else falls into place.
are several interesting statements, relating to this matter of the
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.
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.
will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the
other faculties under its sway. . It is the deciding power." 5
Satan can solicit, he cannot compel to sin. . The tempter can never
compel us to do evil. . The will must consent. "Desire of Ages,
is no excuse for sinning." Desire of Ages, 311.
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
that which you may be He was in human nature." Letter 106,
Jesus give us strength to live His life. Here is a significant statement
to close this section:
as Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be.
Ministry of Healing, 426.
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.