Consider for a moment how Jesus made that way of escape from temptation for every one who will accept it. He came as the world's second Adam, and faced the enemy exactly like the first Adam had to meet him. And yet, of course, it was not exactly as Adam and Eve were tested. Jesus did not meet the tempter in a lovely garden surrounded by beauty. He struggled with Satan in a wild, desolate wilderness. The first Adam had access to every possible variety of luscious food, but Jesus was emaciated and weak from forty days without food or drink.
The first Adam faced the tempter in the strength of a perfect body, untainted by a single hereditary flaw. Jesus took humanity upon Himself after 4,000 years of sin had weakened the human race. He accepted all the hereditary disadvantages and liabilities which sin had imposed upon the physical descendants of the first Adam.
No one will ever fully understand the nature of that wilderness contest. Satan had anticipated this confrontation for years, and perhaps for centuries. In those three subtle temptations he had combined all the psychological expertise that his mastermind could provide. In effect, Satan appealed to the same basic human emotions which had destroyed the first Adam—appetite, presumption, and position. But, thank God, the deceiver could not find one thing in Christ to respond to his enticements. The second Adam utterly disarmed and defeated the devil in the very areas which had been so effective against the first Adam.
We need to stretch our minds in an effort to comprehend this truth. Why was the great Creator-God of the universe willing to submit to the indignities of that agonizing experience? Had He not already proven His power over the evil one by casting him out of heaven? Why should He voluntarily place
Himself at such terrible disadvantage in the midst of another conflict with Satan?
The answer is simple. The devil had stolen away the masterpiece of God's creation. Mankind, whom God loved, had been kidnapped by the enemy, albeit willingly, and was held in captivity. Two things happened that day when Adam was conquered by Satan. First, he and his descendants immediately fell under the irrevocable sentence of death which God had pronounced upon transgressors of His law. Second, his entire moral nature became so traumatized and degraded by sin that it would never be possible for Adam or his posterity to refrain from sinning again and again.
Do you see the problem? What could God do to release the creatures He loved from the devastating consequence of their sin? They were doomed to die and they had forfeited the power to obey. Satan exulted. He reasoned that God Himself could not get man back without changing His law or compromising His justice. At last, Satan had found a way to prove the charges he had pressed against God. In the presence of the holy angels he had accused God of being unfair and requiring an impossible obedience.
Now he gloated over God's dilemma, as these charges seemed to have proven true. Man apparently could not obey. Now God would either have to let man die in his sin, or change His law, or accept transgressors in His kingdom—so Satan must have reasoned.
God met the problem with such an incredible strategy that no devil or man could have faintly anticipated it. Satan was overwhelmed by its implications. Briefly, it involved God taking man's place and accepting the punishment of death for him. Neither the law nor the sentence for breaking it was changed.
In order to die for man's sin, though, God had to take upon Himself a nature that was subject to death. Deity could not die. Jesus accepted the unspeakable conditions of being born into the lost, condemned family of Adam. In the incarnation, God not only provided for His atoning death for sin but for a dramatic rebuttal of Satan's charge that man could not live without sinning. In order to make the demonstration absolutely unanswerable on Satan's part, Jesus submitted
Himself to the same human limitations of every child of Adam. He was tempted in all points as we are tempted, yet He completely overcame every one of them by using the same divine power that is accessible to each one of us. He was still God totally and completely, but He was also totally man. In meeting these temptations, He voluntarily restricted Himself to the same spiritual resources available to man today. Thus, He shattered Satan's lie that obedience for humanity is an impossibility.
Was this article helpful?