The Journal of Happiness Studies

by Element Christian Church

Academic Journal, we do not necessarily recommend you read it...Aaron just wanted to put it up so you all don't think he was liar when he said it existed.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/1573-7780

No Comment

by Aaron

I find it odd that people only seem to comment on our blogs when I mention something like A&E, HGTV, or 9th grade algebra teachers. It so weird that we get all excited and comment on things that do not have a whole lot of lasting value (well, except for Mrs. Chiado).

We should be excited about Jesus, what God is doing not just in our lives, but also in our entire world. We should comment and comment and comment and say things like “yes, forgiveness is awesome,” “I would love me some grace,” and, “I want to love like that!”

In all honesty, some of you may even be afraid to say anything in a comment section for fear you could “say the wrong thing.” Well, don’t worry about that, we want to know what you are thinking, what the blogs inspire you, and if you are crazy we can always delete it and pretend like we never got the comment.

So comment up, let us know your thoughts (unless you live online, then we probably already know what you think).

Oh, by the way, how about that Superbowl (trademarked by the NFL) huh?

Element Baptism Storm Watch 2012

by Element Christian Church

Storm Watch

[tbanner color="red" title="BAPTISMS WILL BE SUNDAY, APRIL 1st, at 1pm!" style="1"][/tbanner]

What you should bring to survive the storm...

[list class="bullet-1"][li]Soup or Chili! (It will be cold, and nothing like a warm meal on a rainy day)[/li][li]Umbrella (To watch the baptisms)[/li][li]Lawn Chair (We'll eat inside)[/li][li]Read More about Baptisms[/li][li]Read the stories of those being baptized this Sunday![/li][/list]

Weather Forecast:

{jcomments on}

Q&A Hypnotism

by Aaron
in FAQ

Q: I have struggled with certain things for awhile, I have been praying a lot and have even gotten a mentor through a Women Mentoring Women ministry. But I have been thinking of adding hypnotism to my prayer to try and kick certain things in a healthier direction. I know two Christians who have used this method to help with smoking addictions, and they quit. Would I be doing something sinful in God's eye to use hypnotism with his Word?

A: Well, hypnotism is one of those areas that I tend to get into trouble with a lot of people because I think it is a terrible idea. Let me see if I can explain.

Franklin Dunham  writes this as a definition of hypnosis: "Hypnosis, mental state of heightened suggestibility, characterized by trance-like sleep. The basis of hypnosis is the fixation of the subjects attention upon a gradually narrowing source of stimulation, until he is attendant upon only the directions of the hypnotist. This is variously achieved by repetition of instructions in a low, level voice, or having the subject fix his gaze upon a light in an otherwise dark room. The subject remembers nothing of what he did during the hypnotic period. Certain effects may be suggested to continue after the subject returns to consciousness; these are called post-hypnotic suggestions." The University One-Volume Encyclopedia; 1967; p 421 (underlines are mine)

For centuries hypnotism was used by witchdoctors and shaman spirit mediums alike to attain altered states of consciousness. The development of hypnosis as a field of study in the context of medicine and psychology (most agree) dates from the claims of Fredrich Anton Mesmer (1733 - 1815). Mesmer was an Austrian doctor who performed therapeutic healings induced by magnets, but he is considered to be the Father of Hypnotism.

Mesmer says, “Disease was the result of imbalance in the patient’s animal magnetism” A French investigating team was commissioned to check out Mesmer and found his healings were attributed to the power of suggestion. In spite of the serious flaws in the claims of Mesmer, his theories and practices opened doors to further examination of the nature and effect of hypnotism.

After the world wars, hypnotism was revived and integrated inextricably into the field of medicine. In 1956, the American Medical Association pronounced that Hypnosis was ‘a valuable therapeutic adjunct.’

Some Christians believe the use of  hypnotism, in any form, is occultic and demonic. I don't think it is as ominous as all that, but I believe it is very dangerous. By putting yourself in a hypnotic state is making yourself very vulnerable. Imagine your brain pattern is like a keyboard, in hypnosis you are walking away from the keyboard and allowing something, or someone, else to sit down and start typing.

As Christians what we must understand is Jesus, first and foremost. He is the salvation for not only our souls but our entire lives. It is Jesus who can make us whole and lead us into the life He calls us to…part of redemption is laying everything (including what you still struggle with) at His feet.

