The Person of Christ (06): His Untainted Impeccability Pt1 by David McAllister
Over the past months, we have viewed our Lord Jesus Christ when He was here on earth. We have found that in Him, and in Him alone, we see a perfect Man. Only in Him is the fullness of moral excellence. We now turn to the other side of that picture. Having seen what He was (and is), we now consider what He was not (and is not); that is, we have to look at Him in relation to the whole matter of sin.
The New Testament bears abundant evidence of the sinlessness of our Lord Jesus. We will look at some references in the gospels, and then in the epistles.
In John chapter 8, the Lord, conversing with a group of Jews who were hostile to Him and who refused to believe His words, asked them a question to bring home to them that His words were trustworthy. “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (v46). In other words, was there anyone among them who could bring a charge of sinning against Him, and make it stick? Could any of them prove any wrongdoing in His life or any falsehood in His words?
If there had been anything that they could have brought forward in answer, they would have done so. But there was nothing, and their response was one still used by those who know they have lost the argument: name-calling (“Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil” v48).
In the following chapter, the Lord Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath day, much to the annoyance of the Pharisees. Their ensuing verbal tussle with the healed man is interesting for a number of reasons, one of which is their increasingly desperate efforts to get him to acknowledge that the Lord was a sinner (John 9:13-34). By the close of the chapter, far from stating the Lord to be a sinner, the man acknowledged Him as the Son of God (vv35-38), leaving the leaders frustrated in their efforts, and condemned by the Lord to judicial blindness (vv39-41). It is a grievous error to deny the person and perfection of our Lord.
When the leaders of the nation brought Him before Pilate, their aim was to prove that He was a criminal. If ever there had been anything that they could have submitted as evidence, surely this was the time to do it. However, the record of His trial shows the very opposite to be the case. For example, they accused Him of saying people should not pay tax to Caesar (Luke 23:2), when, in fact, earlier that week, He had told the people (in the context of a discussion on paying tax) that they should render to Caesar that which was Caesar’s (e.g., Luke 20:25). Clearly (to put it mildly) they were short of evidence! Pilate had to acknowledge that “I find no fault in Him” (John 19:4,6). Some may argue that, in saying this, he meant only that the Lord had done nothing worthy of death, and that this is not in itself an assertion of His sinlessness. However, Pilate went further, calling Him “this just Person” (Matt 27:24), agreeing with his wife, who earlier in the same chapter called Him “that just Man” (v19). Moreover, the thief said He had “done nothing amiss” (Luke 23:41); and later in the same chapter the centurion at the cross declared, “Certainly this was a righteous Man” (v47).
Turning to the epistles, we can read the words of Peter, who was intimately associated with Him, and who, in his first epistle, states frankly of the Lord Jesus, “Who did no sin” (2:22). It would be impossible to state His sinlessness in clearer terms. Peter adds, “neither was guile found in His mouth.” Not only in His actions, but in His words, He was without sin. It is worth noting that Peter is referring to Isaiah 53:9, which is most assuredly speaking of none other than the Lord Jesus. Thus, the OT as well as the NT bear witness to His sinlessness.
In the previous chapter, Peter has likened Him to “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1:19), clearly alluding to the Passover, in which the Israelites were to take a lamb “without blemish” (Exo 12:5). Any lamb that had anything about it making it less than perfect could not be selected. Peter’s message could not be plainer: the Passover lamb had to be without blemish because it was a type of the Lamb of God, Who Himself is without sin.
In Hebrews 7:26 we read, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled.” It has been helpfully suggested that these three descriptions point to three different spheres. “Holy” would emphasize Him in relation to God; “harmless” His interactions with others; and “undefiled” how He was, and is, internally. However we view Him, the message is emphatic. He is sinless.
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, says that He “knew no sin.” He had no personal acquaintance with it. He was a total stranger to iniquity. It does not mean that He was unaware of the existence of sin, or that He did not come into contact with sinners. The Scriptures make that very clear. It does mean that sin was absolutely alien to Him. He was totally pure, in every aspect of His Person, and, of course, He still is.
This is all true and vitally important, but it is not the full story. It is not merely that He did not sin – He could not sin. That is what is meant by His “impeccability.” The verses we have looked at in this article strongly imply it, but next month, in His will, we will see that the Scriptures also teach it explicitly.
