Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 94, 1893

Could Christ Have Yielded to the Tempter?


June 30, 1893

This manuscript is published in entirety in 6MR 110-112.

Brother A. [Lay?]:

In your letter in regard to the temptations of Christ, you say if He was one with God He could not fall. Imagine, if you can, yourself in Christ’s stead in the wilderness. There is no human voice you hear, but you are surrounded with demons, under deceptive pretensions as angels from heaven, in the most seducing attractions presenting Satan’s wily insinuations against God, as he did to our first parents. His sophistry is most deceiving and artful in undermining your confidence in God, destroying your faith and your trust, and keeping your mind on a constant strain so that he can get one clue that he can use to his own advantage to allure you into a controversy, as if reading your thoughts to which you will not give utterance, just as he did to Eve. 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 1

He could not obtain from Christ one word to lead him on. The word, “It is written,” was spoken from point to point as he tested Him. But only the quotation of His own words that He had inspired the holy men of old to write would come from Christ’s lips. All the great leading temptations wherewith man was beset were artfully presented. Weakened by fasting, Christ’s mental sufferings made this ordeal most severe. Forty days and forty nights did He endure this strain. Never were assaults of the prince of darkness more fearful. His fiery darts were surely aimed, but they found no lodgment. 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 2

The point you inquire of me is, In our Lord’s great scene of conflict in the wilderness, apparently under the power of Satan and his angels, was He capable, in His human nature, of yielding to these temptations? 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 3

I will try to answer this important question: As God He could not be tempted; but as a man He could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations. His human nature must pass through the same test and trial Adam and Eve passed through. His human nature was created; it did not even possess the angelic powers. It was human, identical with our own. He was passing over the ground where Adam fell. He was now where, if He endured the test and trial in behalf of the fallen race, He would redeem Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall, in our own humanity. 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 4

A human body and a human mind were His. He was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He was subjected to poverty from His first entrance into the world. He was subject to disappointment and trial in His own home, among His own brethren. He was not surrounded, as in the heavenly courts, with pure and lovely characters. He was compassed with difficulties. He came into our world to maintain a pure, sinless character, and to refute Satan’s lie that it was not possible for human beings to keep the law of God. Christ came to live the law in His human character in just that way in which all may live the law in human nature if they will do as Christ was doing. He had inspired holy men of old to write for the benefit of man: “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” Isaiah 27:5. 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 5

Abundant provision has been made that finite, fallen man may so connect with God that, through the same Source by which Christ overcame in His human nature, he may stand firmly against every temptation, as did Christ. He was subject to inconveniences that human nature is subjected to. He breathed the air of the same world we breathe. He stood and traveled in the same world we inhabit, which we have positive evidence was more friendly to grace and righteousness than it is today. 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 6

The higher attributes of His being it is our privilege to have, if we will, through the provisions He has made, appropriate these blessings and diligently cultivate the good in the place of the evil. We have reason, conscience, memory, will, affections—all the attributes a human being can possess. Through the provision made when God and the Son of God made a covenant to rescue man from the bondage of Satan, every facility was provided that human nature should come into union with His divine nature. In such a nature was our Lord tempted. He could have yielded to Satan’s lying suggestions as did Adam, but we should adore and glorify the Lamb of God that He did not in a single point yield one jot or one tittle. 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 7

Through being partakers of the divine nature we may stand pure and holy and undefiled. The Godhead was not made human, and the human was not deified by the blending together of the two natures. Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering. 8LtMs, Ms 94, 1893, par. 8