The Scriptures remind us that God's Spirit will guide us into all truth. One of the ways that He will do this is by guiding our thoughts into what the correct answers are as we are trying to figure something out. But you will not be able to hear him in the midst of hypnosis because you are letting go of all He told you to keep a hold of.

2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us: We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. This means that we are directly responsible for what we choose to think about and dwell on. This right does not belong to anyone else, including any hypnotist, who may want to plant their thoughts and suggestions into your mind.

I do not believe that hypnotism is something any Christian should be involved in. Instead, we should be submitting all things to Jesus. One day God will want to use you to help someone WALK through their struggle and pain. It will do no good if you say, "I had hypnosis and got all better"…even though the outcomes of hypnosis are debatable. That doesn't point anyone to Jesus, it points them to trying to find an altered state of consciousness rather than trusting God to see us through a particular trial.

Please, I would encourage you, to hold Christ's hand and walk through your struggle with Him. One small step at a time in the hand of your savior.

Q&A Matthew 6

by Aaron
in FAQ

Matt 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. I’m trying to wrap my mind around being forgiven for past present and future sins, while not looking at this as maintaining or working for your salvation. I understand that if you are truly born again you will forgive, but these verses make it sound like God can hold forgiveness for the times you don’t forgive. Can you help me with this?

Sure thing. So many people seem to have the same view of these verses and it is just bizarre.

First off, when Jesus paid for our sins it was ALL of our sins past, present, and future. It would be totally contrary to the truths stated in scripture if we had a moment of unforgiveness in our hearts and God negated the work of the cross.

When Jesus spoke these words it was before He paid for our sins, before the cross. In one sense we SHOULD forgive others and a CONSTANT unforgiving heart is probably an indicator of an unregenerate heart (someone who doesn’t truly follow Jesus). But every time you hold a grudge until the Spirit works you through it does not mean you are going to burn in hell.

Colossians 3:12-13 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. In the New Testament post-resurrection context, Colossians shows we have BEEN forgiven and that is the model of why we SHOULD forgive.

At The Moment

by Aaron

I have had a wonderful thing happen to me in the last 24 hours, I can breathe again. I have had a nasty cold and it shut off my sinus cavity for over 4 days. Last night, as I was going to bed, it actually opened and I could breathe through my nose the glorious flow of air that we all need to survive. 

It was overwhelming to me; the sense of hope that came back as I actually realized my condition of not being able to breathe wasn’t permanent (and no, I am not being overly dramatic).

It made me think of all the times that Jesus has saved me from myself. Times when I was overwhelmed and drowning, so to speak, and yet He came and saved me. Isaiah 59:1 tells us “Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear…”

Too often we are all guilty of assuming that God sees and interacts with the world as we do; but He doesn’t. Our entire experience is one of sinus pressure; never fully being able to breathe right, then God graciously redeems us and sets us free. Being born again means we can experience God and creation as He intended, but we are still awash in all of our memories of when it was hard to breathe.

God knows this about us, He understands this about us, and yet when He gives us freedom He doesn’t let us wallow in our old places. “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come…” (2 Cor 5:17) You can breathe again; you can hope again, all things are made new, including you. Breathe the breath of life given to you by God and live a new life, not the old one.

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Q&A Multiple Wives

by Aaron

Q: Why is it that Abraham, David and Solomon can have several wives and concubines yet God says not a word about them. 1 and 2 Kings continually says "And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord." Then it will refer to some type of idolatry. Why does this never occur when the kings were having numerous wives and concubines?

A: The whole idea of polygamy in the bible is something a lot of people today struggle with because they associate it with adultery. The bible never condones a "Big Love" attitude, but in regard to Abraham, God had lots of other things to work on him with…and the law wasn't given for another few hundred years.

The bigger, and harder, questions are the ones dealing with David and Solomon. In 2 Samuel 12:7-8 it actually says that God gave David's wives to Solomon when he became king. The wives of any deceased king, were normally entrusted to the protection and care of his successor. Otherwise a later marriage to a king's widow might give the second husband a legal claim to the throne. (This was the reason [in 1 Kings 2] Solomon was so alarmed by Adonijah's proposal to marry King David's youngest wife, Abishag, that Solomon killed him for the request).

The rule was that once a woman became a king's consort (whether as queen, secondary wife, or concubine), she had a right to retain that status even though her royal husband had died. His successor would "take her" over. They almost never had sexual relations with them as that would be considered incest. Most (but not all) of David's wives would have come from Saul, most (but not all) of Solomon's wives would have come from David.

