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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus

Don Stewart :: What Are the Usual Objections Brought Up against the Idea That Jesus Could Not Have Sinned?

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What Are the Usual Objections Brought Up against the Idea That Jesus Could Not Have Sinned? (His Impeccability)

What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus – Question 25

There continues to be discussions among Bible-believers as to whether or not Jesus Christ had the ability to sin while He was here upon the earth. Many people believe that He could not have sinned. This is known as the “impeccability of Christ.”

Of course, if Jesus could not have sinned, then one may ask the question if the temptations that He experienced were genuine. Why test someone who could not fail? What would be the point of it all?

The Common Objections against Jesus’ Impeccability

This leads us to the common objections which are brought up against the idea of whether or not Jesus Christ could sin. The main ones can be simply stated as follows.

1. Jesus Must Not Have Had the Power of Choice if He Could Not Have Sinned

If it was not possible for God the Son, Jesus Christ, to sin, then it is claimed that He must not have had the power of choice. If He did not have the power of choice, then He was not a real or genuine human being. To be human, one must be able to make legitimate choices. Indeed, we have to make choices between good and bad, right and wrong. Since Jesus was completely human this means that theoretically He could have chosen to sin. While Bible-believers admit that He did not sin, this does not mean that He could not have sinned.

2. The Temptation Was a Farce if He Could Not Fail

Another common objection concerns the purpose of the temptations which Jesus Christ experienced. If God the Son could not sin while He was here upon the earth, then why was He tempted at all? Wouldn’t the temptation be a farce? In what sense can a being be tempted who was not capable of sinning? The whole exercise would be pointless. Some go as far to say that it would be deceptive. Since the Lord does not deceive us we should assume that the temptations were legitimate.

3. He Cannot Identity with Humanity if He Could Not Sin

If Jesus Christ could not possibly sin, then how could He identify with humanity? How could He sympathize with our temptations? Seemingly, He could not. Yet we are told that He can indeed identify with us. The writer to the Hebrews emphasized this when he wrote the following:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15 HCSB)

The fact that He can sympathize with our weaknesses indicates that His temptations were genuine. While He did not sin, He certainly could have sinned.

This sums up the usual objections to the position that Christ could not sin. While they convince many people, others are unconvinced.

Summary – Question 25
What Are the Usual Objections Brought Up against the Idea That Jesus Could Not Have Sinned? (His Impeccability)

There are many people who hold to the doctrine of the impeccability of Jesus Christ. The idea behind this is that He was not able to sin while He was here upon the earth. While His temptations were genuine, there was no possible way in which He could have failed.

As can be imagined not everyone agrees with this position. One argument concerns Jesus’ humanity. If He was genuinely human then He needed to have the ability to make genuine choices. This means the choice to sin. Though He did not sin, it is argued that He could have chosen to sin.

There is also the question as to the purpose of the temptations Jesus received. It is argued that unless there was some possibility of Jesus choosing to sin the temptations were not really genuine. Indeed, why tempt someone with something which they were not able to do? Logically, it follows that He must have at least had the possibility of sinning.

The key verse which is usually brought up is Hebrews 4:15. This verse says that Jesus was tempted or tested in all ways such as we are yet He did not sin. To many, this indicates that He could have sinned.

These are the usual arguments which are brought up against the idea of Christ’s inability to sin or His impeccability.

Was It Impossible for Jesus to Sin? ← Prior Section
What Common Ground Do Believers Have with Respect to Christ's Ability to Sin? Next Section →
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