The Person of Christ (06): His Untainted Impeccability Pt2 by David McAllister
Last month we saw that our Lord Jesus Christ, when He was here on earth, lived a life totally without sin. We noted, in closing, that not only did He not sin, but it was, and is, absolutely impossible that He could sin. This is referred to as His “impeccability.” Consider now the testimony of Scripture to that reality.
In several New Testament Scriptures, the Lord Jesus is compared to, and contrasted with, the first man, Adam. In 1 Corinthians 15, He is referred to as “the second man” and “the last Adam,” in contrast to “the first man Adam” (vv45, 47).
One thing that Adam and the Lord Jesus have in common is that both of them were sinless when they made their appearance in this world, a fact true of no other men who have ever lived. However, as far as sinlessness is concerned, there was a massive difference between them: Adam was innocent, but the Lord Jesus was holy.
Adam was created in a state of “innocence.” Before the serpent entered the garden, he had no knowledge or experience of sin. Yet he was capable of sinning, and, as we well know, he did sin (Gen 3). There are strong indications in Scripture that not a long period of time elapsed between his creation and his falling prey to the temptation to sin.
In contrast, the Lord Jesus was (and ever is) “holy.” This is how the angel Gabriel described Him to Mary (Luke 1:35). Adam was never described in this way, even before the fall.
“Holy” denotes that which the Lord Jesus is intrinsically. It means much more than “innocent.” It is not just that He was without sin, but that He had no potential to sin, nor could He feel any desire to sin. There are times when we (sinners) are disposed to sin, even if we do not actually do it. Not so the Lord Jesus Christ. He could not even have any inclination towards sin. All this is involved in the word “holy.”
Against this, some would argue that saved sinners are also described as “holy,” both positionally (for example, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,” Heb 3:1) and practically (for example, “Be ye holy for I am holy,” 1Peter 1:16). Thus, they would say, you cannot argue for the impeccability of the Lord Jesus using this word when it is also used of people who clearly are sinners.
Is there an answer to this protestation? Yes. As far as believers being “holy,” we are that positionally, being set apart unto God; it is ours because of what Christ has done for us; it is not innate to us. We were not “holy,” in that sense, when we came into the world (and, as we have seen, nor even was Adam). Our holy standing has been imparted to us. In contrast, the Lord Jesus is, and always was, inherently holy.
Insofar as any believer can be described as “holy” practically, this is, at best, true only in a relative sense. We ought to be holy – in contrast to unbelievers – and to become more holy. But even the most “holy” believer is not free from sin or the ability to sin. Only the Lord Jesus is “holy” in the absolute sense.
Looking at things from another standpoint, His impeccability is a necessary consequence of His deity. We have seen (in earlier articles) that He is God, and that His deity was not diminished by His coming into the world. It is impossible for God to sin, as many Scriptures affirm. Consider just one: “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man” (James 1:13). This is an absolute, unqualified statement. It is as true of the Son as it is of the Father, and was just as true when He was on earth as it was before He came, or now that He has returned to Heaven. The idea that Christ could retain His deity and yet at the same time be capable of sinning is untenable.
Someone may object along these lines: you are arguing for the impeccability of the Lord Jesus based on the fact that God cannot be tempted with evil. We also read that God does not grow weary (for example, Isa 40:28) or sleep (for example, Psa 121:4), yet the Lord Jesus did become weary, and He did sleep. So, they may say, you cannot claim that the Lord is impeccable based on what God is like.
However, this objection is based on a failure to distinguish between moral attributes and those that are merely physical. As we have seen in earlier articles, when the Lord Jesus came into the world He fully retained all the moral characteristics of God, while subjecting Himself to conditions that constitute an integral part of human experience, such as tiredness and sleep. So it is valid to take statements that are true of God morally as being true of Him, while certain others, relating to physical things (such as “Whom no man hath seen, nor can see,” 1Tim 6:16), are not.
