In pagan mythologies, sons of the gods are often described as half human and half god. Not so with Jesus. He is completely God, having existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit from eternity. He has also been fully man since His conception.
Jesus’ favorite term for Himself in the Gospels is “Son of man.” He wants us to know that He identifies with us. Hebrews 4:15 comments that “we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to feel our infirmities, but one who was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.” What a miracle! We have a God who knows firsthand every temptation we will ever face — because He, in human flesh, also experienced the temptations common to mankind. He had the same emotions and dealt with the same hurts we do. Although He was the Son of God, as a man he had to learn obedience to His Father through the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). He had to make choices to do right or wrong, just as we do — but He never once veered from doing what was right.
How could Jesus manage to never sin? No other person has ever been capable of leading a perfect life. We may exclaim, “But of course Jesus never sinned. He was God!” Yes, but that is not the reason. Philippians 2:7, 8 tells us that He “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself.” In other words, He deliberately laid aside His God-glory and took on the limitations of man.
The Bible refers to Jesus as “the last Adam” or “the second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). The first Adam was created a completely perfect man — flawless in body, soul, and spirit. When he chose to disobey God, the sin that then tainted him was passed down as an inherited sin nature to all his descendants. Romans 5:19 says, “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” Because of Jesus’ miraculous conception, He did not inherit from Adam the tainted bloodline, and therefore did not have a sin nature.
In the garden of Eden, the first Adam chose to transgress from a position of not having a sin nature to resist. Jesus also came with a sinless nature — but with the capability of choosing to sin, just like Adam. Jesus, the second Adam, passed the test. He chose at every point to resist sin, and He succeeded where the first Adam failed. In doing so, coupled with His ultimate victory at the cross and resurrection, He gave man a second chance.
Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.