The Temptation of Christ

The argument that the Temptation of Christ was an indication that he was imperfect is common in Unitarian circles.


The bible clearly teaches in Heb 4:15 that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. This is not evidence that Jesus was imperfect.

In juxtaposing Heb 4:15 with Jas 1:13, Unitarians are arguing as follows. Jesus was tempted. God cannot be tempted. Ergo Jesus is not God.

Jesus is God

The problem with this argument is that the rest of scripture clearly proves that Jesus is part of the Godhead. Therefore, this argument to logic which is often the fallback point for unitarians comes directly in conflict with the rest of the bible.

Temptation is not sin

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.

James 1:13-15 (NET)

Temptation is not sin unless it conceives and gives birth to sin. The temptation of Christ is not indicative of Sin. Jesus’ divine nature allowed him to resist temptation, where we, as impure, fall prey to temptation and sin.

James 1:13 simply states this. Evil could not tempt Jesus. He was not susceptible to temptation. God’s perfection and holiness prevent Him from being tempted to anything wrong.

No Contradiction

The passages don’t contradict. They simply teach different things about temptation and sin. Heb 4:15 simply states Jesus did not sin, despite being tempted. Jas 1:13 teaches that God can’t be tempted by evil and does not tempt anyone.

The Temptation of Christ

The fact that Jesus was able to resist temptation through his divine nature, does not render his temptation meaningless. Jesus shows us through his resistance of temptation the power of God. If we rely on God, we can resist temptation. Jesus demonstrates this.

Jesus is both God and Man

The temptation of Christ in the terms of Heb 4:15 reconciles with Jas 1:13 because Jesus was both God and Man. As God, Jesus had the power to resist temptation, and as man, he was able to experience temptation.

The Unitarian argument is ultimately a false argument. Unitarians misunderstand temptation and deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. He was able to resist temptation because he is God. He did so in order to save us from our sins.

Jesus’ temptation reminds us of God’s love and mercy. He understands our struggles, and He is there to help us overcome temptation through His power.

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