Technically speaking, and the Jews loves to technically not break the law, when a man took a second wife he bound himself to her just as much as the first wife. No matter how many wives Solomon had, they were all just as much Mrs. Solomon. The concubines were, in the same way, an exclusive obligation for the man to cherish, support, and provide for in every way. This was a far different matter than entering into illicit relations with another man's wife (as when David does this God is VERY displeased).

The encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties says it like this: "The fact of the matter was that while polygamy was contrary to God's intention and ideal, nevertheless, because of what Christ called "the hardness of men's hearts" (Matt. 19:8), it was tolerated--especially in the case of a political leader whose dynasty would fail if he produced no son by his first wife. A state of civil war might well ensue from such a situation, with resulting bloodshed and disruption to the state. "

I think that cultural acceptability had a lot to do with it as well. I think the Jews, in time, grew to a better understanding of God's will in regard to the blessing of marriage. It is seen that from the time of the return from Babylonian exile onward, there is no reference to polygamy among God's people to be found in any of the later books of the Old Testament.

When Christ comes, monogamy was the rule among the Greeks and the Romans as well as among the Jews. Jesus pointed out that In Genesis 2 monogamy was God's will for man. One man, one woman, one flesh.

In summary, I will quote an interesting thing written by Norman Geisler (Ethics: Alternatives and Issues pages 204-5):"There is ample evidence, even within the Old Testament, that polygamy was not God's ideal for man. That monogamy was His ideal for man is obvious from several perspectives.
     (1)
God made only one wife for Adam, thus setting the ideal precedent for the race.
     (2)
Polygamy is first mentioned as part of the wicked Cainite civilization (Gen. 4:23).
     (3)
God clearly forbade the kings of Israel (leaders were the persons who became polygamists) saying, `And he shall not multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away again' (Deut. 17:17).
     (4)
The saints who became polygamists paid for their sins. 1 Kings 11:1, 3 says, `Now King Solomon loved many foreign women...and his wives turned away his heart.'...
     (5)
Polygamy is usually situated in the context of sin in the O.T. Abraham's marriage of Hagar was clearly a carnal act of unbelief (Gen. 16:1 f). David was not at a spiritual peak when he added Abigail and Ahinoam as his wives (1 Sam. 25:42-43), nor was Jacob when he married Leah and Rachel (Gen. 29:23, 28).
     (6)
The polygamous relation was less than ideal. It was one of jealousy among the wives. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah (Gen. 29:31). Elkanah's one wife was considered a `rival' or adversary by the other, who `used to provoke her sorely, to irritate her...' (1 Sam. 1:6).
     (7)
When polygamy is referred to, the conditional, not the imperative, is used. `If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights' (Exod. 21:10). Polygamy is not the moral ideal, but the polygamist must be moral."

DISPATCH ISSUE 1: Christmas For Kids, 2011 Review, and More

by Element Christian Church

Download Dispatch (Digital Magazine)

In this issue, you will find a recap of nearly everything that went on at Element during 2011.  From the sermon series to weddings to pumpkin killing, we've got it in there.  You'll also find a feature story on Christmas for Kids and the blessing it is to our community.  Finally, we have an article from our very own Jonathon Whitaker giving practical advice on how God intends men to step into the role being an effective leader at home.

DOWNLOAD .PDF VERSION HERE

Good Friday 2012: Seder Meal

by Element Christian Church


Good Friday 2012: Seder Meal, 6pm (Full)

At Element we are always trying to mix things ancient and modern. Understanding our heritage as Christians and still living in the vibrant newness of the Spirit's leading.

If you have ever been to or through one of our Good Friday services you know they tend to be different. From attending a funeral, to making you carry rocks, to even having you walk through a life-sized board game, our goal is to make you think about Christ’s sacrifice for our redemption.

This year we are doing something ancient and modern as well; we will be hosting a Seder meal. You may be asking what a Seder meal is, well, a Seder is the traditional Passover Week Dinner celebrated by the Hebrews since the Exodus. It is the Hebrew Thanksgiving, giving thanks to God for deliverance and redemption. Seder is also called the Passover Dinner.

The word Seder simply means "order," and refers to the service of the Passover festival meal that follows a prescribed order. The Seder was also what Jesus would have celebrated at The Last Supper the night he was betrayed. Jesus also chose the Seder as the setting for announcing (and explaining) The New Covenant. Many of us have done part of the Seder at every Sunday service when participating in communion.

