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Could Jesus Christ Have Sinned?

A great point of debate throughout the past two millennia since Jesus Christ came in the flesh is the question of whether or not He could have sinned. It is understandable that those who do not believe in His Divinity would debate that point, supporting the argument that He could. If He is not God, then why would it not be possible for Him to sin? Even angels sin, as Jude and Peter record:

“And those angels not having kept their first place, but having deserted their dwelling-place, He has kept in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of a great Day” (Jude 1:6 MKJV).

“For if God did not spare sinning angels, but thrust them down into Tartarus, and delivered them into chains of darkness, being reserved to judgment” (2 Peter 2:4 MKJV).

Jesus was never under sin’s power, so the temptation did not affect Him.

One of the arguments of those who believe Jesus could have sinned, besides the premise that He was not God, is that there would have been no point in being tempted, if it were not possible for Him to sin. If it were not possible, the whole exercise of His being tempted, they say, was a farce or sham. They refer to this Scripture:

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 MKJV).

This argument is unreasonable and can be countered by many examples we experience every day in the natural realm. If I am enveloped in water for hours on end, without artificial means to counter my circumstances, I will drown. Place a fish in the same circumstances, and it thrives. It is a matter of difference in natures.

On the point of temptation, one may try to tempt me with a cigarette and it would not faze me, while someone who has been under its power not long ago may struggle, if not succumb though wishing not to do so. Jesus Christ, the Scriptures testify, was without sin. He was never under sin’s power, so the temptation did not affect Him, as a cigarette would an addicted or recently addicted smoker. A pig would be tempted to roll in a mud hole made available to it, while a sheep would steer clear of it. Dogs will go swimming while cats will not, though the water is presented to each of them.

Though Jesus Christ was tempted, He could not sin.

Because litmus paper is used to test does not imply that the substance tested will bring certain results. So it is with Jesus Christ being tempted with sin. All men are sinners; though Jesus was made in the likeness of men and found in fashion as a man (Philippians 2:5-8), Jesus was no mere man. Though Jesus Christ was tempted, He could not sin. His nature was such that the temptation held no attraction. It was not in Jesus Christ to sin any more than it is in a cat to go swimming or a sheep to go wallowing in the mud. He is the Holy One of God. Even the devils knew it:

“Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Ah! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:33-34 EMTV)

He is the Sinless One:

“In hope of eternal life which God, Who cannot lie, promised before time itself” (Titus 1:2 EMTV).

And: “No one who has been born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9 EMTV).

God and those born of God cannot lie; they cannot sin.

He demonstrated His Divine Nature as very different from human nature.

Not only by raising Himself from the dead did Jesus prove He was God in the flesh. He also proved He was God by not sinning, though being tempted as men, who succumb, are tempted. He demonstrated His Divine Nature as very different from human nature. He passed the litmus test as our only bona fide Savior, God Almighty. James declares:

“Let no one being tempted say, I am tempted from God. For God is not tempted by evils, and He tempts no one. But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15 MKJV).

The conclusion that one is potentially vulnerable to a temptation stems from the assumption that desire is always aroused in the one tempted. This is a false assumption. When using the word “temptation,” the Scriptures do not mean to convey the idea that one is persuaded to do evil but only that evil is presented to one. A man or woman can and will be presented with the opportunity to eat that which they ought not or to steal or lie, and can be enticed or persuaded to succumb because of their sinful natures. Jesus Christ did not succumb. He said why:

“I shall no longer speak many things with you, for the ruler of this world comes, and he has nothing in Me” (John 14:30 MKJV).

All would be lost if He were the only potential Savior and failed.

A person who says that Jesus could have sinned is openly declaring that he or she contemns the Lord Jesus Christ, His nature, and His power of God to forgive and to overcome sin. Consider where we would be if Jesus Christ had sinned. We would be without the only hope the Scriptures teach we have. All would be lost if He were the only potential Savior and failed.

How could we possibly be fully justified to put our complete trust in Him if it was possible for Him to let us down? Of logical, reasonable necessity, there would always be that lingering doubt within the breast of every man. There would be no possibility of absolute, immutable hope. What a sorry mess that would be! But I am thankful that we can be absolutely sure.

“Before Abraham was, I AM,” said Jesus. “Destroy this temple and I will raise it up,” He declared to His detractors with absolute conviction and authority. He said what He meant and meant what He said. How could He be so sure if there was the slightest possibility of failure?

