Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"So Good a God, So Good a Man"

    Our memory verse this week speaks to the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ experienced temptation in His human rather than His Divine nature.  "God cannot be tempted with evil" (James 1:13).

    Of course, we tread on thin ice when we attempt to understand or explain the mystery that "God was manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy 3:16).  Divinity and humanity perfectly unite in the Lord Jesus.  How this "hypostatic union" (as termed by theologians) exists and how it functions will likely forever remain an enigma in our finite minds.  Our Savior is no less God because He is man, and no less man because He is God.  As we often suggest, there is no one like Him in both Heaven and earth, and God alone fathoms how His Son can dwell as man without compromising His deity, and as God without instantly obliterating His human soul and body.

The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God" (John 10:33).
Will God indeed dwell on the earth?  Behold, the heaven and Heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee!" (I Kings 8:27).

    Regarding our current consideration, James' definitive statement that "God cannot be tempted with evil" allows us to know with certainty that the Lord Jesus faced temptation as a man.  Many pathways of thought proceed from this wonder of humility and condescension.  The truth, however, that most touches my heart involves the fact that our Savior knows from personal experience what it feels like to be tempted.  He never succumbed, of course, but He fully knows the pressure of thoughts, feelings, and yearnings contrary to the glory and will of God.  In fact, He knows such challenge far more than anyone else because only of Christ can it be said that He "was in all points tempted" (Hebrews 4:15; emphasis added).  The Lord Jesus experienced the full gamut of human temptation, and even more, He knew the sacrifice involved in overcoming conflicting sensibilities to the godliness of His character, nature, and way.  Indeed, "Yes!" affirmed to God always involves a "No!" directed toward some fleshly experience that offers a real, if fleeting, momentary pleasure.  "
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:24-25).

    This is written as an offering of appreciation toward so good a God, and so good a Man.  Yes, in both Heaven and earth, there is no one like the Lord Jesus.  The more we know and ponder the extent of His sacrifice for us, the more we will love, trust, and seek to honor and obey Him in all things.  This is life, for "to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).  And this is mystery, because the more we know of Christ, the more we realize how little of Him we can fathom.  A long eternity awaits the trusting heart, beckoning us to journey ever further into the Mystery, wherein glorious illumination graces us with Christ Jesus, the Wonder of all wonders...

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
(II Corinthians 4:6)
"We have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
(Hebrews 4:15)

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