The Seder was the basis of the early Church's Lord's Day worship service. It was referred to as the Agape Feast and Eucharist. Agape is the Greek word for Christian Love, that Love we have for one another.

Passover (Seder) is really more than a festival. It is an elaborate teaching experience, especially for the children. It is intended to call people to their identity as the People of God. By using all of the senses, the Passover Seder tells the story of God’s grace in history and calls the participants to experience and share in the story as their own story.

We are very sorry, but we are completely full, and cannot take any more sign-ups.

Compatibility of Genesis and an old Earth?

by Aaron

What do you think about the compatibility of Genesis and an old Earth?

I love this question because only someone from a western perspective (which we are raised in) would ask it. We come to the scriptures trying to define numbers and values, days and dates, times and seasons…when the Hebrews would assign point and purpose to the God who made it all. 

Let me walk through this with you a bit:

The word for Beginning (where the title of Genesis comes from) is Bereshit (RAY-Sheeth). It could also be translated as "When God began to create." In the Hebrew the entire thought isn't even finished till verse 3 and God brings light into His creation. 

Bere’shit Bara Elohim Shamayim' Erets = Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning can mean multiple things. It can mean the first of its kind, the choice part (like filet minion or the top of a muffin), first fruits, or even first born. In the context of Genesis it can really mean: AT SOME POINT.

How old is the earth? IT DOESN'T MATTER.  That's the point of Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created - "at some point" specifically doesn’t nail down anything.

Some people like to say the earth is 4.5 billion years (radiometric dating), some theologians like to say 10,000 years old because of the genealogies in scripture (which I thunk fails to take into account the proper Hebrew idea in the lineage). The truth is simply, no one knows. 10,000 or 10 billion doesn’t matter, what matters is God made it; that is the point.

Genesis is not meant to be exhaustive; it doesn’t tell you all there is know, but simply what you NEED to know…especially when it comes to the creation account. It is not a book about dinosaurs and monkeys, it is a book about God (and eventually man). God couldn’t tell us everything because we wouldn’t understand EVERYTHING (we are not as smart as God and He would just confuse us if He told us too much). God through Moses gives us what we need to know to know Him and understand what He has done.

What the point for us to see is that a Creator (GOD) made Creation (US). We know this because God reveals this to us. Only scripture reveals HOW it all came to be (only one person was there). Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

There is a lot of speculation:

  • The days of creation are periods of time (called the day age theory) where each DAY of creation is actually a longer period of time.
  • Some say the days are literal days (just 7 in number).
  • Still others say God created Adam and Eve about 10,000 years ago (no humans as we define them before that) but that the earth itself could be very old. There could be sunrises/sunsets, animals, plants and that could the earth could be very old, but the 7 days of creation reference a particular piece of real-estate known as Eden. So GOD CREATES EVERYTHING...then the days deal with Eden (this view is gaining much popularity today.)

Young earth or old, they both fit in the Genesis narrative because it is about God. We can even disagree and still both love God and agree that God made it all. Now that is an amazing book!

Imagine this, God set it up for our life and He really is a good God.

A Face For Podcast

by Aaron

Maybe you have noticed the few couple weeks that there are some cameras at Element. This is NOT for my vanity, it is to meet a request. Many people have been asking for a video cast of the messages, rather than just audio.

Now, I have a hard time with this because I have a hard enough time looking in the mirror at my ugly mug (face). I would much rather have myself as audio only…because you can leave it up to your own imagination if I have combined stripes and plaids on any given Sunday.

We have a couple of guys who decided that they would like to take on this ministry to video cast the sermons. Much to my chagrin it is now happening. They will first be posted on our Vimeo page, then, maybe, one day, on a video podcast as well. There may be some hiccups in the beginning, so don't expect FOX type quality…but we hope to get there.

So, if you notice I am combing my hair more, or I am better color coordinated, that's why. Also, if you see cameras around, please don't think we are taking ourselves too seriously, we are actually trying to be servants, meeting a need, and trying to give God glory in the process.

Viva La Camera.

DON’T FREAK OUT

by Aaron

I am happy to say that I have been busy at work mapping out the book of Genesis for the coming year…unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your mindset) it isn’t going to make it the year; it is going to be a year and a half.

We never want to sell a book of the bible short and it seems that this is the length it simply needs to be. It is what it is, and it is oh so good. The actual length, when all is said and done, is 73 weeks (plus the very few special one off weeks in the midst of it, like Easter).

I am through writing 34 weeks of Genesis now (so almost half way).