Jesus was not practicing the power of positive thinking, as false teachers like Robert Schuller and son declare, as though He could fail if not practicing a proper mental attitude to the proper degree, every second of time. God forbid that we place our trust in such as have the frailty and “dispotential” of fallen man, or even that of unfallen man, as Adam, who fell when temptation came. Jesus Christ, unlike the first Adam and his progeny, was and is God Almighty, Who alone determines what He will, and does as it pleases Him. Of Him it is declared:

“And this is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 MKJV).

True assurance can only exist with that which is absolutely failure-proof.

Jesus Christ was the Manifestation, the Representation, the Incarnate Substance of the Law of God. Of that Law the Scriptures declare:

“If He called those gods with whom the Word of God was, and the Scripture cannot be broken, do you say of Him Whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, You blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:35-36 MKJV)

“The law of the LORD is perfect; it gives new strength. The commands of the LORD are trustworthy, giving wisdom to those who lack it” (Psalms 19:7 GNB).

Jesus Christ is the Law:

“For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4 MKJV).

How shall the Law of God fail or implode on itself? It cannot. The Law of the Lord is perfect, without weakness or vulnerability. It is written:

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings…” (Revelation 17:14).

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” (Psalms 110:1 KJV).

These statements express perfect assurance. True assurance can only exist with that which is absolutely failure-proof.

That Jesus could have sinned is certainly the opinion of those who do not believe, or have not believed, on Him, not knowing Him for Who He is:

“For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3 MKJV).

John says:

“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).

If Jesus was not God, He could have sinned, for we believe, and the Scriptures testify, that only God is without sin. If Jesus could have, He would have sinned, being He had a sinning (sinful) nature, and therefore would not have even bothered to try to save us. He would not have cared – that is what a sinning nature is all about.

True believers believe in God our Savior, and not in a hero.

There are those who acknowledge Him as our Savior, yet say He could have sinned, but what kind of savior are they talking about? Do they know Him as He is? It seems to me they suppose Him to be a hero, a man or creature however little less than God, who is capable of magnificent accomplishment by his own merits.

Such is not the Savior true believers have, or in which they believe. We believe in God our Savior, and not in a hero. Those who worship heroes do so to maintain a hope or notion, if even of the faintest form, that they are themselves somehow capable of such accomplishment, and need only look to an excellent role model, if they indeed deem a role model necessary at all. This is a denial of the need for God’s grace; it is a denial of the Divinity of Jesus Christ; and it is a denial of the fact that Jesus Christ could not have sinned. These denials are express declarations of self-righteousness. They are manifest repudiation of the Maker as necessary Savior.

Heroes are made to be emulated. If they can be emulated or duplicated, then they are not entirely saviors, for those patterning themselves after a hero manifestly declare that they can save themselves. That is why they choose to worship heroes. Hero worshipers tacitly declare that they are their own saviors, thus denying Jesus Christ as He truly is. They would, and even do, worship Jesus Christ as a hero so that they might escape the sinner’s acknowledgment and confession that He alone is Lord and Savior without any help from us, but in spite of our utter corruption and helplessness.

Another Scripture misinterpreted and misunderstood to “prove” that Jesus Christ was capable of sinning is this:

“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV).

But proper understanding of this verse is found more easily in other versions, without contradicting the other:

“Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 CEV).

And:

“How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him Who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG).

He did not sin; He sacrificed Himself as the antidote for sin.

Indeed, Jesus was the Lamb that, contrary to His own will and liking, waded into the mud hole to redeem those enveloped and overcome by mud with no hope of escape. He was the Cat that, against His own will, dove into the water, unto drowning, to save those that were drowned. Before the Great Sacrifice of the history of mankind, He said, speaking of His imminent death on the cross by the will of His own people, whom He came to save by His death:

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42 MKJV).

And what was the Father’s will? Isaiah says:

“Yet, it was the LORD’S will to crush Him with suffering. When the LORD has made His life a sacrifice for our wrongdoings, He will see His descendants for many days. The will of the LORD will succeed through Him” (Isaiah 53:10 GW).

Of Him, Paul writes:

“For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 MKJV).

He did not sin, and He was not capable of it. What He did do, however, was sacrifice Himself as the antidote for sin. In His love for man, He paid the price we owed, which we ourselves could never pay. That is how He was “made to be sin.”

For the undeniable, Scriptural proof of Who Jesus Christ really is, read Jesus Christ, Almighty God.

Victor Hafichuk

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