THE IMPECCABILITY OF JESUS CHRIST
By Wayne Camp
TEXT: John 14:30 The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
I preached a series in late 1994 and early 1995 on the subject of Knowing Christ. I was recently updating those sermons by bringing them into the format of my current word processor and also getting ready to format them for the Internet. During that process, I discovered one sermon that I had never completed and had not preached. Then, I realized that I had not preached a sermon on Knowing Christ As The Impeccable One. Although I found I had touched on the matter in another message, I felt it needful to prepare and preach a message on that specific aspect of the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I have read where Campbellites believe Christ just made the right choices and did not, therefore sin. The particular article by the Campbellite was an attempt to disprove the doctrine of Total Hereditary Depravity. The man seemed to be saying that Christ was no different in nature than we are. He just exercised his alleged power of choice and chose not to sin where every other man on earth has chosen to sin. If that were true, surely, at least one other would have made the same good choice.
I believe in the human nature of Christ, but that human nature was never separate from the Divine nature, but was hypostatically united to the Divine nature and person of the eternal word which was God and could not, therefore sin, for he who cannot lie cannot sin.
In this message I want us to consider the reasons why Christ could not sin, why he was impeccable. I affirm that Christ did not sin; but, I also insist he could not sin. Now let us consider the reasons why he could not sin.
CHRIST IS IMPECCABLE BECAUSE OF THE HYPOSTATIC UNION OF THE HUMAN NATURE WITH THE DIVINE NATURE IN THE ONE PERSON
The person and nature of God the Eternal word assumed a human nature. There were not two persons in the man Christ Jesus. He was a Divine person with two natures; the nature of deity and the nature of humanity. This seems clear from his own declaration. Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. The purpose of the incarnation of Christ was his identification with our human nature and that, as our great high priest, he would have a sacrifice to offer. A body was prepared for him in the womb of the virgin.
It is important to remember that the human nature did not take on the Divine nature. Contrariwise, it was the Divine nature that assumed a human nature. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. There is a vast difference in the two. The Eternal word who was in the beginning with God assumed a human nature in the womb of Mary. But, he did not divest himself of his Divine nature and the deity was never separated from the humanity.
It must be remembered that the likeness of sinful flesh was not made in the likeness of Gods own Son, rather, Gods own Son was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. It was Gods own Son, the eternal Word who was co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent with God who assumed the likeness of sinful flesh. The human nature did not have the power to assume the Divine nature.
Let us never forget that it was not the seed of David who was made the Son of God, rather, it was the eternal Son of God who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. Romans 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. Again, the reverse would be impossible. There is no way the seed of David could be made the Son of God; but, the Son of God could, "according to the flesh," be made of the seed of David.
Note also that it was God who willingly became man, rather than man who became God. Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Let it also be remembered that it was God who was manifest in the flesh, rather than a man manifest in the Spirit of deity. 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. This mystery only retains its greatness when we keep it in the Biblical order.
We must remember that the only reason that the Son ever took on himself flesh and blood was because his elect were partakers of flesh and blood. Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. In order for him to become our near kinsman and be our kinsman-Redeemer he must identify as closely as possible with us. This he did by taking on himself the fulness of human nature signified here by the expression "flesh and blood" of which he, the eternal Word, took part.
It must also be remembered that in him dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Every Divine perfection was his. How could he have sinned when in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily?
It should also be remembered that once this human nature of Jesus was assumed in the womb of the virgin, it was never separated from the Divine nature of the Eternal Word and this constant union assured that the man Christ Jesus would not and could not sin.
JESUS COULD NOT SIN, HE WAS IMPECCABLE BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING IN HIS SINLESS NATURE THAT WOULD ANSWER FAVORABLY TO SIN
There was nothing in his nature to which Satan could appeal and cause him to be tempted with and to sin. John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. If Satan would be able to tempt him with sin there must be something in his nature to appeal to. There was nothing. If one is tempted with sin it is because of his sinful lusts. James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Jesus never lusted after sin for he had no sinful lusts to which Satan could appeal. Thus Jesus said that Satan "hath nothing in me."
Though he received his body through the lineage of Adam, he did not receive his nature from Adam because he was the seed of the woman, not the seed of Adam, the man. The theme of the Gospel according to Luke is the humanity of Christ. He sets him forth as the Son of man. Therefore, in keeping with the theme of the book, he traced the lineage of Christ back to Adam. Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. But, this connection with Adam was through Mary, not through some earthly man who was his father. Jesus was the seed of the woman, not the seed of Joseph or some other earthly father. Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. This delivered him from any taint of sin in his human nature.