One of my friends asked me if we were covering every verse, and my answer was “of course.” I mean, what else would a people as neurotic as Element do?

Genesis will be fun, informative, and give all of us a better picture of what God has been doing all along: saving, redeeming, restoring, and making His name great.

So, in 2013 when the website STILL says “Current Sermon Series: Genesis” you can be excited all over again because every week will be something new, something old, and something amazing.

I hope you are ready for the ride.
Aaron

DON’T BE A SPOILEY-SPOILARTON

by Aaron

Ok, seriously, will everyone stop trying to tell me the latest bit of information on every new movie that is coming out? Does every movie trailer have to show me the ending before I even see the movie?

I love all things Christopher Nolan and I am totally excited about 2012’s The Dark Night Rises, but I feel as though I can’t go anywhere without someone trying to spoil it for me. Why can’t we just wait until it comes out and watch it? Why do people have to sneak onto a movie a set to and try to steal the script to post to everyone to read? Is our need to be in control and have information so overwhelming that we can’t enjoy a story without having control of the end?

This has been a problem since the mankind was first made. “Don‘t eat this fruit, trust me,” is what God says to man…But what does man do? Eats the fruit and doesn’t trust. It seems, for us, letting go of our lives and trusting Jesus is something we all refuse to do. Can we really trust him for the remainder of our lives? Has He really filtered all things through His hands before they come to us?

The answer is: yes.

I know a stupid little blog isn’t going to change you much, but at this time of the year if I could get you to start thinking about God’s promise of hope and redemption more, it could actually help. We know the end, it is Jesus; all things begin and continue in Him. Truly “the end” is not the end in Him.

When life is overwhelming, it will not overwhelm Him. Take comfort in the fact that our Great God loves you, has laid a course for your life, and though we don’t know where it is going, He does…He has always been there.

Oh, ya…and if you haven’t see the Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis is DEAD.

THE 99%, A CHRISTMAS TALE

by Aaron

I am part of the 99%...but what do I mean by that? I mean I have a Christmas Tree: it is plastic, came in a box, had lights already hung on it, and doesn't smell like anything except dog slobber (after years of use). I also have some presents under my tree, Christmas lights on my house, Christmas music on my Ipod, a big red bag that I haul presents around in on Christmas (seriously), and a joyful expectancy of what the season brings.

I am part of the 99% who love Christmas.

But who are the haters, the naysayers, with no sort of holiday cheer? I can only find scattered reports of various news stories.

  • Like the guy who complained that a Christmas billboard was left up too long and wrote an editorial about how it was stirring "inappropriate emotion" about making him feel guilty for not spending time with his loved ones.
  • The campaign that encourages people who walk into stores that are NOT playing Christmas music to find the managers and thank them.
  • A proposed extra tax on Christmas Trees.
  • Even Twisted Sister (the band) who came out with a Christmas album. I mean seriously, they must really hate Christmas.


We must Occupy Christmas. If you are part of the 99% who love Christmas, stop treating it like a holiday and live your life as if every day is Christmas Eve. Stop buying into bogus statistics that tell you that suicide rates go up at Christmas, it's a lie, they actually go down. Don't be another person who makes the season too long, too false, too commercialized and just simply too much. Make it about hope and life and truth and mercy and grace that came into the world to save us from our sin.

Bring the 1% to our side…the side that says, "yeah Christmas." Remember what the Dr said (that's Suess), "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"

So go buy your fake trees and cover your house in lights. It's Christmas for Pete's (I mean Jesus') sake.

Genesis Promo Video

by Element Christian Church

On January 15th, 2012 we will start a series on Genesis... Here is a little glimpse of what you can expect.


PECCAWHATWHOZIT - Part II

by Aaron

Last week we looked at the question: Could Jesus have sinned? (give in to temptations). The long winded discussions that actually wrestle with this question of "was Jesus able to sin?" is called, "peccability" (or impeccability), from the Latin meaning "sin."

The conclusion was: could Jesus be tempted? yes. Could Jesus sin? no. In this blog I wanted to look at the ramification of what this truth means for us.

What are the practical ramifications that flow from this understanding of Jesus relationship to sin and temptation?

