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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

For it was fitting for God, that in bringing many sons to glory, He should make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

For in that he himself hath suffered being put to the proof (peirasqeiv"), he is able to succour them who are tried".

And "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

He was first morally perfected through suffering, and then corporeally, by being "made into a spirit" by the spirit of holiness in his resurrection from the dead.

I say, "morally perfected"; for, although he was without transgression, his perfection of character is predicated upon his "obedience unto death".

The probation of the Lord Jesus is an interesting and important study, especially that part of it styled the Temptation of Satan.

Paul, speaking of him as the High Priest under the New Constitution, says, "He was put to the proof in all things according to our likeness, without transgression"; that is, "having taken hold of the seed of Abraham," "being found in fashion as a man," the infirmities of human nature were thus laid upon him.

He could sympathize with them experimentally; being, by the feelings excited within him when enticed, well acquainted with all its weak points.

By examining the narrative of his trial in the wilderness, we shall find that he was proved in all the assailable points of human nature.

As soon as he was filled with the Spirit at his baptism in the Jordan, it immediately drove him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

This was very remarkable.

The Spirit led him there that he might be put to the proof; but not to tempt him; for, says the apostle, "Let no nan say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man".

God, then, did not tempt Jesus; though His Spirit conducted him thither to be tempted, and that, too, "by the devil," or the enemy.

This enemy within the human nature is the mind of the flesh, which is enmity against God; it is not subject to His law, neither indeed can be.

The commandment of God, which is "holy, just and good," being so restrictive of the propensities, which in purely animal men display themselves with uncontrolled violence, makes them appear in their true colours.

These turbulent propensities the apostle styles "sin in the flesh," of which it is full; hence, he also terms it "sinful flesh".

This is human nature; and the evil in it, made so apparent by the law of God, he personifies as "pre-eminently a sinner," kay uperbolhn amartwlov This is the accuser, adversary, and calumniator of God, whose stronghold is the flesh.

It is the devil and satan within the human nature; so that "when a man is tempted, he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed".

If a man examine himself, he will perceive within him something at work, craving after things which the law of God forbids.

The best of men are conscious of this enemy within them.

It troubled the apostle so much, that he exclaimed, "O, wretched man that I am!

who shall deliver me from the body of this death," or, this mortal body?

He thanked God that the Lord Jesus Christ would do it; that is, as he had himself been delivered from it, by God raising him from the dead by His Spirit.