My question relates to Hebrews 2:18 (and actually the whole of Hebrews 2): "For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." Now certainly, we can understand the idea that because Jesus, as a man, experienced the temptations and sufferings that we as humans do, He was the perfect sacrifice for man's sins. However, my question is this...If Jesus is God...and He IS God...why did He need to experience these temptations and sufferings to have sympathy with us? Certainly, God can understand our temptations and sufferings without having to go through them??
I have two reasons:
1. Jesus was tempted so He could be our example of how to live the Christian life. We are called "Christians" because we are "little Christs" that is, we are to be imitators of Him, little replicas of the original. Christ gave us an example on how to live:
Paul said, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." [1 Corinthians 11:1]
peter said, "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." [1 Peter 2:21]
In addition, God promises Christians that we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear--that we can always resist sin, thus we don't have to sin:
"No temptation has seized you 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]
Now, all this taken together, I know that Christ resisted sin in the same way I can, by the power of the Holy Spirit and faith in the Word of God. Christ is my example when I am tempted.
2. Christ had to live a complete human life in a sinless way thus displaying complete righteousness. Christ as God, is and always has been absolutely righteous. Yet, in order to save us He had to live a human life in absolute righteousness so He could "impute" (attribute, credit) that righteousness to us.
When John the Baptist told Jesus that Jesus should baptize him, not him baptizing Jesus, Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." [Matthew 3:15]
Jesus was already 100% righteous, so this act was not for Him, but it was for us. Jesus had to live a life as a child, a teenager, and an adult in absolute righteousness, so He could credit it to us so we could be saved. It was not only the payment of our sins that saved us and allows us into God's presence; no, we also needed to receive the righteousness of Christ.
"I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." [Matthew 5:20]
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." [Matthew 6:33]
"In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." [Romans 1:17]
"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." [Romans 3:22]
"...God will credit [impute] righteousness -- for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." [Romans 4:24]
"...how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." [Romans 5:17]
"Christ is the end of the law [because he fulfilled it!] so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." [Romans 10:4]
I know I am getting a little deep, but this is so important....bear with me a little longer...
You see, if Christ would have simply come down to earth on Friday morning; went to the cross and suffered and died for our sins; then was raised to life on Sunday and returned back to heaven, then we would be sinless but not righteous. We would have been like Adam and Eve before the Fall, sinless but not righteous, thus unable to enter heaven and live with God. We had to have the "Righteousness of God" which is given to us by Christ because He lived a righteous life for 33 years--He had to be tempted to resist the sin and provide a righteous human life for us--that He credits (imputes) to us.
You see, God the Father treated Christ on the cross as if Christ had lived our life of sin (imputed our sinful life to Jesus).
And then the Father treats us as if we had lived the 33 years of the righteous life of Christ! Thus we receive the imputed righteousness of Christ.
Lastly, we are told that we are engaged to Christ and will someday celebrate the Wedding Supper of the Lamb when we will consummate our marriage to Christ. We, as true Christians, are going to be married to a member of the Trinity! Our husband is God Himself--Jesus Christ! And the only bride that Jesus can marry is a bride who is as "righteous" as He is, thus God had to impute Christ's righteousness to us.
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:
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