He was pronounced holy in conception and in life because he was without an earthly father. Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. It was a virgin who conceived by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit and there was no trace of the sin nature in him. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. It was in this impeccable state that his human nature was separate from our nature. Hebrews 7:25-26 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. One who is absolutely and perfectly holy has in him no place for sin to get a foothold. One who is undefiled and separate from sinners, as was our great High Priest, could never sin or even entertain thoughts of committing sin.
HE COULD NOT SIN BECAUSE OF DIVINE FOREORDINATION AND INSPIRED PROCLAMATION
What God has foreordained must come to pass. What he has spoken, he brings to pass. That is logical and consistent with his Godhood. Jesus could not sin because he was foreordained to be the Lamb who is without spot and blemish. 1 Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
If he would be our passover lamb he must be without spot or blemish and could never have been tempted to sin. 1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
He is Gods Lamb and God would never offer a lamb up that was not impeccable in his purity. John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. I say to you, "Behold the Lamb of God who is perfect in his perfection, and infinitely holy in his holiness, and impeccable in his sinlessness."
He Gods righteous servant who could not sin. Isaiah 53:10-12 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. How could he bear our sin if there was the possibility he could sin? How could he be the means of our justification if he might be unjust himself?
He was sanctified by the Father and sent into the world and could not, therefore, sin. John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
The possibility of sin in Christ would have rendered questionable his statement that he would give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. If he might sin, his work as a ransom was in peril.
The declaration that he must be made sin who knew no sin clearly infers his impeccability. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The declaration of his immutability is also a declaration of his impeccability. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. He was pronounced holy in his mothers womb. He was pronounced holy when he was born. He is declared to be immutable as to his nature. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. The suggestion that he could possibly have sinned implies a mutability in his nature which is a contradiction of Heb. 13:8.
JESUS COULD NOT SIN BECAUSE WHEN HIS HUMAN NATURE WAS ASSUMED AND UNITED WITH HIS GOD-NATURE, HIS HUMAN NATURE WAS IMBUED AND PERMEATED WITH THE FULL MEASURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHICH MADE THAT HUMAN NATURE IMPECCABLE
He love righteousness and hated wickedness and God anointed his human nature more than any other had ever or will ever be anointed. Psalm 45:7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
God gave the Spirit to him without measure. John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. This fulness of the Spirit received by Christ assured his impeccability.
THE IMPECCABLE NATURE OF CHRIST IS INFERRED IN A NUMBER OF OTHER SCRIPTURES
Surely God would not have chosen us in him before the foundation of the world if in him there would be the possibility of sin. Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
Surely God would not have made us accepted in him if in him there would be the possibility of yielding to sin. Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Assuredly God would not have him be the lamb slain from the foundation of the world if in that lamb there would be the possibility of sin. Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
One wonders why the virgin birth of Christ was necessary if in that virgin born human nature there still lay the possibility of sin. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. If I understand the purpose of the virgin birth, it, in itself, speaks of the impeccable nature of the humanity of Christ.
One wonders why God would command that he be named Jesus if there was a possibility that he could sin and thus be nobodys Saviour. Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
One wonders how God could declare his intention to lay on Christ the iniquity of us all if, in fact, he could possibly end up committing iniquity himself. Isaiah 53:3-6 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
One wonders why God would have sent one into the world who could sin and rest all the arrangements of the everlasting covenant of redemption on him. Christ must shed the blood of the everlasting covenant, but, if he could have sinned what would have become of the covenant arrangements if he had sinned? Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.
Christ was made the surety for all those who would be saved because of his covenant engagements if he could have sinned and not fulfilled his work. Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Christ was made the mediator of the better covenant based on better promises but how much better were its promises if indeed its mediator could have sinned? Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
If Christ could have sinned and had he sinned his blood could not have spoken anything any better than the blood of Abel spoke. Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
As our one and only Mediator, Jesus must be able to lay his hand on man and upon God, but had he sinned he could not have laid his hand on God and it would have done us no good for him to lay his hand on man, therefore we would have been without a Mediator and the covenant of grace and redemption would have been worthless and useless. 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
If in Christ there had been the possibility of sin, Satan could possibly have bruised his head instead of his heal, and he could not have bruised Satans head. Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The terrible implications and ramifications of the doctrine of the peccability of Christ are so far reaching we cannot explore all of them here.
Let us rejoice that we have a Saviour in whom sin could find no foothold. Let us be glad that we have a Saviour in whom Satan could find no place in which to anchor a temptation to sin. Let us praise God for sending his own lamb foreordained to be without blemish and without spot from before the foundation of the world. Let us be glad that we have a Saviour and high priest who is holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. He is the impeccable one. He is the one who did not sin and who could not sin. He is the one able to save to the uttermost. O what a Saviour, our sinless, impeccable Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
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