My Question: Jesus without sin

Hi everyone,
I am currently reading the book “Conversational Evangelism” by Norman L. Geisler.
The book is great, because one of my main problems was (and still is), to find the right questions to ask my friends, and this book tackles the problem of how to even start talking about spiritual things.

During my reading, I started thinking about, what answers I might get, if I ask such or such question.
Mostly I managed to find a possible answer I could give, if an objection would be raised.

There is one objection I thought about, and I don’t know how I could answer it properly.

The question is:
“How can Jesus be just a human if he lived a life without sin, fulfilled prophecies, and provided evidence for his resurrection from the dead?”

So after reading this question, I thought about, what I would answer, if I weren’t a follower of Christ.
I would ask, for example: “You say, Jesus was without sin, but how can you know he was without sin? What does it mean “to be without sin”?”

I somehow struggle to find an answer, that I would be satisfied with.

I was wondering, how you would answer?

Thanks a lot!

Sincerely yours,
Doris Ivan

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@doris.ivan Hi!

I just wanted to ask a clarifying question. You stated

Are you asking about how the hypostatic union(Jesus being both God and man) works?

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@doris.ivan You could think of sin as being out of sync with God. God created us to live in humble submission to Him and to obey His commands. These commands were given for our own good. God gave us a clear definition of good and evil. Whenever we get out of sync with God, we redefine good and evil based on our own selfish desires. The consequences are disastrous.

Jesus lived a life in perfect sync with God. Jesus was not just a man; He was the God-man, both 100% God and 100% man. Because He was God, He was able to live a sinless life. Because He was man, He was able to pay the price for our sins.

You may find this video helpful as well :slight_smile:

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Hello @joncarp , thanks a lot, for taking the time to respond! :slight_smile:

I am sorry for not stating my question as clear as possible :wink:

So, the author Norman L. Geisler wrote in his book „Conversational Evangelism: Connecting with People to Share Jesus“.
a lot of questions that a christian can ask a non-christian, to start a spiritual conversation.
I found the question “How can Jesus be just a human if he lived a life without sin, fulfilled prophecies, and provided evidence for his resurrection from the dead?” in the book and thought about what I (if i weren’t a christian) would respond to a friend of mine, who might raise this question.
And the respond I would give to my friend (if I didn‘t believe in Christ) would be „ You say, Jesus lived a live without sin, but how can you know he was without sin? What does it mean to be without sin?”

So, i think my question is more about how to answer the question „ You say, Jesus lived a life without sin, but how can you know he was without sin? What does it mean to be without sin?”

And I somehow don‘t know how to explain to a person, that Jesus lived a perfect life, and how we can know this.

Does this make sense? :see_no_evil:

@SeanO thank you!
Oh, that’s great!
I like the expression „to be out of sync with God“, as explanation for sin!
That’s very helpful and really makes sense!

So I could, for example, first explain the term “sin” as being “out of sync with god”
And than explain why we can know Jesus lived a perfect live, because his life, words, death and resurrection were written down in the gospels. So if the gospels are credible and didn’t chance over time, we can be sure that Jesus lived a life in perfect sync with god, and that he truly is God?

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Hello Doris,

I really think this is an awesome question and I like the answer that SeanO gave and the explanation he provided. In response to your question that Christ lived a life perfectly in sync with God, and that He truly is God, I think that we can be completely sure of this. The credibility of the Gospels is something that has been questioned time and time again. Interestingly, I believe that is why there are four books dedicated to that subject. You have four separate people; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, writing about the same subject: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Four separate perspectives that report the exact same thing in detail. That Jesus did indeed die, was buried, and then rose again and walked about spending time with people afterwards. Anyone who wishes to deny that the gospels are credible will not only have to deal with all the historical evidence, but also with the four gospels we have here and how they link together and provide us with such a clear picture of what happened. Included in that are the subsequent effects that happened over time in history from Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road, to the preaching of the apostles, to the steadfastness of those who served Christ despite horrible deaths, imprisonments, and all manner of other evils being committed to them.

