I know and firmly believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is both God and man. My question is, “Could He have sinned? ”
This is a historic question that many have asked down through the years. There are several passages in the Bible that seem to imply that Jesus could have sinned. Yet, other passages seem to imply that He could not have sinned. So here we go.
Jesus Was Tempted
The book of Hebrews makes the most significant comment with,
For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (NASB) Heb 2:18
Jesus was tempted. That is what scripture clearly says. Some people have wanted to “adjust” the meaning of the passage. But the Greek word, for “tempted” has the idea of being tempted or seduced to sin. He was tempted to the ultimate limit in His suffering before and on the cross. This is the message of Hebrews 5:7.
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. (NASB) Hebrews 5:7
Jesus suffered before He was nailed to the cross and while He hung on the cross before dying. Matthew 26:36-46 tells us that Jesus had even asked the Father if He could avoid going to the cross. He was suffering! Hebrews says Jesus was loudly crying, praying and pleading, but He still submitted to the will of God the Father. Jesus suffered. He was fully tested or tempted, yet he did not sin.
. . . but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (NASB) Hebrews 4:15
That sounds like Jesus could have chosen to sin.
God Cannot Sin
Then we find scripture which tells us that God cannot lie. He keeps His promises. His “yes” is “yes” and His “no” is “no.” He is not like us. He does not lie.
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (NASB) Numbers 23:19
. . . it is impossible for God to lie (NASB) Heb. 6:18
God cannot lie because He is holy. There is no shadow of evil in Him. There is no darkness.
. . . coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. (NASB) James 1:17
. . . because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (NASB) 1 Peter 1:16
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (NASB) 1 John 1:5
And God cannot be tempted either.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil . . . (NASB) James 1:13
He cannot be tempted because He is infinitely holy. God is an infinite being. Everything about Him is infinite. He is “in the extreme” – omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, holiness for example. How can a God who is infinitely holy respond to evil? It is not possible. We are talking about His character.
Humanity and Deity
Now we need to ask, “How could Jesus be tempted if God cannot be tempted to sin?” The answer is that Jesus, the man, was tempted but Jesus in His divine nature could not be tempted. Jesus’ humanity was greatly tested, but He could not sin, because He was divine. His divinity could not yield to sin. Jesus was both man and God. Jesus struggled! Imagine being tempted to sin and never giving in.
God has given us the key to victory over sin in our life. It is called being filled with His Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:17-18). One of the benefits of being filled is walking in the Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, we have victory over sin as we confess our sins, spend time in His Word, pray, and submit to God.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (NASB) Galatians 5:16-21
Notice that we will not be carrying the desire of the flesh as we walk in the Spirit. The desires of the flesh are listed – sins. Do you desire victory over sin? Here is the key!
Dwight L. Moody illustrated this truth to his audience one day. “Tell me, he said, “How can I get the air out this glass?” One man answered, “Suck it out with a pump.” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After many suggestions, Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass with water. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.” He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not by “sucking out a sin here and there,” but rather by being filled with the Spirit.
Mrs. Ruby Miller