Together we shall explore the nature of God as the Bible reveals Him, the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and what the New Testament writers declared about the person of Jesus. It is my prayer that this article might clear away confusion among Christians as to the nature of our Lord’s ministry and the very nature of His exalted character. Read on.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Jesus: Sinless or Preserved? Part 1
Was Jesus Christ our Lord sinless in the sense that He could not sin, or simply that while on earth He did not sin? While online debating a brief while ago I encountered a Christian woman who held the belief that Jesus, though sinless like Adam, was also as fully capable as Adam of sinning, but was preserved from sinning by the Holy Spirit who came upon Him from the womb. Says she that if Jesus was incapable of sinning then it demeaned His ministry and sacrifice, for there was no true trial for Him on this earth.
One item of interest that should matter greatly to this topic is the emphasis of God’s abhorrence of sin, and His inability to commit sin as expressed in both the Old and New Testament:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone,” James 1:13.
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that he should repent,” Numbers 23:19.
“You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and You cannot look on wickedness,” Habakkuuk 1:13.
“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all,” 1st John 1:5.
“Also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man that He should relent,” 1st Samuel 15:29.
“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy,” Leviticus 19:2.
Couple this teaching with the doctrine of God’s unchanging character and we come to an inescapable conclusion: God cannot sin, God abhors sin, and God does not change. Observe. As well as these verses, reread the latter portions of Numbers 23:19 and 1st Samuel 15:29.
“With [God] there is no variation or shadow of turning,” James 1:17.
“For I am the Lord, I do not change,” Malachi 3:6.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” Hebrews 13:8.
We learn from Scripture that God is holy. It is also declared in Scripture that only God Himself is good. The rich young ruler asked Jesus what good thing he must do to enter Heaven. Jesus answered that no one is good but God, implying that only God could, by virtue of His native character, enter Heaven by His own esteem, Mark 10:17-22. Paul extrapolates this teaching by telling us that all (that is everyone who ever has lived or will live) have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23. So that places Jesus in one of two camps. Either He is the good God who merits entrance into Heaven by His own natural sinlessness, or He is also in need of a Savior.
The angel Gabriel explained to Mary that the child she was going to carry was also the Holy One who was going to be called the Son of God, Luke 1:35. This child who would grow to become a man was typified by the Old Testament sacrifices of animals without blemish offered on Jewish altars for centuries. God would only accept an animal sacrifice that was “perfect” in the sense that it was without physical defect. This was a representation of Jesus our Lord who would be a sinless man, the second man and last Adam who would rectify what our first parent wrought.