A relational model of Christ's impeccability and temptation
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This dissertation explores the biblical and theological evidence for Christ's impeccability and temptation with the goal of formulating a contemporary model. Three specific problems of affirming both Christ's impeccability and temptation are (1) how Christ could be temptable despite his impeccability, (2) how Christ could experience temptation in a way that makes him empathetic for others, and (3) how Christ could resist temptation in a way that others can follow his example? The proposal of a relational model seeks to avoid the problems and maximize the advances of earlier theology by centering the relevant evidence around the concept of relationality. The proposed relational model incorporates the biblical and theological evidence. Historical theology unveils four models of Christ's impeccability and temptation in the patristic period, and three models specific to the medieval, Reformation, and modern periods. Biblical theology yields several conclusions for testing the historical models and constructing a contemporary model. The basic claim of the proposed relational model is that Christ was impeccable, but that he actually resisted temptation by means of the empowering grace. God provides empowering grace for all believers to resist temptation; thus, believers can copy Jesus' pattern of resisting temptation to sin. A prominent role of the Holy Spirit in the earthly life of Jesus is emphasized, following the recognition of this role in patristic and contemporary theology. Special attention to the relationality of temptation is included.