The 1999 SDARM GC Declaration on the Nature of Christ

Did Christ’s human nature have sinful tendencies, propensities to sin, or passions to evil in His physical flesh?

We believe that the Divine nature of the Son of God was blended with the fallen human nature of the sons of Adam after the fall and after 4000 years of degeneracy according to the great law of heredity. This we believe is the mystery of the incarnation. See DA 21.

While He (Christ) took our fallen nature, we believe in harmony with what is written that there is in Him no evil propensity to sin, but that He was tempted from without, not from within.

(John 14:30; James 1:14.), in all points as we are, yet without sin. He could have yielded to temptation, but He did not, thus becoming both our Saviour and Advocate. We may overcome through Him even as He overcame. Christ was, is, and always will be, God. 1 John 5:20; Hebrews 13:8; 2:13-18; 7:16, 26, 27; Romans 1:13; 8:3; Hebrews 2:9; 1 SM 253; 5T 699. This subject should not be discussed further as it is the:

“mystery of all mysteries” (6BC 1082)

…and all our teaching should be based on a “thus saith the Lord”, and not on individual opinions. “We re-endorse the intent of this resolution, which is to briefly cover a deep and complex mystery which is to be appreciated in making a personal experience (John 1:14; 7BC 904; GC 251).

We re-emphasize that there were no evil propensities or tendencies to sin in Christ’s physical flesh, in harmony with the following statements from the Spirit of Prophecy:

“Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. …. He [Christ] could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity.”The SDA Bible Commentary (EGW Comments), vol. 5, p. 1128.

“He [Christ] was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points even as we are.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 508, 509.

“He [Christ] was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.” The SDA Bible Commentary (EGW Comments), vol. 7, p. 925.

“The prince of darkness found nothing in Him; not a single thought or feeling responded to temptation.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 422

“Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those He wished to save. In Him was no guile or sinfulness; He was ever pure and undefiled; yet He took upon him our sinful nature. Clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might associate with fallen humanity, He sought to regain for man that which, by disobedience, Adam had lost for himself and for the world.” The Review and Herald, December 15, 1896.

Christ partook of our “sinful” human nature (ST July 30, 1902; MM 180), and was thus encompassed with infirmities, weaknesses and liabilities (2T 202, 508, 509; DA 49; 1SM 253; 3SM 131, 132; 4BC 1147:4), but He had no evil propensities or evil tendencies in His human nature. Evil tendencies or evil propensities are evil leanings, inclinations, and bias’. These reside in our minds not in our physical flesh (AH 127, 128). Christ had none of these in His mind, nor in His human nature. The work of conversion and sanctification is the process which God uses to remove these evil propensities of our nature. We believe that this is in harmony with the following statements from the Spirit of Prophecy which clarify this question:

“Jesus Christ is our example in all things. He began life, passed through its experiences, and ended its record, with a sanctified human will. He was tempted in all points like as we are, and yet because He kept His will surrendered and sanctified, He never bent in the slightest degree toward the doing of evil, or toward manifesting rebellion against God…..Those who have a sanctified will, that is in unison with the will of Christ, will day by day have their wills bound to the will of Christ, which will act in blessing others, and react upon themselves with divine power.” ST October, 29, 1894.

“Christ’s perfect humanity is the same that man may have through connection with Christ. As God, Christ could not be tempted any more than He was not tempted from His allegiance in heaven. But as Christ humbled Himself to the nature of man, He could be tempted. He had not taken on Him even the nature of the angels, but humanity, perfectly identical with our own nature, except without the taint of sin. A human body, a human mind, with all the peculiar properties, He was bone, brain, and muscle. A man of our flesh, He was compassed with the weakness of humanity. The circumstances of His life were of that character that He was exposed to all the inconveniences that belong to men, not in wealth, not in ease, but in poverty and want and humiliation. He breathed the very air man must breathe. He trod our earth as man. He had reason, conscience, memory, will, and affections of the human soul which was united with His divine nature.” 16MR 181.

“The Lord Jesus, through sacrificing His life upon the cross, purposed by the agency of the Holy Spirit to bring man to see his position as a sinner and surrender his will to God’s will. He will sanctify every soul that will receive the gracious gift, and [will] give him power to become a son of God. He takes away the destructive tendencies of the sinful nature and brings the human agency into His service.” 18MR 208.2.

“The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited…..A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” Maranatha, 237. (See also 6BC 1101.)

“The word of God destroys the natural, earthly nature and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus.” DA 391

“Genuine conversion is needed, not once in years, but daily. This conversion brings man into a new relation with God. Old things, his natural passions and hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, pass away, and he is renewed and sanctified. But this work must be continual; for as long as Satan exists, he will make an effort to carry on his work. He who strives to serve God will encounter a strong undercurrent of wrong. His heart needs to be barricaded by constant watchfulness and prayer, …. Divine grace must be received daily, or no man will stay converted. …” Our High Calling, 215.

“All must come under the training of Jesus. When they fall upon Christ, their own hereditary and cultivated tendencies are taken away as hindrances to their being partakers of the divine nature. When self dies, Christ lives in the human agent; the man abides in Christ, and Christ lives in him.” Gospel Herald, April 23, 1902.

“Bad dispositions, hereditary tendencies, are opposed to the gospel of Christ.” 1MR 318.

“Every one who by faith obeys God’s commandments, will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression.” ST, July 23, 1902. (See also 6BC 1118)

Copyright SDARM. Printed in Australasian Good Tidings & Sabbath Watchman Vol. 54 Issue 5.

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