Now, that is quite a lot to think about, but if we look to all the evidence that exists there, the credibility of the Gospels, and whether Christ is God, and His sinless existence here on Earth become, I believe, undeniable. So to answer your question, yes we can be absolutely sure that Jesus is God and that He lived a life in perfect sync with God. Jesus did exactly what He set out to do, He lived a life without sin, He sacrificed Himself for the payment of all sin, and then He rose and defeated death, these are all things that only He could do. The more that we study His word and grow in our relationship with Him, the more clearly we can see these things through Him. Before I truly gave my life to Christ I struggled with understanding and believing everything that I had heard and seen in church and in His word. But when I gave my life over to Him and began to seek Him, it was like the first time that I ever put on glasses. Everything was so clear and distinct. I felt like I could see things that had been hidden or out of focus with such a clarity that I found them undeniable. I no longer just believed in what Christ had done, I KNEW what Christ had done.

Even to this day, I find myself completely overwhelmed by what an amazing experience it is to know Christ and to have my life and my heart in His hands. He is our assurance, our credibility, our Savior and He has changed, and continues to change, each one of us in special ways each and every day.

I hope that this helps Doris and I pray that God will continue to help you grow in His word and in your relationship with Him. Thank you for trusting this subject to the community here and if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask them. God bless you and thank you.

Matthew

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@doris.ivan In response to this particular question, I think that is a helpful way to explain the nature of sin. I expect an unbeliever would have a lot of other questions about God and Jesus as well, so I think this answers would help continue a good conversation rather than satisfying all the doubts of the person with whom you are speaking.

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Guys, can I ask a question? If being a member of the GOD-Head meant JESUS could not sin; then why does scripture say, " For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15 kjv.) And, if JESUS could not have failed to fulfill His purpose while here; why did satan attempt to tempt JESUS in the wilderness? When we say that JESUS could not have sinned as we do, aren’t we saying that JESUS could not have lived this life without cheating? That JESUS never was in danger of being out of sync with GOD. Doesn’t that denigrate the notion of being a high priest tempted like we are?

Great questions have been raised here for all the people who know that Jesus was tempted yet did not sin.

Matthew 4:1‭-‬10 NKJV
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Hebrews 4:15 NKJV
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

James 1:12‭-‬15 NKJV
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

Since becoming a Christian 28 years ago I have heard multiple times the phrase, which I have quoted myself

“It is yet to be seen what will happen in any man who 100% believed the infallible word of God.”
No reservations whatsoever.
The answer always was and still is JESUS lived it all.

I think it’s important to see that Jesus totally stood had full faith and confidence in all of Gods word.

II Corinthians 10:5 NKJV
casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

He also said many times I came not to do my will but my Fathers.

Completely denied Himself and followed Father.

I do believe with all my heart there are rare people who strived and strive for that. Disciples of course but also others in ages past as well as some today.

Isn’t that one of the reasons RZIM exists is to help each other strive for that mark, bullseye if you like as passage says.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13‭-‬14 NKJV

Because He fully lived the word He fully lived without sin.

God bless I hope my input helped someone.
Mike

Ok I must reply here. Adam was peccable (able to sin). Jesus being the God / Man was Impeccable (not able to sin). This in no way reduced His experience of temptation. When we feel the draw of sin without the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us from it, we are powerless to resist. However Jesus being fully Human felt the temptation just like us but because He had NO earthly father He was His humanity was controlled by His Devine nature. Our issue with God has always been one of authority ours vs His and this is the definition of sin. I think any discussion of being out of sink with God would eventually have to go to the question of why we are out of sink. Great questions.great discussion.

@doris.ivan

Hi Doris, great question(s).

First just to clarify, I think you are asking two separate questions. One is an ontological question “what does it mean to be without sin?”, which relates to what sin is, and how one can or cannot be “in sin.” Anytime we ask a question about what something is, we are asking a question about ontology. Second, is your question “How can you know Jesus is without sin?” which is more of an epistemological question. Anytime we ask a “How can you know” question, we are dealing with epistemology.

