Qualifying to Conquer
On several occasions in the New Testament, God declared His pleasure over the manner of life His Son was leading. As a result of His obedience the “second Adam” was able to bring to God’s heart what the “first Adam” never did.
This beautiful portrait of Christ’s obedience has been marred by the theological concept of impeccability. This concept teaches that Christ could not have succumbed to temptation. It is, of course, extremely difficult to explain the nature of a temp tation that is impossible to succumb to. That temptation is no really honest temptation. The work of God refutes this concept.
For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
Jesus’ life was intended to serve as an, example of how we are to overcome. If it was impossible for Christ to have acceded to temptation, then He was surely not tempted in all ways like we are! He could not have served as an example to us since there was nothing for Him to overcome! If Christ could not have suc cumbed to temptation then he could not have loved us, either, for love is a proper choice between at least two alternatives.
There are those who believe that the essence of the atone ment existed in Christ’s obedience to the moral law on behalf of sinners. This also is questionable on several counts:
- The moral law required the obedience of Christ himself. Had he not obeyed, He would have disqualified Himself as an effective substitute.
- If He had obeyed the law as our substitute, then why should we be required to obey it?
- Had Christ obeyed for us, then why would God require Him to die also, as if there had been no obedience, and then require us to repent and obey as well?
The chorus Amazing Grace would certainly take on new meaning were this the case. For it is truly “amazing” grace that requires a debt to be paid repeatedly before an obligation is discharged!