Temptation

This article answers following in detail:

  1. What does tempt/temptation means?
  2. Who tempt us? Or Who is the tempter?
  3. How long the tempter will tempt the believers? or Is there any end for the temptation while we live here on the earth?
  4. Was Jesus tempted while He lived on the earth?
  5. What does it mean that Jesus was "in all points tempted as we are"?
  6. Did Jesus overcome all of these temptations without fall into sin?
  7. Were these temptations that Jesus has gone through are tough and more challenging compare to what we go through?
  8. How did Jesus overcome all His temptations?
  9. How can we overcome temptations?

  1. What does tempt/temptation means?
    • (Dictionary.com) Tempted means to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong, or immoral. to attract, appeal strongly to, or invite:
      • The offer tempts me. to render strongly disposed to do something: The book tempted me to read more on the subject. to put (someone) to the test in a venturesome way; provoke: to tempt one's fate.
    • In general the Greek word used for temptation (James 1:12, ...) peirasmos (G3986)
      • In KJV it is translated as temptation (19x), temptations (1x), try (1x).
      • It means an experiment, attempt, trial, proving
        • trial, proving: the trial made of you by my bodily condition, since condition served as to test the love of the Galatians toward Paul (Gal. 4:14)
        • the trial of man's fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy
          1. an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances
          2. an internal temptation to sin
            • of the temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his divine errand
          3. of the condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from the faith and holiness
          4. adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one's character, faith, holiness
        • temptation (i.e. trial) of God by men
          • rebellion against God, by which his power and justice are, as it were, put to the proof and challenged to show themselves
      • Vine's Expository Dictionary:
        1. "trials" with a beneficial purpose and effect,
          1. of "trials" or "temptations," Divinely permitted or sent, Luk 22:28; Act 20:19; Jam 1:2; 1Pe 1:6; 4:12, RV, "to prove," AV, "to try;" 2 Pe 2:9 (singular); Rev 3:10, RV, "trial" (AV, "temptation"); in Jam 1:12, "temptation" apparently has meanings (1) and (2) combined (see below), and is used in the widest sense;
          2. with a good or neutral significance, Gal 4:14, of Paul's physical infirmity, "a temptation" to the Galatian converts, of such a kind as to arouse feelings of natural repugnance;
          3. of "trials" of a varied character, Mat 6:13; Luk 11:4, where believers are commanded to pray not to be led into such by forces beyond their own control; Mat 26:41; Mar 14:38; Luk 22:40, 46, where they are commanded to watch and pray against entering into "temptations" by their own carelessness or disobedience; in all such cases God provides "the way of escape," 1 Cr 10:13 (where peirasmos occurs twice).
        2. Of "trial" definitely designed to lead to wrong doing, "temptation," Luk 4:13; 8:13; 1Ti 6:9;
        3. of "trying" or challenging God, by men, Hbr 3:8.
      • (Encyclopedia.com) In the Bible the word temptation primarily denotes a trial in which man has a free choice of being faithful or unfaithful to God; only secondarily does it signify allurement or seduction to sin.
      • James 1:12-15 - 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
      • That is why God said
        • Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  2. Who tempt us? Or Who is the tempter?
    1. In general our sinful desire or our old sinful life can tempt us:
      • James 1:14-15 - 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
    2. People can tempt us (peer pressure):
      • Matthew 16:21–23 - 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" 23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
    3. Circumstance can tempt us:
      • Luke 22:42 - 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
    4. Satan/Devil can tempt us:
      • Matt 4:1,3 - 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
      • Gen 3:1-5 - 1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
  3. How long the tempter will tempt the believers? or Is there any end for the temptation while we live here on the earth?
    • Temptation has no end or we will be tempted always as long as we live here on the earth:
      • Luke 4:2 - 1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
      • Luke 4:13 - Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
  4. Was Jesus tempted while He lived on the earth?
    • Yes, Jesus was tempted in all points as we are.
      • Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  5. What does it mean that Jesus was "in all points tempted as we are"?
    • These are some of the question quickly comes to our mind.
      • Does He tempted to steal?
      • Does He tempted to kill?