That said, we have the “what is sin?” question and the “how do we know Jesus didn’t do it?” question. The first we derive right from Scripture, and Scripture tells us in various places and various ways that sin is something like a broken relationship with the one true God, whereby we exchange the primacy of God’s will for the primacy of our own will (or perhaps the will of some other being that is not God, e.g. Satan). So, to be with sin is to have a will that is not in sync with the will of God, but that is either apathetic or antagonistic to God’s will. To be either apathetic toward the will of God, or antagonistic toward the will of God, is a fundamental sign of one’s lack of love of God (John 14:21).

So, if sin is having a will that is either apathetic to, or antagonistic to the will of God, then the opposite of sin, call it holiness, or righteousness, is being in agreement with and acting according to the will of God, and that out of the right heart, or desire (Ezk 36:26). If being in agreement with and acting in accordance to the will of God out of the right heart is being righteous, then doing so perfectly is being “without sin.” As such, Jesus being without sin would mean that Jesus never disagreed with, nor acted contrary to the Father’s will, and never acted out of the wrong motivation, i.e. never acted out of a motivation other than love of the Father.

So, if man in his fallen nature was incapable of being perfect in this sense, then something like the “hypostatic union” the taking on of a human nature by God, would be logically necessary for a human person to ever perfectly agree with and act accordingly to the will of God. Thus, Jesus, in being both fully God and fully man, was without sin. And this is also possible if it is the case that sin is not part of what it means to be human essentially. In other words, “sinfulness” is an accidental property of mankind, not an essential one. Thus, we can be fully human and also be without sin. In fact, we will be fully human in the new creation and without sin; so we actually have this promise of being fully human and fully righteous human persons.

With regard to your second question, the epistemic one of “how we know” Jesus was like this, that will depend on our view of Scripture, especially our view of the doctrine of Revelation and Inspiration. If we have good evidence to believe the Bible is the revealed Word of God, and inspired and even inerrant in all it teaches, then, in combination with the Holy Spirit’s work, we can take at face value the words of the author of Hebrews who says:

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:14-16)

Another way we might deduce that Jesus was indeed without sin, and that apart from even a specific biblical teaching, is if we think it is possible, even likely, that God is an all-perfect being. Or, better said, if God exists, then the God that exists is a maximally great being. And, if there is a maximally great being, then this being must also be maximally good, since goodness is clearly a “great-making attribute.” And finally, if Jesus Christ just is this maximally great, maximally good being, then by force of logic Jesus Christ is also maximally good, and in virtue of being maximally good, Jesus Christ was not capable of sinning, since no maximally good being would be able to sin.

Hope that helps.

In Christ,
Anthony

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@mmingus36 thanks so much, for the really insightful answer you gave!
You are right, this is quite a lot to think about, but that’s good so, and I will do :wink:

Thanks a lot!
God bless you too :pray:

Doris

The distinction you pointed out between the “what does it mean…” and “How can you know” brings clarity to my mind- so thanks for that!
I appreciate your answer!
Now I have some really good ideas how I could respond to the question(s) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

God bless you! :slightly_smiling_face: :pray:

Hi Doris. The question that Jesus is without sin is truly unique and difficult to explain. But JESUS came as the second Adam, the one who accomplished what the first Adam didn’t and to restore us to the original state which GOD our Father have initially planned for us.

He lived a HOLY life (separating willfully from the desire to live “independently” from GOD’S plan)_1 Philippians 2:6,7. He humbled himself before God and all men. JESUS being GOD didn’t regard equality with the Father, but instead, submitted, trusted fully and wholly to the original design, that is to redeem and restore everything to Himself.

Adam failed in the garden. JESUS, triumphed in the wilderness.

And not to sin means, willfully and perfectly succumbing to GOD’S purpose. Jesus was a whole lot like us, tempted in every way, the whole emotions, and physical limitations except that, HE didn’t sin. something we are unable to do. He got tired and hungry, thirsty, bruised, marred and died… yet JESUS lives!

Only HE is able because He came from above_ John 8:23.

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