Friday, 7/9/21 – Tough Question: Could Jesus have sinned?

Could Jesus have sinned?

I think this is such a difficult question for us because it is finite and fallen minds that are trying to grasp it. But I’ll give it a try…

At the outset, there are a few things that scripture identifies as certain.

  1. Jesus was genuinely tempted: “ …for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:2). “[Christ] …was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15).

  2. Jesus never actually sinned: “[Christ] committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22). “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf…” (2 Cor. 5:21a). “…tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15). “…in Him there is no sin.” (1 John 3:5b).

But the question is, Could Jesus have sinned? Was Jesus impeccable (unable to sin), or was He peccable (able to sin)?

The temptations Christ experienced were indeed very real, although of necessity a bit unique. For example, have you ever been tempted to turn rocks into bread? To leap off a tall building forcing angels to your rescue? To kneel before Satan to close a deal for all the kingdom’s of the world?

Similarly it is pretty safe to assume Jesus was never tempted to cheat on His Income Tax, envy or steal another person’s possessions (He owned all things anyway), or lust after a woman. In Christ God indeed became a very real man, but not a fallen man. Having no fallen nature which the devil might entice “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13b).

Yet still, He was tempted.

But could He have sinned? Could He have opted to turn a few stones to bread? Perhaps we find a clue in part of last Sunday’s message. If you recall, I mentioned how Christ acknowledged “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does…. By myself I can do nothing” (John 5:19, 30a).

And don’t we all feel that way when we are facing temptations? The flesh wants to say ‘yes’ and by itself it can do nothing to stop itself from yielding; but the spirit says ‘no’ and when we choose it we find victory!

John notes something interesting regarding this. He says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” (1 John 3:9). And “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” (1 John 5:18).

When God is in full control of us, we cannot sin either! And in Christ incarnate, God was in control at all times! What an example for us to strive to emulate!

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

4 thoughts on “Friday, 7/9/21 – Tough Question: Could Jesus have sinned?

  1. So John, if I understand you correctly, you believe that Jesus could not have sucomed to temptation, but if He was not able to sucome, then how could He be truly tempted. If He couldn’t say “yes” to the temptation, then it wasn’t really a temptation, but a suggestion. The Bible says that He was tempted as we are tempted, well we can say “yes”, so if He couldn’t, and was can, the temptations are different, are they not?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Barb. Thanks for your thoughts, and I invite others. Here’s about the best I can do and my finite mind can handle…
      In Gal. 5:16 Paul writes, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” We tend to walk in and out of the Spirit and likely will until heaven. Jesus walked always in vital union with the Spirit and Father, excepting that dreadful moment on the cross (Matt.27:46). A Spirit filled Christian seeing someone drop their wallet would be compelled to chase after the owner and return it. If this Christian is asked, “Why didn’t you keep it?” he may well reply, “Oh, I couldn’t do that!” Well, he could, but He couldn’t. Why? “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set [him] free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). So long as he walks in the Spirit, and until all sin is taken from him. Christ always walked by the Spirit.


      1. And here’s a bit more afterthot…

        On the matter of Christ being tempted “in all points like as we are” (Heb. 4:15), I think it important to distinguish between the virtue being tested and the means used to effect that testing.

        When a man is tempted to vanity he may be enticed to purchase and flaunt an extravagant sports car, a fine yacht, or expensive electronics. When a woman is tempted to vanity she may be excessive in her clothing, beauty treatments, or socializations with some elite clique. Both are tempted on the same point, vanity, burn the bait must necessarily be different. Christ was tempted to vanity also. It was the second of his great temptations while Jesus was in the wilderness.
        “Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’” (Matt. 4:5-6).
        The devil had been taunting Jesus, challenging His identity. He dared Christ to prove His divinity by performing this act of indulgence. “If you are the Son of God,” he said. But Jesus asserted the Word of God over competition of vanity. He said, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”(v.7).

        Like the man and the woman, so too Christ was tempted on the point of vanity, and as in the case of the man and the woman, so too with Christ the bait had to be tailor-made.


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