Before moving on to another subject, we will view the impeccability of our Lord Jesus Christ from a different angle. Having looked at positive teaching on the issue, we will look at it negatively; that is, we will see some of the implications that there would be if the Lord Jesus could have sinned. It is important to do this, for there are sincere people who countenance denial of His impeccability. We can only conclude that they have failed to see the serious ramifications of such ideas. The purpose of this article is to point out some of these ramifications.
The Bible teaches that God is immutable. For example, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal 3:6). If the Lord Jesus could have sinned, then God is capable of sin. This, in turn, would mean that God is mutable (that He could change), thus contradicting the testimony of Scripture. It would also mean, for example, that He is not omnipotent (for one who could sin must have a degree of susceptibility in him). And that is just the beginning. In short, denial of His impeccability is a denial of the great doctrines of Scripture on the attributes of God; things most clearly declared in the Word.
The Bible teaches the sovereignty of God over His universe. He has a great and glorious plan. He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11). This will culminate in God being “all in all” (1Cor 15:28). Nothing can derail this great divine program, as many Scriptures, such as Isaiah chapter 46:9-13, teach. Central to that program is our Lord Jesus Christ, His Person and His work. If He could have sinned, then God’s program for the universe could have been thwarted. It is unthinkable that God would have a purpose that could have failed.
Bringing it closer to ourselves, the salvation of souls depends on the impeccability of the Lord Jesus. If He could have sinned, then there would have been the real possibility of God sending His Son into the world in order to save men and women, only for the plan of salvation to come to nought, because the Lord Jesus could, at any time, have succumbed to temptation. Thus we would have the scenario in which God could have failed, and where we would have perished, and – how sickeningly awful is this thought – Christ Himself would have perished, for that would have made Him a sinner, with nobody who could have saved Him. Surely we must all be repulsed by such sacrilegious suggestions. Yet, if the Lord Jesus could have sinned, these unspeakable things would have been possible.
Those who say that the Lord Jesus was not impeccable when He was on earth, and could have sinned at that time, are effectively saying that He is still capable of sinning. After all, He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb 13:8). If He could have sinned then, what is there to stop Him from sinning now, or at some time in the future? To reply to this question by stating that there is no possibility of Him sinning now, because He is in heaven, where He could not be tempted, is an affront to His holy character, because it is saying that He is only sinless because of where He is, and not because of Who He is. Furthermore, even if it were His presence in heaven that was the guarantee against Him sinning now, that would be no comfort, for He will not always be in heaven. We read that He will come back to earth (Zech 14:4, for instance, says that “His feet shall stand … upon the mount of Olives”). The earth, at that time, will still have sin and sinners in it. If He was capable of sinning when He stood on a sinful earth the first time, then He would still be capable of it when He comes again.
This, if it were true, would also impact our salvation. As we have seen, if He was not impeccable, then there was the possibility that, by His sinning, the plan of salvation would not have succeeded. However, the implications are even more appalling, for, if this teaching were true, our salvation would not be secure, even today. Yes, salvation flows from the work done on the cross, but, as the New Testament teaches (notably in the epistle to the Hebrews), the guarantee of that salvation is a sinless, unchanging, ever-living Savior at God’s right hand. If He is capable of sinning, then we are not secure; we do not even have eternal life, for life that can be lost is not eternal. It is bad enough to think back on how God’s plan may have failed. However, to think that, even yet, the plan of salvation could fail, would be frightening indeed.
All of this flies in the face of the clear teaching of Scripture. The Lord Jesus never could sin, past, present, or future. There is no possibility that God’s plan of salvation could fail. There never has been, and never will be. The impeccability of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, underpins the whole of God’s purpose for us, for the world, and for the entire universe, now and for ever. Blessed be His Name!
This has not been an easy article to write. Doubtless it has not made for pleasant reading either. It has involved us all in considering suggestions that are deeply shocking; indeed, blasphemous. This we have done, distasteful though it is, in order to try to bring home to saints that the issue of Christ’s impeccability is not a small matter, and to highlight something of the disastrous consequences that flow from denying it. Let us all repudiate such notions, and stand foursquare for the impeccability of our Lord Jesus Christ.