Sunday, September 5, 2010

How was Jesus able to live without sinning?

Think about it. You, an imperfect being, love your son. Sometimes you even mess that up, but because you are who you are - not because you stop loving your son.

God also loved His son, a part of Himself that chose to be found in every respect just like every other man - with one exception: who he was. Becoming a man changed the power at his disposal, changed the way he saw things (new perspective - from inside human skin), and changed the way he he had to operate among men so that his example meant and counted for something special. But becoming human did not change who he was. Jesus could still say, "I am that I am" just like the Father could, because he was still, in who he was, God - even though he gave up practically everything else that we think of God being and being able to do.

In a very limited way, it is kind of like Bill Gates becoming a pauper. Bill would be just as penniless as any other poverty-stricken person, but there would still be something different about Bill - who he was as a person. Bill the person would still have the entrepreneurial spirit that got him into that group with Steve Jobs and the others in college. And he would still have that internal drive that took him from a kid on student loans to having more money than the banks who make those loans. He would be poor, at least for a while, but he would never stop being Bill Gates. If he wanted to regain the power and prestige and perks of being the founder of a Microsoft empire, he would have to do again what he did back when he was first trying to design a PC in his parents' garage.

That is, in a very limited way, what Jesus did. Why did he not sin, if he was just like you and me (who definitely have, and sometimes still do, sin)? Because of who he was Jesus did not sin - for even while fully man, he was still God who became man - with the same drives and will and love and mercy and sense of right and wrong and so on that makes God who He is. Jesus could do what we cannot because in the end, whether in heaven on a throne or on earth in human flesh, he was still God at the very core of his being. Living according to his Father's will was living according to his own will. He could do what his Father wanted perfectly because his Father's sense of perfection and will for mankind was still in the make-up of who he was without omniscience and without omnipresence and without being omnipotent while in the flesh. Whi he is and was while on Earth are the same as who he was and ever will be while in heaven. What changed was the packaging and the power, NOT the identity and sense of self.

This is why when we come to Christ, the more we self-identify with Him, the easier it is to see temptation for what it really is and resist it...even for us! It is transforming and progressive and so powerful it can take a murderous hater of disciples of Jesus and transform him into an amazing missionary and evangelist of God's power in Christ through the speaking and living of the gospel to the Gentiles.

He transformed Paul and all the other apostles and disciples we read about in the NT, just the same as He has been transforming you and me. We sin because we self-identify (deservedly) as sinners. He did not sin because he self-identified completely with God.

I hope that helps.


BrendaDwyer said...

I appreciate your perspective. I don't think I have ever questioned how it was that Jesus was sinless; I have just always believed it to be so.
I appreciate your analogy and trust that it will cause " the light to go on" for some.
May the Lord continue to use you as an instrument for his work.

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Well I think we are fairly dangerous ground theologically if we deny the full humanity of the Messiah. Somehow we come close to being anti-christs. The humanity of Jesus seems like a much more important topic to biblical writers than even his deity. John stresses it ad nausem, the Hebrew Preacher builds his who sermon on it, Paul goes out of his way to speak of the "man" Jesus, etc.

The man Jesus did not cheat. He did however cultivate a relationship with the father that bore fruit. I believe just as Jesus performed his miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit (and not his own) that he lived in the power of the Holy Spirit too. He learned obedience as the Preacher says thru the things he suffered. Perhaps we need to ruminate on that one for a LONG time.

Candle (C & L) said...

Glenn - This is a good question -- and I agree with Bobby that the "tradional" (in my circles) of saying Jesus was 100% human and 100% God creates a lot of difficulties in saying that Jesus was a man who lived without sin and became the unblemished perfect sacrifice -- because after all if he had the "power of God" then it really wasn't true that he experienced all the temptations we experience and remained without sin. On the other hand if he "just a man" then how could he be said to have been sent by the Father from heaven giving up his heavenly position.

Your explanation is (I think) similar to one I have used. He was 100% human -- he retained nothing of the Heavenly Godly powers -- and so in that sense he was (no longer) God -- however he did retain the "memory" of that perfect relationship and perfect love and that allowed him to keep from sin.

Anyhow - a good question and at the end one I accept by faith ---- the Christ was, is and always will be God and yet for 33? years he lived on this earth as a human who difffered in NO way from you & I except he was sent from God .. How exactly God was able to to that seems in somes ways to be above the comprehension of the finite human mind -- and so we wrestle with it to give explanations that give credibility to our faith but we may not really have grasped it and in the end it is about faith that he was who he claimed to be and that he became the sacrificial lamb that leads to restoration of the broken relationship that I have with the Father.

God Bless

Glenn Ziegler said...


I really appreciate your comments. It is a rare and wonderful treat to be both your brother and your brother in the Lord. You are one of my very favorite modern day evangelists because it is so totally an expression of the way God has gifted you. Love ya, Sis. Thanks for dropping by.


I really appreciate your perspective and comments. I know so few true scholars personally, yet I know you are one and I respect what you bring to the table. Better than that is the fact that you bring your heartfelt devotion to our Lord and Savior and a depth of perception that rarely expressed as well as you do.

What will we do with the "things that He suffered" and what they taught Him? This is clearly not our favorite topic of consideration. In my quiet times I pray fervently that God will send us a time of testing to grow in us the character and resolve that Jesus had and has towards us. I know, I know...this is like praying for patience! May God bless the insanity of our fervent love-driven obsession with becoming just like Jesus. And yes, that means the suffering part, too, without any doubt or hesitation.


Thanks for dropping by and sharing your heart. I so often feel a strong kinship in the ways we think alike (my apologies for the times that reflects poorly on you because of me) and my admiration for the ways you so often express yourself. You are my friend and brother in the Lord and I value what you have to share.

May God bless us all as we seek to follow in the steps of Jesus - no matter where they lead us, knowing that we do not ever go alone.

To His glory...