We have considered the impeccability of the Lord Jesus Christ by contrasting Him with Adam, and as a consequence of His deity. Both of these come together in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah sees the Lord “high and lifted up.” The whole tone of this passage is one of utter holiness; the seraphim covered their faces and feet and cried, in awe, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts” (vv2, 3). John 12:41 tells us that it was the Lord Jesus Whom Isaiah saw at that time. Thus, here we have testimony, both to His absolute holiness and to His deity. From both viewpoints, His impeccability is impressed upon us.
Next month, Lord willing, we will consider testimony to His impeccability from His own words and from the epistles.
The Person of Christ (06): His Untainted Impeccability Pt3 by David McAllister
Last month, we looked together at what we believe to be conclusive evidence for the impeccability of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the contrast between Him and Adam (the Lord Jesus Christ alone being “holy”), and from the fact of His deity (God cannot be tempted with evil). This month, we will look at some passages where His impeccability is explicitly stated.
The Lord spoke of His impeccability in John 14:30: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” The “prince of this world” is undoubtedly Satan, and we can be sure that he was coming to attack. For such an assault to be successful, the devil would need to find something in the Lord upon which he could work. But there was nothing in the Lord Jesus that could accord with Satan’s desires in any way; nothing that His foe could use to stumble Him, to turn Him aside from His pathway. This statement, from the lips of the Savior Himself, goes beyond stating that He had not sinned, and would not sin. It shows that there was nothing in Him that could even respond to the temptation to sin.
Two months ago, we considered the words of two apostles, Paul and Peter, who wrote, respectively, that He “knew no sin” and “did no sin.” There is a parallel statement by the apostle John: “In Him is no sin” (1John 3:5). All three statements are very precious, but it is John’s which shows unequivocally the impeccability of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just that He never thought a sinful thought, and that He never committed a sinful act. It is much more, as there is nothing whatsoever of sin in Him. As Robertson renders it: “And sin (the sinful principle) in Him is not.” We note too, that it is not “In Him was no sin,” but, “In Him is no sin.”
John is stating a timeless truth: whenever we look at Him, past, present, future, eternally: “in Him is no sin.” Other statements by John elsewhere in this chapter point to the same conclusion: “He is pure” (v3) and “He is righteous” (v7). It is highly appropriate that all this comes from the pen of John, the one who “leaned on His breast” (John 21:20) and who was as close to the heart of the Lord as it was possible to be. He thus wrote from intimate personal experience.
The writer to the Hebrews, speaking of the suitability of the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Great High Priest says, “For we have not an 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” (Heb 4:15). He can sympathize with us in the trials that we face in this life, for He has experienced them: poverty, hunger, thirst, weariness, pain, sorrow, bereavement, being hated, misunderstood and rejected, and so much more. He knows what it is like to be tempted. However, there is a crucial difference between His experience and ours, as indicated by the words “without sin” or “sin apart” (JND). These words do not merely mean that He emerged from His temptations without sinning (though that is true). No, they show something deeper. He was not even susceptible to the seductiveness of sin. The kinds of temptation we face are the same ones that He faced, with this notable exception – sin. It could not be a temptation to Him. Satan did come to Him to try to make Him sin, but, unlike us, there was no possibility of His yielding to Satan’s efforts. We, and all others who have ever lived, have been tempted by sin; He has not. His experience accords with ours in so many ways, but not in this. Here we have the great truth of His impeccability.
In Romans 8:3, Paul gives a beautiful description of His coming to deal with sin. “God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” The phrase “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” encapsulates the fact that He came as a real man, yet distinct from other men, in that He is sinless. Paul does not say that He came “in the likeness of flesh.” Such a phrase would be a denial of the reality of His manhood, nor does he say that He came “in sinful flesh.”That would mean He came in the way we did, with a sinful nature. Perish the thought! Paul avoids the suggestion of either of these erroneous ideas in this delightful phrase, “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” His humanity is real. He was every bit as much a man as we are, and when people saw Him, no one could have doubted the fact that He had come “in the flesh.” Yet the correspondence to us was not complete. Unlike us, He did not come in “the flesh of sin.” We are born sinners; He was not. We can, and do, sin. He could not, and did not. He was, is, and always will be, impeccable.
