For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15–16 (NIV)
Jesus was tempted, but he did not sin.
Jesus was tempted, but he chose not to sin, leaving him qualified to be the sacrifice for our sins.
Matthew reports, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). And Paul says Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV).
If Jesus was tempted, yet did not sin, then temptation is not a sin.
Our freedom to decide not to sin was bought by the blood of Jesus Christ. The temptation is the intruder who prompts us to call 911; he hasn’t stolen anything yet.
This is an important truth to understand, because if we believe temptation is sin, then we’re likely to assume there’s no use in struggling against the temptation because we think we’ve already sinned in it; we think we've already crossed the line, so we might as well go all the way. This helps us see why it’s so very important to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
Our High Priest, Jesus, knew temptation and he is now able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV).
He also knows no temptation comes to us except what is common to man. “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).
Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace.
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This devotional is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.