Is Jesus sinless in that he cannot sin or sinless in that he does not sin?

The fancy theological lingo: impeccability vs. peccability.

Both sides of this doctrine agree, as supported by Scripture, that Jesus did not sin. Therefore, the question is whether Jesus could have sinned. Those who hold to impeccability believe that Jesus could not have sinned. Those who hold to peccability believe that Jesus could have sinned, but did not.

Implicit here is the question of his temptability. If he is strictly impeccable, how meaningful are his temptations?

Scripture teaches both the temptation and the sinlessness of Jesus Christ. His ministry began with and ended with temptation: in the wilderness and in the Garden of Gethsemane. These stories become meaningless if the temptation was not real. The reality of Jesus’ temptations is highlighted by the story of Gethsemane. His life-and-death struggle in the wilderness was no romantic getaway – Satan assaulted Jesus for 40 days.

Therefore, we have confirmation that Jesus did experience real temptation, but to what degree? Perhaps, because He is God, He did not experience temptation to the degree that we do, because He did not sin. Yet Leon Morris argues, “The person who resists knows the full force of temptation. Sinlessness points to a more intense rather than less intense temptation.” Jesus has experienced the full extent of temptation’s power because He is the only one who has not yielded. The temptations of Jesus were requisites for his incarnation (his humanity), for his humiliation (his suffering), and for his exaltation (his supremacy).

“The man who yields to a particular temptation has not felt its full power. He has given in while the temptation has yet something in reserve. Only the man who does not yield to a temptation who, as regards that particular temptation, is sinless, knows the full extent of that temptation.”

Jesus knew the full extent. He sweat blood.

(to be continued. good night! :))


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