Regrettably, some people deny this truth. For the most part, the case that they make centers on His temptations – what their purpose was, the extent to which they were meaningful, and how helpful they are to us. It is with pain that we turn to consider their views, believing, as we do, that it is dishonoring to this Blessed, Holy One to even suggest that He had the potential to sin. Nevertheless, believers will face their arguments, and it is necessary for us to examine them. We will seek to do this next month, in His will.
The Person of Christ (06): Untainted Impeccability Pt4 by David McAllister
We have been looking together at the arguments made by those who deny the impeccability of our Lord Jesus Christ. Last month we sought to answer their assertion that, if He could not sin, then the temptations were not genuine. This month, we will consider their contention that, if He could not sin, then His temptations are of no practical value to us today.
At one level, their statement is not even worthy of consideration, for the Scriptures state that the things He endured on earth, including His temptations, are of value to us. That ought to settle the matter for anyone who claims to believe the Bible. However, we will take time to answer their view, as it is good for us to know some ways in which His temptations are beneficial to us. We will look at three areas in which His temptations are of profit to us as believers in the world today.
First, they provide the explanation of how temptation occurs, and its nature. Reading about them, we are left in no doubt that Satan is the tempter. He was so, right at the beginning (Gen 3), and he is still so. In the accounts of the Lord’s temptations (Matt 4 and Luke 4) we are forcibly shown that the devil is in an unrelenting campaign against God and against His people, and that, thus, we are bound to be the objects of his attacks throughout our time here on earth.
Not only is the identity of our attacker and his unyielding hostility brought before us, but we are given an insight into his subtlety, and the methods he uses. He will, for example, seek to put doubts in our minds as to the Person of the Lord (“If Thou be the Son of God”); try to get us to disobey God’s Word (“Bow down and worship me”); make false promises (“All this power will I give thee”); and quote Scripture out of context, to suit his own purposes (“It is written”).
The records of our Lord’s temptations also enlighten us with regard to the areas in which we are vulnerable to attack. We are struck by the timelessness of this. As has often been pointed out, the three temptations of our Lord correspond to the three features Eve observed in the fruit (“good for food … pleasant to the eyes … to be desired to make one wise” Gen 3:6) and the three things that John says are “of the world” (“the lust of the flesh … the lust of the eyes … the pride of life” 1John 2:16). The temptation to turn stones to bread corresponds with “good for food” and “the lust of the flesh;” the tempting vista of the kingdoms of the world relates to “pleasant to the eyes” and “the lust of the eyes;” the temptation to jump off the pinnacle of the temple parallels “to be desired to make one wise” and “the pride of life.”
Thus, while there was no possibility of the Lord Jesus succumbing to these things, they do nevertheless provide instruction regarding the devil’s attacks on us.
Second, they present the example on how to respond to temptation. The Lord is exemplary in His quotation of, and obedience to, the Word of God in time of temptation. At every turn, Satan’s attempts to make Him disobey are rebuffed with three powerful words: “It is written.” He unequivocally states the full authority of the Scriptures. God has spoken, and that leaves no room for disobedience, or partial obedience, or compromise. We would be saved from many problems if we were to treat Satan, and what he throws at us, with the summary dismissal that the Lord gives him here, based solely on the Word of God and its complete authority.
Not only does the Lord quote Scripture, but those that He quotes are appropriate to the particular issue at stake. Of course, this does not surprise us, for the Lord Jesus is God. He did not have to learn the Scriptures, as He is the author of them; and He, Who is infinitely wise, never struggled to find an applicable passage. However, the lesson for us is clear. His example shows us the inestimable value of the Scriptures in resisting the devil. For us, that means that we need to read, study, learn, and apply them.
As well as these general points, the Lord’s responses to the specific temptations are also a pattern for us as to what our priorities should be: the Word of God (we are not to put our physical needs above our need to feed on the Scriptures); the worship of God (we are to worship and serve Him, not Satan, or anyone else); and the will of God (not to put Him to the test by deliberately doing things that are outside of His will).
Last, but certainly not least, they prove the experience the Lord Jesus has to help us in our trials. This is a tremendous thing. The temptations are not only valuable to us in light of their instructive teaching and the example they provide, but they ensure that the Lord Jesus Christ is perfectly qualified for His present, high priestly work. There is One at God’s right hand Who knows what we go through, knows it in the richest sense, for He has experienced it. “For we have not an 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” (Heb 4:15). “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb 2:18).
