The Way of The Cross is the End of Entitlement

You cannot grow to mature faith faith if you embrace an entitlement mentality. They are at odds, incompatible. Faith puts others ahead of yourself even at your own expense. Entitlement puts self first at the expense of others. Faith says you don’t deserve this. Entitlement say you do. Faith is the way of the cross where even divinity surrenders their rights. Entitlement says rights are to be greedily clung to in a desperate and unending search to take more and more. Faith gives and gives. Entitlement takes and takes. Faith satisfies. Entitlement makes you discontent with what you have.

Jesus knew equality with God was not something to be grasped. The rest of us from Adam and Eve to you and me today are told by Satan that equality with God can and should be grasped. King Jesus didn’t use his royal lineage to lord it over people. He didn’t play by the good ole boy rules of letting the king be the king like David taking Bathsheba, Solomon and his wives or countless other kings of Israel and their idols. The way of Christ is the way of the cross and the only way to embrace it is to put aside all your entitlements, even your own “right to life”. That is why Jesus tells a man to not go and bury his father but to come now and follow him. Another man wants to sell a field…well, both of those men had the freedom to do so and every right to do those things but Jesus calls him to come and follow instead. If we choose Christ it comes to the exclusion of our entitlements.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

21 Responses to The Way of The Cross is the End of Entitlement

  1. Are you using the NIV for “Jesus knew equality with God was not to be grasped?” It seems to me that your reading is giving the opposite meaning of that passage, because Jesus certainly did make himself equal with God.

    Joh 5:17-18 KJV
    (17) But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
    (18) Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

    At the same place in John, the NIV also says that Jesus made himself equal with God.

    John 5:18 New International Version (NIV)
    18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

    So with all things considered, which seems more plausible? That Jesus did not even try to grasp at equality with God, or that Jesus made himself equal with God without apology?

    Php 2:5-6 KJV
    (5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
    (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

    I have usually seen the NIV reading defended from two sides.

    1) The Unitarians who love the NIV reading because it makes it sound like Jesus was so much “not God” that he knew better than to even try to grasp at equality with God

    2) Those that protest that the NIV reading doesn’t sound at all like it is reducing Christ’s claim of divinity (it seems they have never spoken with Unitarians) … and say that it has the same meaning as the King James “thought it not robbery to be equal with God”

    It seems to me that Jesus certainly did grasp equality with God, making himself God, forgiving sins of men on earth, declaring himself greater than the temple of God, and even “Lord of the sabbath day” (for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and the seventh day He rested…)

    Luk 5:20-21 KJV
    (20) And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
    (21) And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

    Mat 12:6-8 KJV
    (6) But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
    (7) But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
    (8) For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

    Without disagreeing with what you are saying about entitlements, I think you’re using the wrong part of the Phillipians passage to illustrate your point:

    Php 2:7-8 KJV
    (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

    Jesus thought it not robbery to be equal with God (for it plainly states that he made himself equal with God in the gospel of John) but … (but, that is, in contrast to his equality) he made himself of no reputation, took the form of a servant, and humbled himself unto death. Those verses support your point.

    Assuming that you are not Unitarian, it seems that you may have demonstrated how the “not to be grasped” rendering is somewhat ambiguous, at best. I think that other scriptures show that Jesus certainly did “take hold” of equality, in spite of laying down his life willingly.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Patrick,

      Why would Jesus have been sinning to turn the stone into bread in Matthew 4? It wasn’t a sin to turn things into food. Water to wine. The sin would have been Jesus pride at his 40 days of fasting that resulted in him thinking he had earned the bread…like he was so spiritual and so capable of doing 40 days of fasting that God owed him the bread. Satan was tempting him to be entitled. That doesn’t make him any less God…it just means he didn’t consider equality with God a quality that he was greedily holding on to. It is not that he isn’t divine…it is about his attitude toward his own divinity and keeping a godly/pure perspective on that. Hope that helps.

      • Jesus would not have sinned by turning stones to bread in Matthew 4. Think about it… against whom would he have sinned, and what law would he have broken? You are suggesting that he would have been “prideful” and too presumptuous by claiming to be God? He already claimed to be God… so would he have “sinned” by taking God’s place? He would have sinned … against himself? Eh?

