The Impeccability of Jesus
Updated: Nov 3, 2020
Noted compiled by Marty Zide and Steve McAtee
Not only did Jesus not sin, but He also was not able to sin. That’s what “impeccability” means. He was not only able to overcome temptation but He was unable to be overcome by it.
The doctrine of impeccability deals with the absolute moral purity of the Lord Jesus while He was here on earth. The question is, Could He have sinned while He was here on earth? Was it ever a possibility? Peccability says yes, impeccability says no.
The problem that some people have with impeccability is in the area of temptation. If Jesus could not have sinned, how could He have been truly tempted as it says He was in Scripture?
Heb. 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Those who hold to peccability will say that if the temptation was genuine then Jesus had to be able to sin, otherwise the temptation was not a genuine temptation. They’ll say that if He was a true man He must have been capable of sinning.
The major weakness of peccability
The major weakness is that it does not sufficiently consider Jesus the Messiah in His Person as God as well as man.
If Adam was susceptible to sinning while sinless, wouldn’t the same hold true for Jesus? Jesus had something that Adam did not have, a divine nature that could not sin. Because Jesus was fully God, it made it entirely impossible for Him to sin.
As the God-man, Jesus could be tempted from His humanity but was not capable of sinning. His divine nature overruled His human nature thus making it impossible for Jesus to sin.
The evidence for impeccability
There are several proofs for the impeccability of Jesus that are found in the Word of God. They clearly conclude that it would be totally impossible for the Lord Jesus to have sinned while He was here on earth.
The immutability of Jesus
The Lord Jesus is unchangeable. If Jesus could have sinned while here on earth, then He could sin now in heaven, because of His immutability. Because He is unchangeable, He can not change back to a place where He could not sin. He cannot change back to what He was like before the incarnation, because He is still the God-man.
Heb. 13:8 - Jesus the Messiah is the same yesterday and today and forever.
But some might say, How could Jesus sin in heaven, believers won’t be able to sin in heaven? The reason why believers won’t be able to sin in heaven is that a great change is going to take place with us before we get there. Our flesh (the sin nature) will be totally eradicated when we receive our glorified bodies. No such change took place when Jesus ascended back to heaven. He is now, what He was, while on earth.
The immutability of Jesus pertains to all the characteristics of His person. This includes His holiness. Mutable holiness would be inconsistent and incompatible with His other divine attributes.
The omnipotence of Jesus
The Lord Jesus is all-powerful. If Jesus was able to sin, it implies that a finite power can overcome an infinite one. All temptations must come from a created (or finite) being. If a finite temptation is met by an infinite power of resistance, the result must be the failure of the temptation, and not the defeat of the tempted person.
Rev. 1:8 - I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
The omniscience of Jesus
The Lord Jesus knows everything. If Jesus was able to sin, it implies that He was deceived. The success of temptation depends in part, upon deceiving the person tempted. We see this with Eve in the garden of Eden. An infinite intelligence, like Jesus, possessed cannot be deceived as a finite one can.
I Tim. 2:14 - And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
John 16:30 - Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.
There are many other proofs that point to His being impeccable. But, it is important for us to realize that because Jesus was sinless, He could offer Himself up as a sacrifice to God and make atonement for our sins. He was the perfect, sinless Son of God who paid the price that was acceptable to God.