This has been only a cursory discussion, but we trust sufficient has been said to show the falsity of the allegation that impeccability would render His temptations of no value to us.
The Person of Christ (06): Untainted Impeccability Pt5 by David McAllister
Before moving on to another subject, we will view the impeccability of our Lord Jesus Christ from a different angle. Having looked at positive teaching on the issue, we will look at it negatively; that is, we will see some of the implications that there would be if the Lord Jesus could have sinned. It is important to do this, for there are sincere people who countenance denial of His impeccability. We can only conclude that they have failed to see the serious ramifications of such ideas. The purpose of this article is to point out some of these ramifications.
The Bible teaches that God is immutable. For example, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal 3:6). If the Lord Jesus could have sinned, then God is capable of sin. This, in turn, would mean that God is mutable (that He could change), thus contradicting the testimony of Scripture. It would also mean, for example, that He is not omnipotent (for one who could sin must have a degree of susceptibility in him). And that is just the beginning. In short, denial of His impeccability is a denial of the great doctrines of Scripture on the attributes of God; things most clearly declared in the Word.
The Bible teaches the sovereignty of God over His universe. He has a great and glorious plan. He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). This will culminate in God being “all in all” (1Cor 15:28). Nothing can derail this great divine program, as many Scriptures, such as Isaiah chapter 46:9-13, teach. Central to that program is our Lord Jesus Christ, His Person and His work. If He could have sinned, then God’s program for the universe could have been thwarted. It is unthinkable that God would have a purpose that could have failed.
Bringing it closer to ourselves, the salvation of souls depends on the impeccability of the Lord Jesus. If He could have sinned, then there would have been the real possibility of God sending His Son into the world in order to save men and women, only for the plan of salvation to come to nought, because the Lord Jesus could, at any time, have succumbed to temptation. Thus we would have the scenario in which God could have failed, and where we would have perished, and – how sickeningly awful is this thought – Christ Himself would have perished, for that would have made Him a sinner, with nobody who could have saved Him. Surely we must all be repulsed by such sacrilegious suggestions. Yet, if the Lord Jesus could have sinned, these unspeakable things would have been possible.
Those who say that the Lord Jesus was not impeccable when He was on earth, and could have sinned at that time, are effectively saying that He is still capable of sinning. After all, He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb 13:8). If He could have sinned then, what is there to stop Him from sinning now, or at some time in the future? To reply to this question by stating that there is no possibility of Him sinning now, because He is in heaven, where He could not be tempted, is an affront to His holy character, because it is saying that He is only sinless because of where He is, and not because of Who He is. Furthermore, even if it were His presence in heaven that was the guarantee against Him sinning now, that would be no comfort, for He will not always be in heaven. We read that He will come back to earth (Zech 14:4, for instance, says that “His feet shall stand … upon the mount of Olives”). The earth, at that time, will still have sin and sinners in it. If He was capable of sinning when He stood on a sinful earth the first time, then He would still be capable of it when He comes again.
This, if it were true, would also impact our salvation. As we have seen, if He was not impeccable, then there was the possibility that, by His sinning, the plan of salvation would not have succeeded. However, the implications are even more appalling, for, if this teaching were true, our salvation would not be secure, even today. Yes, salvation flows from the work done on the cross, but, as the New Testament teaches (notably in the epistle to the Hebrews), the guarantee of that salvation is a sinless, unchanging, ever-living Savior at God’s right hand. If He is capable of sinning, then we are not secure; we do not even have eternal life, for life that can be lost is not eternal. It is bad enough to think back on how God’s plan may have failed. However, to think that, even yet, the plan of salvation could fail, would be frightening indeed.
All of this flies in the face of the clear teaching of Scripture. The Lord Jesus never could sin, past, present, or future. There is no possibility that God’s plan of salvation could fail. There never has been, and never will be. The impeccability of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, underpins the whole of God’s purpose for us, for the world, and for the entire universe, now and for ever. Blessed be His Name!