        The reason he refused was because he would not allow the devil to bait him. And if you look at his answer closely, who was he exalting? “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God?” Jesus was God, therefore, who was putting whom in his place? The devil tried to command Jesus, but Jesus turned about and commanded the devil. Man was to live by every word that proceeded from the mouth of Jesus (which might explain why we have four gospels instead of only one.)

        If you look at the answers Jesus gave during that temptation, they also carry that same theme:

        In Matthew 4:6 the devil tempts Jesus to cast himself down from a pinnacle of the temple, and Christ’s reply is … “thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Jesus was the Lord God.)

        In Matthew 4:9 the devil offers the kingdoms of the world (for they had been given to him for a season) if Jesus would worship him instead. Christ’s answer was “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thy serve.” Satan had it backwards: Jesus would not worship the devil, but Satan owed worship to Jesus.

        I do not disagree concerning the aim of your post as it concerns us (the creation) but I do not think that you should be using Jesus as an example of forsaking “entitlements.” Jesus was entitled, and claimed his entitlements.

        Joh 5:26-27 KJV
        (26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
        (27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

        Eternal life in oneself and the judge of the living and the dead is a pretty huge entitlement, not to mention his entitlement of King of Kings and Lord of Lords as the root and branch of Jesse. These are entitlements that Jesus is coming back to claim. Jesus was entitled to be the Messiah, the “King of the Jews”, and to raise himself from the dead.

        When this is turned about to mortal men, we are *not* entitled to anything. We were created out of the dust, and unto the dust we shall return. We have been promised a resurrection, both the just and the unjust, and we have also been promised a judgment. We are not entitled to eternal life, judgment over men, or any special position. These are gifts, not entitlements.

        Rom 6:23 KJV
        (23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

        For us, eternal life is a gift, and something that we must receive, but Jesus plainly stated that for him eternal life was an entitlement, even something he possessed in himself. He has the keys of death and hell…. and he is entitled to inherit the kingdoms of this world. What does the word “entitled” mean at its most basic level, anyway? He had that title from the beginning – it was not earned, nor received as a gift. We are not entitled, but Jesus did claim entitlement.

      • mattdabbs says:

        Patrick,

        “Jesus would not have sinned by turning the stones into bread.”

        I think you missed the whole point of the passage. The story starts off like this,
        “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

        He was in the desert to be tempted. The tempter came to him to tempt him, not just to get him to manipulate some stones. For you to say turning the stones into bread is not a sin in that particular context misses the whole point. We can get more into what the sin was but first it is important that you read the verse in context to recognize that this was a temptation and temptation is an attempt to get someone to sin. So yes, turning the stones into bread would have been a sin, not because that is a sinful miracle to do but because of the context of the story and the attitude it would have represented coming out of Jesus’ heart…an attitude that says God is not sufficient and that he deserves to eat after 40 days of fasting. I hope that makes sense. Sorry for the long delay in response, I have been crazy busy.

        Second, I am not following you in saying Jesus should not be our example in forsaking entitlements. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did when the Word became flesh? Isn’t that exactly the point of Philippians 2? The context of the Philippians 2:5ff is that we have to consider others ahead of ourselves. That is what Jesus did? How? By putting aside entitlement. Jesus is THE example of putting aside entitlement.

        Your hangup is Jesus calling himself God. He is not entitled to call himself God…that is just stating a fact. But when you use that to Lord it over everyone, arm twist and manipulate them that is problematic and that is exactly what Jesus avoided.

      • I think you may be misunderstanding why Jesus allowed himself to be tempted in the wilderness… and I think this comes down to the meaning of the word tempt. It does not mean “trying to make someone sin…” (although it can be applied that way), but it more accurately means to test, or to try.

        Look in other places where it speaks of tempting God (Deuteronomy 6:16, Malachi 3:15, Acts 15:10, etc.) Does it mean “trying to make God sin?” I don’t think that you would place that meaning on the word there, would you? So why would you apply that meaning to where Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness? It simply says,

        Mat 4:1 KJV
        (1) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

        You have suggested that Satan was somehow trying to trick Jesus into committing a sin…. but that doesn’t make sense for several reasons (which I will briefly outline below):

        1) Consider the definition of sin. Sin is the transgression of the law, sin must be against someone, and God cannot sin against God. None of Satan’s suggestions involved any sort of transgression against anyone else, unless you consider the probable long-term consequences of yielding his entitlement of Godhood to the devil.