      • Does He tempted sexually by a women?
    • We gone through in detail that Jesus was God and man while He lived on earth and He was born sinless and remain in divine nature. So, may not gone through the same like how we go through due to our sin nature or old sinful life.
    • This will raise another question that Why then the author says in that Jesus was in all points tempted as we are?
      • (DG) It is true that Jesus never faced temptation in an inner sense the way we do, because there was never a sinful nature pulling Him to sin from the inside. But He knew the strength and fury of external temptation in a way and to a degree that we can never know. He knows what we go through and He has faced worse.
      • Non only here the author also said that Jesus has suffered and tempted in
        • Heb 2:18 - For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
      • As the author says yes Jesus was in all points tempted as we are.
    • Let us see then
    • How was Jesus tempted as we are?
      • We all know that we all are tempted by the things in the world: That is why God said do not love the world and the things in the world.
        • 1 John 2:16 - 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
      • As the above verse says Jesus didn't love the world but did the will of God the father.
      • Jesus was tempted by Satan as we are tempted by the things in the world.
        1. The lust of the flesh
          • Matt 4:3,4 - 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "
          • Luke 4:2-4 - 1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.' "
        2. The lust of the eyes
          • Matt 4:8-10 - 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' " 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
          • Luke 4:5-8 - 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "
        3. The pride of life
          • Matt 4:5-7 - 5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' " 7 Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' "
          • Luke 4:9-13 - 9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,' 11 "and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' " 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' " 13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
      • Not only that
        • Jesus was tempted by people
          • Matt 27:39-44 - 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
        • Jesus was tempted by circumstance, pain, challenging task
          • Luke 22:42 - 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
    • By this way Jesus was tempted in all point as we are tempted.
  6. Did Jesus overcome all of these temptations without fall into sin?
    • Yes, Jesus has overcome all of these temptations as we gone through in Luke 4:3-14 and also He never fall in to sin.
      • Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  7. Were these temptations that Jesus has gone through are tough and more challenging compare to what we go through?
    • We may think that these temptations may not tough for Jesus Christ, because He is God. But it is not true, because Jesus didn't use His deity in His convenient time. He lived 100% as human even though He is God.
    • Even though Jesus was in divine nature or not born in sin nature but as a human is vulnerable to sin.
    • We need to keep in mind that there were some whom God created not in sin nature or sinless like Jesus Christ but they have sinned later.
      • Who were those whom God created not in sin nature like Jesus Christ but they have sinned later?
        1. Adam and Eve was created not in sin nature but they were tempted by Satan and they fall in to sin but at the same time Jesus didn't sin.
        2. Lucifer the archangel leading everyone in heaven who is Satan/Devil was not created in sin nature. There is no one to tempt Satan but still he felt jealous towards God and desired to be like God and finally sinned against God..
        3. With Satan one third of angels fall into sin and followed him.
          • Rev 12:4 - 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
          • 2 Peter 2:4 - For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
    • Each temptations that Jesus has gone through are big challenge because Jesus has never sinned and He has to remain sinless. If Jesus would have sinned even once then He cannot be the perfect scarifies and He must have spoiled all the God's plan of redemption. So, for Jesus there is heavy pressure build up on Him not to sin.
    • (DG) Jesus faced temptation much more severely than we ever have or ever will.
      • The Sinless One knows temptation in ways we don’t, because only the one who never gives into temptation knows the full strength of temptation.
    • So, never even take it granted or think that it is easy for Jesus because He is God so He overcome temptations without sinning
  8. How did Jesus overcome all His temptations?
    • We may think that Jesus might have overcome the temptations easily by using His deity or using divine power. But it is not true. He didn't use His deity as He wished.
    • Let us see how Jesus overcome each temptation.
      • The lust of the flesh
        • (GotQuestions.org) The first temptation concerns the lust of the flesh (Matthew 4:3–4). Our Lord is hungry, and the devil tempts Him to convert stones into bread, but He replies with Scripture, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.
