Impeccability Of Christ
Man Christ Jesus Have Sinned?
By Timothy S. Morton
At first glance to question whether
the Lord Jesus
Christ could have sinned while he was on earth seems near to
Every Christian should know Christ, "knew no sin" (2 Cor.
was "without sin" (Heb. 4:15), and always did things that
(Jn. 8:29). Most Christians are quick to defend their Savior from
any hint of iniquity. However, in their zeal to defend Christ, many
insist not only did He not sin, but it was also impossible for
to sin. The question of Christ's impeccability and His "ability" to sin
will be the subject of this "Taboo Topic."
A "Man" A Man?
When God created Adam in the Garden
of Eden, the
Bible says he created him in His own "image" and "likeness" (Gen.
and as a result one of the characteristics of man is he has the ability
to choose to do right or wrong. In fact, the great test of Adam
would he choose to do when confronted with two choices. Freewill
is a fundamental attribute of man, and without it no "person" truly is
a man. Of course, infants and those with severe mental limitations
exercise freewill, but neither does God hold them accountable
their actions or lack thereof. They have no knowledge of a law to break
or of wrong choices and the Lord takes this lack of knowledge into
(Rom. 4:15, 5:13). Unlike Adam after the fall, they have know
of sin. But as a rule, every true man has a freewill and is
held accountable for his actions (Gen. 2:17). Apart from a freewill any
creature is little more than a robot controlled by another or an animal
motivated by mere instinct.
All true Christians will agree the
Lord Jesus Christ
came to earth as a man. He was conceived in a womb, born
the world, and died upon the earth like all other
of Adam. But also, Christ was more than a man. He was also the God
heaven. This throws the proverbial "monkey wrench" into the
Two different "natures" were manifested in one body, there was only one
"person" but He had two (in many ways) opposing natures
Actually the question we must
consider in this
article is, we know the nature of man is susceptible to sin and
the nature of God is not, thus how do the two coexist
Christ his freewill? For The divine nature to overrule
human nature would in essence void the human nature, thus
Christ's humanity. And if He was no longer truly man, then He could
not redeem man because it was a man (Adam) that first sinned. But
is not stymied by such "problems." He devised a way for His Son to be
fully God and still fully man without weakening any of the
of either nature. Although this is a great mystery (1 Tim. 3:16) and
for us to fully fathom, God himself was present in Mary's womb,
through the Holy Spirit, and she conceived a son (Luke 1:32). A son who
was fully human by Mary and also fully God by the Holy
(Luke 1:35). Christ was the seed of David after the flesh and
of God after the Spirit (Rom 1:3-4).
The Scriptures are clear in stating
not just God come in a body, but truly a man. Hebrews 2:14-16 says,
then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also
likewise took part of the same; that through death he might
him that had the power of death, that is, the devil..."For verily he
not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of
The Last Adam
Probably the most used argument
could not have sinned is, "God cannot sin, and Christ was God
in the flesh; therefore, He can't sin." But this argument is shallow
and doesn't consider all the facts. For instance, it's true God
sin but neither can He die, however, Christ did die.
that mean Christ was less than God? Furthermore, God cannot hunger,
thirst, get tired, feel physical pain, or bleed, but Christ
did all these things yet He is no less God (Phil. 2:6). Christ bridged
the gap between God and man having the full natures of both parties. He
is called the "last Adam" because He came as a man like Adam to
redeem the guilt of Adam's sin.
All of Adam's descendants (all of
Christ) inherited Adam's sin, guilt, and evil nature and were
of redeeming themselves let alone anyone else. Christ, however, though
a descendent of Adam through His MOTHER, did not carry Adam's sin,
and evil nature because God is his FATHER. From the
God set things up so that a person inherits the actions of his father
(Adam). Thus, when Adam sinned, all his "seed" sinned with him,
but since Adam is not Christ's father not His paternal father), the
didn't inherit his guilt. In short, Jesus was born having a human
similar to what Adam's was BEFORE the fall. With a guiltless,
human nature and refusing to make a wrong choice like Adam, Christ
then redeem or undo Adam's guilty actions. "For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:22. [For a
detailed examination of the subject of the "two Adams" and others
of salvation, see our book, "More Than
Since the first Adam was given
choices to make,
so was the second Adam, Christ. As we shall see, our Lord had opposing
choices to make from the very beginning of His ministry.
Before Jesus ever entered His
ministry, He had
to spend some time with the ancient "Serpent." In fact, the
says, the Holy Spirit deliberately "led" him into the
to be tempted (Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1). Christ spent forty days there, in
fasting, subject to the Devils various temptations. But were
temptations real? If one insists it was impossible for Christ to
sin then they couldn't be real. With no ability to choose or even
wrong, the suggestions and "temptations" of Satan were nothing but
Hebrews 4:15 says concerning
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the
of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are,
without sin," proving Christ was truly tempted. The verse is not
or unclear. It clearly states Christ was tempted in all points "LIKE
WE ARE" (present tense) yet He didn't sin! How are you
Christian? Are you tempted to sin? Are you tempted to do things
you know are wrong and you know you are capable of doing? According to
the Holy Spirit Christ was tempted just like you ARE! Unless one is
to circumvent what the verse says by playing word games, Christ could
given in to temptation or at least debated His options.
