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There are several related questions already about this topic on C.SE, such as "What does it mean that Jesus was tempted in every way like us (yet without sin)?" and "What is temptation?".

My question is focusing on the phenomena that some people say that having evil desires isn't sinful in itself, but yielding to them is sinful. Others say that sinful desires are inherently sinful. It seems that there isn't agreement within broader Christianity about this issue, so I'm curious about which particular traditions (if any) teach that having evil desires does not necessarily mean that one is sinning. No doubt the answer to this question is especially related to this question: "Would it have been possible for Jesus to sin?", with particular regard to the question of whether Jesus had evil desires (I don't think he did).

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@Cohen_the_Librarian: I think every tradition teaches that it's okay to be tempted, at least in certain circumstances. –  Flimzy Mar 31 at 7:21
    
@Caleb Is the question clear enough now? –  Cohen_the_Librarian Apr 4 at 2:18
    
The question reads like "Do any Christian traditions think that sinful desires are not sinful?" Ummm... no? –  Anonymous Apr 6 at 0:09
    
@Anonymous Yes, that is essentially the question, but regardless of tradition there remain a large number of people whom I have encountered who believe that Jesus' sinless response in spite of having been tempted means that it is ok for them to be tempted. They don't restrict it to external temptations, and like I said, they make it sound like (if they don't actually say that) it's ok for them to have evil desires. It's hard for us to consider such a position when our views are so different from this, but I'm asking on the basis of puzzled observation, not from holding to this position. –  Cohen_the_Librarian Apr 6 at 3:44

2 Answers 2

Baptists believe that being tempted is not sinning, for two reason, the first being because of James 1:13-15.

"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. " James 1:13-15 (KJV)

This verse indicates that sin doesn't occur until after you are tempted. Another reason is the fact that Jesus was tempted and did not sin. (mark 1:24 says Jesus is the Holy one of God, indicating that Jesus is holy)

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Would it have possible for Jesus to sin ? NO. Would it be possible for him to have had evil thoughts? No'

Matthew 1;18

Now the birth of Jesus was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

John 3;5

Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Philippians 2;7-8

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.

From the beginning, Jesus was converted, being born of water ( naturally, through Mary ) and the Spirit (Holy Ghost),

Matthew 18;3

And said, verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Hebrews 4;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.

Hebrews 5;9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto them who obey him.

Jesus, through the power of his Father, and obedience to his will, overcame all temptation without yielding to sin. Jesus is the perfect high priest, sinless and eternal. His character is flawless. Temptation, is a test of character.

Man is born of water and decended from Adam (man).

Psalms: 51;5

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Jeremiah 17;9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Matthew 5;28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

1 John 3;9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot commit sin, because he is born of God.

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What do you mean by "Jesus' conversion"? Is that a typo for "conversation" meaning "conduct"? Or is there more to this idea? –  Cohen_the_Librarian Apr 10 at 2:54
    
John 3;3 requires us to be born again. Jesus is our example, and is flawless. Hebrews;5;9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto them that obey him: Conversion is our path to salvation. –  V. Rollins Apr 10 at 4:27
    
I understand what you are saying in your comment, but I really don't understand how that answers my question. Are you saying that by Jesus being made perfect he was converted? What does "Jesus' conversion" mean in your view? Also, please explain the Bible passages you cite. –  Cohen_the_Librarian Apr 10 at 4:39
    
I appreciate your attempt to answer my question, but merely citing Scripture verses does not do enough for this question. (I can use a concordance or Google too). In any kind of academic writing, if you make a quotation, you almost invariably have to provide some explanation of that quotation. Don't assume that I understand what the quote is saying. Do please explain what you mean that Jesus was converted--was he converted like sinners are, i.e. given a new nature? (I don't think so). Also, how does the Holy Spirit affect his response to temptation (maybe think Hebrews 9:14). –  Cohen_the_Librarian Apr 15 at 16:12
    
Jesus was conceived in holiness, through the Holy Ghost and Mary. I was conceived in sin through Adam and my mother. Jesus's nature is that of righteousness, through his Father and The Holy Spirit. He overcame temptation by the power of his Father and the Holy Spirit. My nature is sinful, and a new birth ,of water and the Spirit, as Jesus did,is needed. We are to overcome through His power and the Holy Spirit. –  V. Rollins Apr 15 at 17:59

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