Life is hard.
Desires from within latch on to the endless deceptions and suggestions of a world system under the control of the devil who relentlessly tries to destroy the good works of the Father he disowned. I do not like to give the devil too much attention because he is defeated by what Father God has done through the risen son Jesus. But, there’s still a process of enforcing Christ’s victory in our own lives which is a process won in increments.
How did Christ win the war over sin and temptation though?
I recently stumbled upon a verse which has become a new revelation for me.
“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Heb.9:14 (ESV)
Although I know that Jesus Christ is our advocate and High Priest who, although tempted in every way just like us, never sinned and now intercedes for us in Heaven (Heb.4:14-16) I haven’t thought much about how He did it.
The verse above explains it was through the power of “the eternal Spirit”, who is Holy Spirit, that Christ was able to offer Himself without sin. He was able to resist temptation and give no agreement to it through the power of Holy Spirit. This is a verse which speaks to Christs humanity. He was fully God and fully man but His ability to withstand temptation and turn from it did not come from His “God side” but from the Holy Spirit which descended upon Him at His baptism (Luke 3:22) and remained with Him, filling Him to do all that God created Him to do (Acts.10:38) on the earth.
There is a connection to this in scripture for us found in the Apostle Paul’s writings on the principle that the Christian life is to be lived also through the power of the Holy Spirit – the same Spirit Christ had – especially when it comes to overcoming sin and temptation.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Rom.8:13
The futility of my insistent quest to try to overcome life’s temptations in my own strength becomes clear in light of this scripture and its surrounding text. As Hebrews 4:15-16 apprises, we have a High Priest in Jesus who “understands our weakness” and struggle. He possess’ the knowledge of what it’s like to be tempted and the knowledge we need in order to overcome whatever it is. Because He understands we can ask Him for understanding and help to endure trial and temptation.
An independent spirit is not to be prized in Christianity. Dependency on God and His Spirit within is the way of the Kingdom.
As a pithy conclusion to the revelation put forth in verse 15 of Hebrews 4, the writer exhorts us
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (v 16).
In temptation and trial, in the battles of life when we are confronted with the reality of our broken humanity, we must know and utilize our access to the throne of grace which is where we find all the help we need from God our Father.
Father, incarnated in Jesus Christ, did not stay away from us in our broken condition but instead became like us and the answer to our condition.
Now He continues to give His righteousness, goodness and power to us through His Spirit. Our job is to yield and agree with Him in order to allow His fruit to surface in our lives.
He is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted or tried above that which we are able to withstand (1 Cor.10:13). He is for us and with us in the trial and temptation.
He isn’t waiting for us to “get it together” and then come to Him. He longs to have us come to Him and let Him put us back together.
Draw near to Him in any struggle, pain or failure today – He is a “very present help in time of need”.
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