Real Temptations

God’s saints are often troubled by the mere fact of their temptations. Sin is one kind of trouble, but we know how to seek forgiveness for sin committed in the past. But what about the constant volley of suggestions that seem more than a little attractive, to which you have not given way, but which trouble you nonetheless? How could a real Christian be anything but repulsed by the thought of that, or that?

The only sin that Jesus ever repented of was our sin. He never had to repent of any iniquity that He himself had committed. But as a public person, He repented as only a true man could. Beginning with His baptism by John—a baptism of repentance—He identified with the sins of His people, and He repented perfectly. As a perfect man, He did not need to repent, but also as a perfect man, He could repent, which He did on our behalf.

But returning to the issue of temptation, the Lord experienced true temptation in His own right. He was buffeted by suggestions from the devil, and He experienced them as true temptations, meaning that they were things He wanted to do. He wanted to turn the stones to bread, He wanted to throw Himself off the temple, and He wanted to bow down and worship the devil. But, glory to God, He submitted Himself to the words of God as they are found in the book of Deuteronomy.

But this means that for you to feel disqualified from this Supper because of your many temptations means that you are trying to be holier than Jesus. Your sins do not keep you back, because the broken body and shed blood are here for just that reason. And your temptations do not forbid you because since temptations did not corrupt the sacrifice itself, how much less would they corrupt the ones for whom the sacrifice was made?

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

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