Hebrews 2:18 even takes this
farther, "For in that
he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to
them that are tempted. " Here it is said Christ "suffered
tempted." How could Christ suffer being tempted if it was
for Him to yield? How could He aid or help others who are tempted when
He has had no experience in dealing with temptation as a man
Those who insist Christ as a man was impeccable cannot deal with these
verses. They must explain them away. Our Lord can aid and comfort us in
temptation because He felt the full force of it himself! Satan
Christ with all he had yet Christ didn't waver. In fact, Christ's
were stronger than any we encounter because He never gave in. We
do yield and as soon as we do the temptation is gone.
From another perspective, consider
and think before you answer. Do you believe Christ was capable
turning stones into bread? Did he have the power to do it? Do
believe the angels would have caught Him if He jumped from the temple?
Furthermore, do you believe Christ could have called twelve legions
of angels to rescue Him from going to the cross. Christ said He
call the angels down ("Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my
and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But
how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
Matt 26:53-54), but the cross would have been avoided if He did,
God's redemption plan! The simple fact is if Christ was capable of
these things (and we believe he was) then He was capable of sinning.
is what true temptation is, being tempted to do something
and something one is capable of doing. Being "tempted" to do
that is impossible for you is a mockery.
Here is more to chew on, Christian.
Has Satan ever
tempted you to turn stones into bread? Has he ever suggested you
off the temple or call down twelve legions of angels to protect
Maybe the reason you haven't been tempted to do these things is because
knows you can't do them! Though Satan is evil, he is not stupid,
and he doesn't waste time tempting people to do things impossible for
knew Christ could do these things and used all his persuasive
to try to get Christ to give in. Satan's temptations did not stop in
wilderness either. Jesus was tempted all during His ministry, usually
men (Matt. 27:42).
How could Jesus really be a man
any possibility of making a wrong choice or giving in to temptation?
could he know what man suffers and endures unless he becomes
a man and likewise suffers? There would be little point for God to come
to earth appearing as a man but not actually being a man (like angels
in human bodies but are still only angels). Putting on the appearance
or flesh of something does not make one what he appears to be.
truly be a man one must carry all of man's attributes. He must have a freewill
and be subject to the consequences of his decisions. He must be
to choose right or wrong, and be subject to the human needs and
all men share. To claim Christ was some sort of virtual man and not
to humanity's failings and weaknesses is to deny His humanity.
unlike other men, Christ had no taint of sin in his human
but neither did Adam before the fall. Christ came to earth as the "last
Adam" and is no less man than the first Adam, and because of
He can truly be the example for all men.
There is one
event in Christ's
life where one can see both of His natures dealing with "God's
The account of His agony in the garden of Gethsemane in Matthew
details His torment in contemplating the coming cross. From thinking
His soon crucifixion, the Lord became "exceeding sorrowful, even
death." He then fell on His face and His human nature pleading with
His Father said, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me,"
but then He said, "Not as I will, but as thou wilt." This
proves that the man Christ Jesus had a "will" that was distinct
His Father's will. Notice how Christ said "Not as I will,
as thou wilt"! His "will" was to somehow avoid the cross. He
hoping there was a possible way for His Father to get His
accomplished (redemption) and Christ to also get His (avoid
the cross), but Christ resigned Himself to His Father's will
insisting on His own. In Luke 22:44 the torment in Christ's mind caused
Him to sweat "as it were great drops of blood...," but if He
not choose His own will as some claim, why was He in such agony and
such great drops? If He was God merely come in a human body, there
be no other "will" than God's.
About The "Unthinkable"
When one examines a question such
as the impeccability
of Christ, naturally a hypothetical question arises asking what
would happen if the hypothetical occurred. These, questions, however cannot
be answered with much if any certainty. Hypothetical questions by
very nature have unprovable answers. If Christ merely debated
His mind and considered one of Satan's temptations and thus sin, one
is for certain, history would be much different. As to what
have occurred internally in Christ and afterwards physically is pure
speculation and not worthy of discussion. One certainty, though, is
even if Christ's human nature choose wrong, this would in no way
God's integrity or Christ's divine nature. No more than when a
sins (by following the temptation of the Devil through his old
it affects the integrity of the "new man" in him which is
Christ. God would still be the eternal, immutable, holy God.
God through His all
knows about every action or event that ever occured and ever will
thus nothing takes him by surprise. But foreknowledge doesn't cause
things to happen. It is not predestination. God knew His Son
sin, but His knowledge of this doesn't change the fact that Christ
have and the temptations were real. God also knows what every
who ever lived will do in any given situation, but, again, this
doesn't make "life" any less real or mean all men are mere puppets on a
stage. People for the most part make their own decisions and
knowledge of them doesn't affect the decisions themselves either way.
It should be a comfort to
our Lord "is not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling
of our infirmities," but is a Priest and Savior who knows what it
to live on earth as a man. He knows what it means to be hungry
thirsty, He knows how it feels to be rejected and forsaken,
He understands the toils and heartaches that life can bring,
He knows what it means to be tempted to sin. He was tempted in all
(three) points like as we are yet without sin! He refused to
to the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of
and left this world with full victory in his hands purchased
His blood. Glory!
Instead of not being able to give
in to temptation, Christ
withstood it and overcame it! He showed us as Christians believers don't
have to sin! He is our example and we are to follow Him. But how
we follow someone who is not susceptible to the temptations and trials
we are susceptible to? Someone who doesn't know how strong temptation
self will can be? We could hardly follow him at all.