        2) Even someone pretending for a moment that God could somehow sin against himself (or the devil, or another person) what would then stop God from going one step further and simply blasting the devil into sub-atomic particles for his insolent trickery? If Satan exists for the time being because of a promise, if God could be tricked into violating one promise, what would stop God from violating other promises out of vengeance?

        3) The pattern of the devil’s temptations show a different objective. Turning stones to bread, casting oneself down from a tower, and bowing to the devil all have a common theme, namely, obeying the devil (and thus surrendering power to him.)

        Why would God allow himself to be tempted of the devil? I would suggest that it is part of God’s character to allow his creation a chance to bring petitions, a fair attempt to persuade him to change his mind. Thus, Abraham tried to bargain with God (who listened), Moses intervened on behalf of Israel when God was ready to wipe them out, and God repented of the evil he would have done to Nineveh when the entire nation repented, even after he sent a prophet preaching “forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed.”

        With hindsight, the devil’s suggestions were pretty stupid. Jesus did not need to prove to himself that he was the Son of God, he was not going to jump just because he was goaded, and he most certainly was not going to turn over the keys to the universe and eternity to Satan for the kingdoms of the world at that point in time. Satan had his chance to tempt God, and he was less than convincing. Yet, if Satan had a reasonable suggestion, I think it would have been fairly considered (consider even 1 Kings 22:22).

        The idea that Jesus could somehow sin (against himself) is off target. Although I’ve heard that explanation before, it is not found in the text, and requires an assumption that Jesus was not God, and I think that Satan knew whom he was speaking with, which is why he began his challenges with “if thou be the Son of God” (see also Luke 4:41).

        And if you think about it, there is no such thing as a “sinful miracle.” By definition, miracles come from God, by the authority and approval of God. Can God sin against himself? Can God transgress his own law? What did Jesus say when he was accused of breaking his own sabbath? Did he not reply that he was Lord of the Sabbath, and that he works even as his Father works? He made the rules, he judges those rules, and he can repeal or change those rules.

        From the perspective that you last wrote, would you please try to explain:

        1) Most importantly, how can God sin against God?
        2) Per question 1, what would Satan have to gain if Jesus had somehow “sinned?”
        3) Per question 2, what would have changed? Couldn’t Jesus still raise himself from the dead, ascend to heaven, return with legions of angels, raise his saints, and reduce the devil to ashes at the end of the world?

        (I would prefer to address the second part in a separate post…)

      • This goes back to the original “entitlement” theme.

        Second, I am not following you in saying Jesus should not be our example in forsaking entitlements. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did when the Word became flesh? Isn’t that exactly the point of Philippians 2? The context of the Philippians 2:5ff is that we have to consider others ahead of ourselves. That is what Jesus did? How? By putting aside entitlement. Jesus is THE example of putting aside entitlement.

        Jesus was willing to lay down his life willingly, to walk a mile in our shoes, even to lead by example. I don’t think that is the same as “putting aside entitlement” because by the same measure, even in that same chapter of Philippians 2, we are reminded that Jesus had rights to power, glory, and honor, and that he is reclaiming those rights of power, glory, and honor. Those rights were set aside only for a season.

        Php 2:10-11 KJV
        (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
        (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

        And aren’t we glad that those rights (entitlements) were set aside only for a season?

        Your hangup is Jesus calling himself God. He is not entitled to call himself God…that is just stating a fact. But when you use that to Lord it over everyone, arm twist and manipulate them that is problematic and that is exactly what Jesus avoided.

        If Jesus was in fact God, then Jesus was entitled to call himself God. If he was not entitled to call himself God, then he was guilty of blasphemy, and such he was accused by the Jews.

        If your point is that rank and privilege should not be abused to manipulate, arm twist, or force our will upon others, then I think that this is well observed in Jesus and our Father in heaven. He has been very patient so far to allow us six thousand years with minimal intervention.

        I think this is in the spirit of what you were trying to say (below), isn’t it?