          • Luke 4:2-4 - 1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.' "
        • After forty days of fasting Jesus was so hungry and He was ready to eat. Now Satan tempted Jesus to sin by challenging Him to do what He can do by His divine power. Jesus didn't use His divine power but He received wisdom from above and quoted Deuteronomy 8:3.
      • The lust of the eyes
        • (GotQuestions.org) The third temptation concerns the lust of the eyes (Matthew 4:8–10), and if any quick route to the Messiahship could be attained, bypassing the passion and crucifixion for which He had originally come, this was the way. The devil already had control over the kingdoms of the world (Ephesians 2:2) but was now ready to give everything to Christ in return for His allegiance. But the mere thought almost causes the Lord’s divine nature to shudder at such a concept and He replies sharply, “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” (Deuteronomy 6:13).
          • Luke 4:5-8 - 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "
        • After seeing all the kingdoms Jesus didn't took the easy shortcut way and acquire that. The same reason He came to the world. If He would have attempted then Jesus become slave to Satan like how Adam become slave to Satan and gave all that God offered to Satan. Jesus has overcome by staying righteous and using wisdom from above and quoted Deuteronomy 6:1
      • The pride of life
        • (GotQuestions.org) The second temptation concerns the pride of life (Matthew 4:5–7), and here the devil uses a verse of Scripture (Psalm 91:11–12), but the Lord replies again with Scripture to the contrary (Deuteronomy 6:16), stating that it is wrong for Him to abuse His own powers.
          • Luke 4:9-13 - 9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,' 11 "and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' " 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' " 13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
        • Jesus can used His divine power to command the angles to protect Him but He didn't use His divine power in prideful manner but used wisdom from above and quoted Deuteronomy 6:16
      • Jesus was tempted by people but here He didn't respond to them at all.
        • Matt 27:39-44 - 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
      • Jesus was tempted by circumstance, pain, challenging task but here He patiently endured the suffering and fulfilled the God's great plan of redemption.
        • Luke 22:42 - 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
        • (Bruce) “Yet He endured triumphantly every form of testing that man could endure, without any weakening of His faith in God or any relaxation of His obedience to Him. Such endurance involves more, not less, than ordinary human suffering.”
    • In all these temptations if you notice closely, God's power and authority was challenged but Jesus never used His deity to overcome these temptations but He demonstrated how we need to depend up on the Holy Spirit whom God promised to all believers that
      • the Holy Spirit puts right word in our mouth in right time.
      • the Holy Spirit empowers us to be silent without giving any response even though we have right to respond.
      • the Holy Spirit empowers us to be enduring suffering instead of running away from it.
    • Since Jesus has divine nature
      • He may not tempted by His own desire/flesh because He didn't have the sin nature so no sin dwells in Him, all He has is goodness. At the same time since we are born in sin nature only sin dwells within us and nothing good dwells within us.
        • Rom 7:17-18 - 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
      • He continuously maintain His relationship with God by continuously talking to God the father through prayers. In general as a humans, our sin nature keeps us from fellowship with God, keeps us in bondage to sin, and keep us in spiritual death (Romans 6:16, 23; 7:14; 2 Peter 2:19).
        • That is why Jesus said whatever father doing and I do here on earth and demonstrated how we need to live a obedient Christian life to God by doing whatever God ask us to do as per the leading of the Holy Spirit
          • John 5:19 - Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
          • John 5:30 - I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
        • Jesus demonstrated to us by praying privately in the early morning and night.
          • Matt 14:23 - And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
          • Mark 1:35 - Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
          • If we pray diligently and we will not enter  into temptation. God also will help us.
            • Luke 39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
    • By this way Jesus has overcome all the temptations that He has gone through and never sinned.
  9. How can we overcome temptations?
    • In fact as per Luke 4:13 temptation will be increased once we become believers but do not loose heart Jesus has overcome all the temptations
      • Luke 4:13 - Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
    • Jesus is always there to help us.
      • Heb 2:18 - For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
      • Heb 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
    • God promised that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able:
      • 1 Cor 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
      • Joseph has applied this and overcome the temptation without sinning:
        • Gen 39:12  - 11 7 And it came to pass after these things that his [Joseph] master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. 11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.
    • God made an unique way to overcome the world.
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