  • Because Jesus faced real temptations and successfully endured those temptations as a real man not yet glorified He was and is “the author of eternal salvation.” We are told that Jesus had to be “made perfect,” and in order to be “made perfect,” Jesus had to “learn obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8-9). Jesus became like Adam (except that where Adam failed, Jesus triumphed). (Rom. 5:19).
  • Because Jesus faced real temptations and successfully resisted those temptations as a real man not yet glorified He can be our example and pattern for resisting the temptations we face. Sometimes it is difficult for us to view Christ as an example. We think of Him in His majestic divinity. Consequently, we view Him as a kind of superman—impervious to the kind of temptations we face. But the Scripture does not place Christ in a totally different category than us. Instead, the writer to the Hebrews encourages believers to look to Jesus, "the founder and perfecter of our faith " (Heb. 12:3). True, Jesus was not plagued with the remnants of a sinful nature as we are. Nevertheless, we should not view our Savior as some kind of super-human being whose experience was totally foreign to ours.
  • Because Jesus faced real temptations and successfully resisted those temptations as a real man not yet glorified He can fully sympathize with us in our struggle against sin (Heb. 2:18; 4:15).

J.C. Ryle said: “The sympathy of Jesus is a truth which ought to be peculiarly dear to all believers. They will find in it a mine of strong consolation. They should never forget, that they have a mighty Friend in heaven, who feels for them in all their temptations, and can enter into all their spiritual anxieties. Are they ever tempted by Satan to distrust God 's care and goodness ? So was Jesus. Are they ever tempted to presume upon God 's mercy, and run into danger without warrant? So also was Jesus. Are they ever tempted to commit some one great private sin for the sake of some great seeming advantage ? So also was Jesus. He is just the Savior that a tempted people require. Let them flee to Him for help, and spread before Him all their troubles. They will find His ear ever ready to hear, and His heart ever ready to feel.”

Most good Bible teachers believe that the Bible teaches that Christ, as God, could not even potentially sin. His human nature was always in submission to his divine nature. Therefore the possibility of sin must be ruled out; but that does not mean that he only overcame temptation by relying on that nature. We believe he overcame sin IN HIS HUMANITY as well.

Leon Morris states, "The main point is that, though Jesus did not sin, we must not infer that life was easy for him. His sinlessness was, at least in part, an earned sinlessness as he gained victory after victory in the constant battle with temptation that life in this world entails."

We have a Great God who understands all we go through.

PECCAWHATWHOZIT - Part I

by Aaron

I was recently asked a question by a friend of mine that I thought would be good for all of you budding scholars of theology. It is one that people have asked for ages…

Could Jesus have sinned? (give in to temptations)

Most people just say "no" and leave it at that and walk away, but is it intellectually honest to say no without wrestling with the issue?

Jesus, in the incarnation, was fully God and fully man (we call this the Hypostatic Union). While God, as God, can never sin or be tempted…could Jesus, as a man, in human flesh, be tempted. I think the honest answer would have to be yes. In His humanity Jesus knew temptation. In Hebrews 4:15 we are told that our great High Priest (Jesus) was tempted in every way that we are yet was without sin. This is something we are told…it is not guessed at or inferred, it is plain in the text.

We are comforted because Jesus knew temptations but never gave in to them. He knew greater temptation than anyone who has ever lived precisely because He never gave in to make it stop. Jesus remaining sinless is an amazing feat, which, in my opinion, reinforces His claims to be God.

The long-winded discussions that actually wrestle with this question of "was Jesus able to sin?" is called, "peccability" (or impeccability), from the Latin meaning "sin."

Jesus (in His humanity) grew and matured; Jesus could "grow in wisdom" (Luke 2:52) and He could "learn obedience" (Hebrews 5:8) during when he took on human flesh. This seems to lead credence to the idea that Jesus could be tempted…but could Jesus sin?

Most of this argument can go back to the understanding that Jesus was not merely a man. He was (and is) also God the Son. Since God cannot sin (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18; James 1:13, 17), we can conclude that from the standpoint of His deity, Jesus was not able to sin (or impeccable). But, I personally, don't think Jesus overcame temptation by simply relying on His divine nature. As a man, Jesus knew the filling of the Spirit "without measure" (John 3:34). But He resisted the devil and became obedient unto death as a man.

Wayne Grudem says it well in his great book on Systematic Theology, “The moral strength of [Jesus’] divine nature was there as a sort of 'backstop' that would have prevented Him from sinning in any case (and therefore we can say that it was not possible for Him to sin), but He did not rely on the strength of His divine nature to make it easier for Him to face temptations.” (pg 539).

So, could Jesus be tempted? Yes. Could Jesus sin? No. At least that is my humble opinion. Next week in the blog we will look at the ramifications of what this truth actually means for those who call themselves Christians.