        Joh 15:13-15 KJV
        (13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
        (14) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
        (15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

        I can see how the described “entitlement mentality” conflicts with love and self-sacrifice, but it doesn’t seem to match up if one were to suggest that Jesus would have been “living on welfare” (so to speak) if he had appeared in glory with legions of angels. He has that right, that entitlement, and he is coming again in that very fashion. I, for one, am glad of it.

        And I am really glad that he will not “set aside entitlements” when he comes again the second time. What better Lord than one whose subjects are his dearest friends?

    • mattdabbs says:

      Also, that passage in Philippians says it was God who exalted Christ because of Christ’s humility and obedience. That doesn’t mean Jesus wasn’t divine and God exalted him to divinity after he died on the cross. It is all about attitude and posture in his own divinity and seeing his divinity through a pure perspective rather than through a sinful one of pride and arrogance.

    • mattdabbs says:

      No where did I say Jesus didn’t have the right to those things. I am saying he didn’t use and abuse those things in worldly ways. There is significance in Jesus being the perfect sacrifice for our sins and the devil knew that. That is why he tempted Jesus, not just in Matthew 4 but in many other instances as well because he knew that would derail his messianic mission. Read Hebrews 4:15. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus being tempted had everything to do with sin and yet you are saying it didn’t.

      I really am listening to what you have to say here and considering it. I just have some hangups along the way. I appreciate your well reasoned response. I can tell you have put a lot of thought into it and respect that greatly!

      • There is significance in Jesus being the perfect sacrifice for our sins and the devil knew that. That is why he tempted Jesus, not just in Matthew 4 but in many other instances as well because he knew that would derail his messianic mission.

        Was this a contest, where Satan was trying to trick a prophet into committing a sin, so he could leave God scratching his head and saying “now what?” For reasons I have already listed, that doesn’t seem very plausible to me.

        So can you please explain just how Satan could have derailed the Messianic mission? I can think of a few ways, including:

        1) attempting to get God so angered at humanity that he decides to destroy humanity
        2) attempting to get God to yield his power to himself (as he requested in the wilderness)
        3) hoping somehow that God would die on that cross and be unable to raise himself

        Considering that perfect is judged in comparison to God, then God (Jesus) would naturally be the definition of perfect. When Paul speaks of a high priest that was tempted as we were yet found without sin, he is using analogy by comparing Jesus to a human priest.

        Heb 4:14-15 KJV
        (14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
        (15) 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.

        The role of a high priest is to intercede between men (even the priests) and God himself. Human high priests were flawed (and not without sin) but here it illustrates that Jesus endured the same experiences we did (but was without sin.) What it does not say that Jesus was being tested to see if he would sin (once he is recognized as God, it’s more of a given.)

        In verse 15, the second clause is an explanation of the first clause, thus provides our context. What is the reason for saying that he was “tempted like as we are?” It is because we are being assured that he knows what we have gone through, not that he “cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”

        I think that the “perfect sacrifice” and “without sin” aspect is useful primarily for one thing: that is, identifying Jesus for who he was.

        1. God cannot sin (God cannot lie, Titus 1:2)
        2. sin is defined as transgression against God, (1 John 3:4)
        3. all [mankind] has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

        therefore, the question of sin tells us whether Jesus was God. No human could perform the role of Messiah to sacrifice himself for others. The cross was symbolic of God’s own willingness to absorb those trespasses himself … to offer forgiveness, not a magical formula that needed the blood of lambs, bulls, goats, or “sinless” people.

        Eze 14:14 KJV
        (14) Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

        Using Ezekiel 14 above as a theme for thought, if you or I (or someone to be born next year) were to be “sinless” whom could they really redeem in the scope of eternity? Such a person would still be without eternal life (and might receive it as a gift) and might be held blameless on a personal level, but they could not forgive sins (that is the domain of God.)

        Mar 2:7 KJV
        (7) Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

        Isn’t that what the cross is about? The offer of the forgiveness of sins? The reason it required a perfect sacrifice, is because only God could offer a perfect sacrifice, because it wouldn’t work unless God was actually willing to absorb the injury and forgive us. It wasn’t a question of whether the Son of God would sin, the question was whether God wanted to forgive us.

        Let’s think about the inverse for a moment. If God was not willing to absorb humanity’s damage of sin himself, how many willing and sinless (even perfect) animal or human sacrifices would have sufficed on the cross, if he were not otherwise willing? Could any number of angels have taken God’s place?

