Could Jesus Have Sinned?

Don Cole
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Jesus did not sin. The unanswered question, then, is could He have sinned?

Could Jesus Have Sinned?

The answer is an emphatic no! He was impeccable, meaning that He was not able to sin. True, Hebrews 4:15 says He was “tempted in every way, just as we are,” but in the Greek text, the words that follow, “yet he did not sin,” lack a verb and should be translated, “apart from sin.” Able not to sin, as some say, was not the case; He was not able to sin.

For those who insist that the words, “in every way,” mean exactly that, and no less, consider 1 Corinthians 15:27: “Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself.” Everything or every way does not always mean, “with no exception whatsoever.”

“The value of Christ’s death on our behalf depends on who He was.”

The temptations that trouble us sinners most persistently depend on our sinful nature. Jesus did not have a sinful nature. He was incapable of any of the acts (or impulses) of the sinful nature listed in Galatians 5:19–21. Hebrews 6:18 says, “It is impossible for God to lie.” Transfer that affirmation to Jesus, and we can conclude that it was impossible for Him to sin. That was the uniform testimony of three preeminent apostles—Peter, Paul, and John: “[Jesus] committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22); “him who had no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21); and “in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).

How Jesus Lived Matters

The value of Christ’s death on our behalf depends on who He was. True, He embraced perfect humanity; He became a human being. He was like us, except that He did not have a sinful nature. He became human, but He did not cease to be the Son of God. As a perfect human being—if that were all He was—He could not have died vicariously for the sins of the world. He was the Lamb of God, to be sure—“without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19)—but He was more than that. He was the Son of God, sinless and impeccable in all His parts.

For Further Reading:

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