The Impeccability of Christ
This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in a periodical called the Bible Student's Notebook Issue # 5 pages 39-42, I would highly recommend the entire article to be read, it can be ordered from Pilkington & Sons Bookstore 111 Gladstone, VA (1-888-316-8608).
Article by Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Jesus Christ was completely without sin, and the pure Son of God. This fact is given by Christ, Peter, John, and Paul.
1 John 3:5
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
1 Peter 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1 Peter 2:22
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
2 Cor. 5:21
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.
During Jesus' earthly life, although He regularly participated in Israel's religious exertions, it is never once indicated that He tendered any sacrifice whatsoever. The reason was that He was sinless.
Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
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.
The theme of this truth runs much more recondite than the veracity that Jesus Christ did not sin. We must also look at whether the Lord Jesus Christ could have sinned. If we are writing on this topic it should be evident that Christianity has two contrary views to this question. I unshakeably believe that the Scriptures are clear in retorting this question in the negative: No, He could not have sinned! Theology has a name for this doctrine of Christ's inability to sin. It is called impeccability. The balance of this article will look at explanations for Christ's impeccability.
Reason 1- Jesus is God
Understanding this first idea is basic to the whole deliberation of Christ's impeccability. The simple factualness is that Jesus Christ is God, and God cannot sin. Jesus is uniquely the "God-man." Theology calls this the "hypostatic union of Christ."
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Hypostatic is from the word "hypostasis" which is defined as "the method of being by which any substantial existence is given an independent and distinct identity" (New Standard Dictionary). The latter word is used in Hebrews 1:3 of Jesus Christ and is translated "His Person." This doctrine has to do with the unparalleled nature of the Person of Jesus Christ. As a result of the embodiment, He possessed two natures, one nature human and the other Divine (thus, the word Theanthropic = [theos] God, [anthropos] man; having a nature both divine and human). Although He was only one person His two natures remained distinct and unchanged.
The following was taken from the eight volume work, Systematic Theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer. I only quote a small portion of his work on this subject and highly suggest that you read his comments in their entirety.
"Thus it follows that a union of hypostatic character is a union of two natures that are within themselves independent and distinct. The expression hypostatic union is distinctly theological and is applicable only to Christ in whom, as in no other, two distinct and dissimilar natures are united... Therefore, it is to be recognized that the theanthropic Person is very God and very man, and that His humanity, perfect and complete, is as enduring as is His Deity... The reality in which undiminished Deity and unfallen humanity united in one theanthropic Person has no parallel in the universe" (see Vol.1 Page 382-396).
"Since this bond of union which unites Christ's two natures - for He is one Person - is so complete, the humanity of Christ COULD not sin. When the absolute Deity of Christ is recognized, there is no logic which is more inexorable than this... The contention that Christ COULD, but WOULD NOT, sin is far removed from the contention that Christ COULD NOT sin. The former either denies His Deity or else dishonours God with the calumnious averment that God is Himself capable of sinning" (Vol.5 Page 78).
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Reason 2 - Jesus Christ is Immutable
Jesus Christ, being very God, is immutable in all of His divine attributes. If He could sin on earth, He would be able to sin in heaven now.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Chafer remarks on this subject: "Since every position held by the Christian is gained only by the fact that he is in the resurrected Christ, it would be a serious jeopardy to those positions if it were true that the last Adam might fall as the first Adam fell. If Christ could have sinned on earth, He could sin in heaven. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If He can sin now, there is no final assurance that He will not sin and thus bring every human hope based on redemption into ruin. Such conclusions are an insult against God and cannot be tolerated by those who bow in adoration before the Christ of God." (Vol.5 page 51).
Reason 3 - Jesus Christ is Holy
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
This is not said of anyone else at their birth, nor of Adam at creation.
Reason 4 - The Lord Jesus Christ is Adam's Contrast not Comparison
Some would contend that the first Adam was without sin but was capable of the fall, therefore, the last Adam, also without sin could have fallen. But Adam and Christ are not comparable, they are different. Jesus had two natures, Adam only one. Christ was not just sinless, He was inherently Holy! Adam was not inherently holy, he was only in a created state of innocence.