        That’s why I think we needed a perfect sacrifice, rather than it being about trying the prophet and have him passing a battery of tests without sin.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Let me get clarity on a couple of points:
      1 – Do you think Paul wrote Hebrews?🙂
      2 – Do you think it was impossible for Jesus to sin?

      If it is possible for Jesus to sin, then tempting actually means something in regard to sin. If you don’t think it was possible for Jesus to sin then it seems you would be denying the full humanity of Christ in the flesh. Can you help me understand your position on the second? The first question was just a joke.

      • I believe that it was just as impossible for Jesus to sin as it is for God to lie (per Titus 1:2). How would you answer if someone asked if it was possible for God to lie? Surely it is within his power, but it would be a gross violation of his very being and character. Thus we say that God cannot lie.

        Additionally, what would you say if someone asked you if it was possible for God to commit murder? Under the law of Moses, there were specific conditions when someone was to be killed and their killers would be held blameless. It was not a sin to kill someone if the killing was ordered (or sanctioned) by God. Samuel did not murder Agag, he executed him before the LORD (1 Samuel 15:33).

        So when God decides to kill someone, by water, lightning, worms, or the sword, it is not murder because the killing is already approved by God. Therefore, God cannot murder, because he is the creator and source of life from the beginning, he also has the divine right to take it back when he wills. God is entitled to kill or make alive (i.e. Deuteronomy 32:39).

        As for the prompted explanation, I understand that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:16), being himself in spirit, and human in form… so I don’t see how my explanation would be denying the humanity of Christ. He could have taken the form of an angel (or even a literal lamb if he had wished) but he chose the form of a man complete with the normal life experiences that we all share (per Hebrews 2:16).

        Does that explanation help, or simply create more questions?

        By the way, I don’t understand the joke about whether Paul wrote Hebrews.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Doesn’t temptation imply that one actually has the ability to chose the sinful thing?I isn’t temptation if you can’t do it, right? The Hebrews passage is meaningless if Jesus really wasn’t tempted in every way as we are, which is what you are saying. It totally negates that passage, in my opinion.

      • So how would you respond if someone asked you if it was possible for God to lie? Does he have the ability to lie? This is not about power or ability.

        I don’t see how what I said negates any passage. Is this the passage in Hebrews?

        Heb 4:14-16 KJV
        (14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
        (15) 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.
        (16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

        We are introduced to our high priest, reminded that he is not unfeeling because he has walked a mile in our shoes (but is ultimately qualified to intercede for us unto God) and therefore…

        Therefore (this means that this is the point of the previous verse 15) ….

        …therefore, we may come boldly unto the throne of grace, and find mercy. This is not an unfeeling God that doesn’t know what we go through, but a passionate God that truly understands us and was willing to endure suffering to prove that he loved us.

        I think this goes back to the nature of the word “tempted” … it means “tested” or “tried” at its most basic level. If you took a steel beam and tested it like you tested all the wood beams, it would be impossible for it to fail, because it simply wouldn’t be part of its structural character. It might have the form of a beam, but its internal essence is different.

        Back to the top, it was just as possible for Jesus to sin as it is for God to lie. If you will say whether you believe it is possible for God to lie, then I will accept the same answer for whether it was possible for Jesus to sin.

        A verse for thought…

        1Jn 3:8-9 KJV
        (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
        (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

        If it is said that those who are born of God cannot sin, then how much more would this apply to God himself, God manifest in the flesh, even called the Son of God by title? The question keeps coming back to this: How can God sin?

    • mattdabbs says:

      Why not call all of his miracles using an entitlement of his divine power? He raised his friend from the dead, turned water into wine, had his friends catch hundreds of fish by telling them when to drop their nets. I don’t think so though and I don’t think the tax money fish counts either. These things were not done so Jesus could be entitled. They were done so people would recognize who he is. There is certainly a difference.

      Have you thought any more about the sin question. I am thinking on it some more.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Tested or tried in regard to what?

      • I am not sure exactly what you were asking because it wasn’t directly linked to a previous reply and didn’t have a quote. Words like “tested”, “tried”, and “tempted” depend on context and perspective.