This has not been an easy article to write. Doubtless it has not made for pleasant reading either. It has involved us all in considering suggestions that are deeply shocking; indeed, blasphemous. This we have done, distasteful though it is, in order to try to bring home to saints that the issue of Christ’s impeccability is not a small matter, and to highlight something of the disastrous consequences that flow from denying it. Let us all repudiate such notions, and stand foursquare for the impeccability of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Person of Christ (06): His Untainted Impeccability Pt6 by David McAllister
We have considered the impeccability of our Lord Jesus Christ; not only did He not sin, but He could not sin. There are, however, those who argue that He was capable of sinning (while agreeing that He did not actually do so).
Generally, their case concerns the temptations the Lord Jesus underwent when He was on earth. The temptations in the wilderness are not the only instance of Satan trying to turn Him aside from God’s will (see Matt 16:21-23), but for the purpose of this discussion, it will be sufficient to consider the wilderness temptations, and when we speak of “His temptations,” it will be these to which we are referring.
The arguments from those who deny His impeccability are twofold. If He could not sin then, first, the temptations were not genuine; and, second, His temptations were of no practical value to us. We will consider the first.
Does impeccability render His temptations a mere pretense; a nonevent made to look real, when it was not? We will consider this from the standpoints of three personalities who were deeply involved:
Whichever Gospel we read (Matthew 4 or Luke 4), it is clear, from Satan’s words and actions, that he believed he could induce the Lord Jesus to sin, and that he was making every effort to do so. Moreover, we read, “When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season” (Luke 4:13). This indicates that, though he had failed in his designs, he had not given up, and was biding his time, awaiting another opportunity. The temptations were very real, as far as the intentions of the enemy were concerned.
The temptations were part of God’s purpose for His Son. For example, we read that He “was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matt 4:1). It goes without saying that God’s purpose was very different from Satan’s. God never tries to make anyone sin for “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man” (James 1:13), nor was He testing His Son to see if He would sin. No! As far as God was concerned, the temptations were not to determine if the Lord Jesus could sin, but to demonstrate that He could not.
The objection made to this runs along lines like these: “If He could not sin, the temptations were meaningless. They can only have been a valid test if there was a possibility of Him succumbing.”
However, it is incorrect to say that a test is valid only if there is a possibility of failure. Consider a metallurgist with a sample of a precious metal which he knows to be genuine. To assure others of that fact, he will do tests that confirm its true identity. If, having observed the tests and their conclusive results, one refuses to be convinced, on the grounds that the person carrying out the tests already knew it to be that metal, his objection would hardly be considered valid.
Likewise, the temptations demonstrate the true character of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that there was only one possible outcome, already known by God, does not in any way invalidate the test.
The Lord Jesus Christ
What of the experience of the Lord Jesus Himself? Did the fact that He could not capitulate make the temptations unreal – or, at least, easier – for Him?
Here we are treading on holy ground. So, with great care and reverence, we will make a couple of points to show that, far from making the experience easier, His impeccability made the temptations harder than they would have been for sinners like us.
For many of us, when we were in our sins, to be tempted did not cause us any great concern. Now that we are saved, it is a much more grievous experience. Take a simple example. Many an unbeliever thinks nothing of the temptation to use foul language; but once saved, he finds such temptation deeply distressing. That is because he is now a child of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and having a desire, from God Himself, to live a holy life. Temptation is thus a much more painful thing to him than it was before.
If temptation is distasteful to saved sinners, which we are, how immeasurably more so must it have been for our blessed Lord, Who is inherently holy. To experience His archenemy coming, seeking to entice Him to do that which is utterly repugnant to Him, would have been unspeakably more abhorrent to Him than it could ever be, even to the choicest saint.
Looking from another angle, a person who quickly gives in to temptation does not suffer much from the temptation (of course, he will suffer the consequences of having yielded, but that is a different matter). The person who withstands the onslaughts of the enemy, suffers more in the temptations than the one who readily succumbs. In the Lord Jesus, and in Him alone, this is seen in its fullness. He, being impeccable, is the only person Who has borne the full weight of temptation. Unlike us, He did not, and could not, get out of it by capitulating to it. He endured its load to the full.
Thus, contrary to the idea that His temptations were not real, the opposite is the case. His impeccability, far from rendering His temptations unreal, made them more trying than anything we have ever known.
So, whatever standpoint we view them from, the temptations of our Lord were real indeed.