Note how Adam and Christ are contrasted by the Scriptures:
1 Corinthians 15:45
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Once again we quote from Chafer: "The last Adam (Jesus Christ) entered into this human existence by a birth; yet is protected from the virus of inherited sin by a special divine intervention... It has too often been assumed that Christ received His Deity from the divine Parent and His humanity from the human parent; but on the divine side He was never thus generated or in any sense the product of another. He was Himself Deity, and that which He had always been was joined in everlasting identification with His humanity... He who creates all things causes a virgin to conceive and thus to bear a Son. This creative act is to the end that the humanity of Christ may be secured. It follows, therefore, that whatever part of this unique child is wrought by the Holy Spirit will be as sinless as the Creator who produced Him... The fallen nature of the mother is divinely precluded. This is the meaning of the assurance that the son she would bear would be holy (Luke 1:35)."
"Another and equally important difference between the unfallen humanity of Adam and that of Christ is that Adam stood alone with no relation to any other, while the humanity of Christ was and is indissolubly joined to Deity. It is true that unsupported humanity, such as belonging to Adam might sin; contrariwise in the case of the theanthropic Person, human traits which involved no moral issues - such as weariness, hunger, thirst - could be experienced, but it is equally true that whatever the humanity of Christ did His Deity also did. Since God cannot be compromised with evil, the normal capacity of unfallen humanity to sin, as that humanity was represented in Christ, could never be exercised to the slightest degree. An unfallen human nature which is welded to God cannot sin since God cannot sin. Some theologians have been satisfied with the weaker contention that Christ, because of His wisdom and divine strength, would not sin, and no more assurance of Christ's impeccability is claimed by them. This position ignores the truth that God cannot sin. To say that God cannot sin does not deprive Him of any divine attribute or competency. Sin is that accursed thing which has ruined God's creation, but it cannot ruin God. Those who assert that Christ could have sinned must aver that either Christ is not God or that God may Himself be ruined by sin" (Vol.5 Pages 49-53).
Reason 5 - Jesus Christ could only do the will of the Father that sent Him
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Reason 6 - Jesus is Omnipotent
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
It was impossible for our Lord and Saviour to be brought under the deceitful power of sin. Actually the opposite is true, He came and brought sin under His power!
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Reason 7 - Jesus Christ is Omniscient
And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him
One of the problems involved with sin is that man does not grasp the terrible consequences of sin (i.e., he is deceived; a fool; unwise - 1 Samuel 26:21; Psalm 14:1-4; 53:1-4; 94:8; Proverbs 9:6; 14:16; 18:2; Hosea 4:6; Romans 3:11; Ephesians 4:22; etc.).
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Reason 8 - The blood that flowed in the veins of Jesus was the blood of God the Father
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own
Reason 9 - Jesus Christ is separate from sinners
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and
made higher than the heavens;
Reason 10 - The Lord Jesus Christ was Not convinced of Sin
Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Reason 11 - The Lord Jesus Christ Could Only do what He saw the Father do.
Jesus is the express image of His (God the Father's) person.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Reason 12 - Satan had nothing in the Lord Jesus Christ
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in
We need to consider the temptation of Jesus Christ with this point. Many will state that if Christ
could not have sinned then His temptation was a hoax. However, a temptation can be presented
to test if you will be successful or to prove that you will. Hebrews 4:14-16 shows us that Jesus
was tempted in all points unto Israel. God may be tested. Twenty-seven incidents are recorded
in which it is said that God has been or might be tested. However, these are to be understood in
the light that God cannot ever succumb to evil, nor does He tempt any man (James 1:13-15). We
can rest assured that the Lord Jesus Christ never ceases to be what He ever was! (Other articles of intrest The Godhead, The Doctrine of Kenosis)
Return to Home Page