        But, I will try to anticipate what you are asking:

        If you were to test a rock to see if it was a real diamond or simply a glass forgery, does the diamond have any chance of failing the test? If it were only glass, does the glass have any chance at all of passing?

        Jesus was the diamond, the genuine article, God himself. If he were not God then he (Jesus) would have failed the tests and have been revealed as a fraud. If God promised a messiah and could not deliver, his prophecy would have failed, and he would have broken his word.

        You can tempt the diamond to break (or be scratched) but no matter how many times you try, it won’t work on a real diamond. How plausible is it that the whole Christ-plan was something frail, risky, or something that had a real possibility of failing?

        Jas 1:17 KJV
        (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

        Heb 13:8 KJV
        (8) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

        Is our God constant and faithful, or is he variable and flighty? If Jesus could have sinned 2000 years ago, then he also could sin tomorrow or the day after that, and he wouldn’t be someone that we could trust to be constant at all. If he experienced a real battle that he could have lost back then, then he could also lose at a future date, as well… if the conditions were right.

        So, when you are thinking of a test, are you thinking of:

        1) The test of a diamond, where the results inevitable ahead of time, and merely need to be revealed?
        2) The test of a young student who can make bad or lucky decisions on the spot, depending upon his mood, emotions, or circumstance, where the student might pass, or might fail?
        3) The type of testing that teaches as you go along, and continues until you get things right?

        Anything less than Test 1 leaves our hope and salvation in a very precarious state, nearing that state that Paul termed “most miserable” (thinking of 1 Corinthians 15:19).

    • mattdabbs says:

      I have been thinking a lot about what you are saying here and want to clarify or correct my take on this a bit. I do believe God is entitled to many things that we humans are not. It would be incorrect to say God is never entitled to anything because God is God. We are not. The point I want to make in all of his about Jesus is that Jesus had all the entitlements of God. One of those entitlements is immortality. Jesus put that on the shelf, took on flesh/became a man in order to save us from our sins. That is what I am talking about here. That doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t entitled or has no right to exercise all the things at his disposal (miracles, right?) but there clearly are times Jesus puts entitlement to the side because of his great love for humanity. Jesus was entitled to call angels to destroy the world and set him free from the cross or even avoid it altogether but Jesus underwent all the horrors of the cross for us when he didn’t have to. There is no greater act of putting aside entitlement than that…the right to be immortal but become a man instead. The right to be king but instead take on the role of the suffering servant that Isaiah had describe 700 years+ prior.

      That is where I am going with all of this. I hope that clarifies a few things for you. I still do, however, believe Jesus had the ability to chose sin as he was in an earthly body. He lived the perfect, sinless life…not because he was a robot but because he chose the righteous path day in and day out. We can talk more about that in another post if you like. I will put one up tomorrow about whether or not people think Jesus could sin and see what other people have to say. I am intrigued by it all and want to make sure that I am not just making a ton of assumptions here. Thanks for your part in advancing the dialog.

  2. Patrick,

    How does your contribution to the debate of how Jesus could be both God and man contribute to the point Matt was making? This has been debated for millennia and is still debated – for some would rather debate than to have the same mind that Jesus had.

    Jerry

    • mattdabbs says:

      Jerry…I think he is elaborating on your question in his latest comment

      • Here’s something that just occurred to me today on this topic. I realized an example where Jesus granted an entitlement. What do you think?

        Mat 17:24-27 KJV
        (24) And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
        (25) He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
        (26) Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
        (27) Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

        It seems to me that Jesus said that not only was he exempted from any obligation to pay this tribute, but that Peter was also exempted simply by his relationship with Jesus. The money was provided from the fish for the sake of avoiding controversy or giving offense. The tribute money did not arrive from trade or labor.

        Some might criticize Peter for being a lazy bum that wouldn’t work to pay the tribute, but it seems to me that the lesson to be learned is that when God decides to grant you something it should be accepted. And reading Christ’s lesson at its face value, the sons of the king are exempted from the tax collected for the king.

        Do you think that Jesus paid the temple tribute before Peter volunteered him with his “yes” in Capernaum? I am thinking that Peter gave the wrong answer, and Jesus provided the money from the fish to help cover for him, to make his answer truthful after the fact.

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