Discourse 74 - As the Son of God, was Christ incapable of sinning?




As the Son of God, was Christ incapable of sinning? / Article by J. Ph. Fijnvandraat 00, 2004-08-02

If the Lord had been capable of committing a sin, would he have been unable to redeem us?/ Posted by Klaus 2004-08-02

Jesus Christ - wholly God and wholly man. / Commentary Christian Bollmeyer 00, 2004-04-14

Jesus cannot sin, because he is born of God? / Contribution by Herbert at Bibelkreis.ch 2006-10-30


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

As the Son of God, was Christ incapable of sinning? / Article by J. PH. Fijnvandraat 00 2004-06-02

“He (Christ, FH) was supernaturally begotten. ‘He committed no sin’, as Peter testifies. And Paul writes that he ‘did not know sin as a seductive internal influence’. And ‘in him was no sin’, as John explains. Consequently death had no power over him. Thus God was able to send his Son into the world.”

(Extract from the article “Können Gläubige ("Wiedergeborene") verloren gehen?” [“Can believers - "born again" believers - ever be eternally lost?” by J. Ph. Fijnvandraat, published on the website http://www.bibelkreis.ch/themen/glauverl.htm)



Here now are the biblical passages to which Mr Fijnvandraat refers in full:

Christ, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.

1Pet 2,21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 2,22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;1Pet 2,21-22;

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.

2Cor 5,21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2Cor 5,21;

Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?

Jn 8,45 "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 8,46 "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? Jn 8,45-46;


We must first of all point out here that Mr Fijnvandraat’s quotation of the Pauline passage from 2Cor 5,21 shows a tendentious distortion, in that no clear indication is supplied that the words “as a seductive internal influence” are his own addition. And if we now take a closer look at the other passages he quotes, we are confronted with a very different picture.

In particular, the Lord’s saying in the last quoted passage from Jn 8,45 - “Which one of you convicts me of sin?” - would be quite incomprehensible, would indeed be a notable mockery, if it were actually true that the Lord, having been supernaturally begotten, had never experienced sin “as a seductive internal influence”. This would make him comparable with a deaf person who prides himself on never having listened at a closed door. Similarly to a Catholic priest pontificating on marriage, the Lord Jesus would then be speaking of things which he had never experienced and so could not be expected to understand. Mr Fijnvandraat’s conclusion that “thus God was able to send his Son into the world” shows the complete want of understanding of this point of view, according to which the “risk” of the Son of God’s becoming man was minimized by the fact that Jesus had been immunized against sin, and was not to be exposed to the least temptation.

In actual fact - and in a way that anyone acquainted with Scripture will find crystal clear - the direct opposite is the case. Just as with the theory of predestination that we find advanced by some commentators (the idea, that is, that human beings are foreordained by God to blessedness or damnation), so here too the background has not been sufficiently examined and discerned. Of course the Lord was tempted, and so experienced sin as a hostile force. As we find it stated in Heb 2,18, quoted below, “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” And more than that - just because he was “made like his brethren in all things” he was able to atone for the sins of humanity as a high priest before God. This then was the precondition for his being able to take our sins upon himself and supply the redeeming sacrifice in our place - the fact that he did indeed have the experience of sin, but never gave way to it.

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Hbr 2,17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 2,18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Heb 2,17-18;


What the advocates of this incorrect theory completely overlook, seeing the matter from their superficial point of view, is that there is a difference between the capability of sinning and actually committing sin. It makes a difference whether a person is in a position, in view of his immense wealth, to buy up all the stock on the New York stock exchange or whether he actually sets about doing so.

An argument that is often brought forward in this connection is that Jesus Christ was God and so there could not have been any sin in him. But this again involves confusing a number of significantly different points, as shown below:

-  The Lord was begotten by the Holy Spirit, and so was immaculate and untainted by original sin

-  Jesus Christ was accordingly the Son of God from birth on, and like the Father had no sin in him

-  The Father had given him the task of sacrificing his life on the cross as a human being, for the redemption of the sins of the whole world

-  Thus he voluntarily renounced his divine powers and became wholly human

-  As a human being, he was susceptible to sin and was also subject to temptation. But he withstood every sin and so remained free of sin right up to his death on the cross.


And we find a confirmation of this very point in Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians (2,5-8):

He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Phil 2,5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 2,6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 2,7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 2,8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2, 5- 8;


In the form of God, Jesus Christ was wholly God; in the form of a bond-servant he was wholly man. For the time in which he humbled himself, as God he renounced the independent exercise of his divine powers and surrendered himself to voluntary limitation and dependence on the Father, so that in human form he knew and experienced all the aspects of human life.

Peter’s formulation quoted above (1Pet 2,22) - “Christ, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth” - surely also confirms that he was tempted by sin, and indeed by Satan in person, as we are told in Lk 4,1-11, but he resisted the temptation to sin and did not commit it. What would have been the use of Satan’s temptation here, if the Lord had not been capable of committing a sin? So the Lord did indeed experience sin, only he did not ever commit it - that is to say, he never gave way to temptation. If anyone thinks this is to be attributed to the fact that the Lord was immune from sin in view of his supernatural birth and so was never actually exposed to it, he is standing God’s plan of salvation on its head, denying the strength and the faithfulness of our Savior and reducing the redeeming sacrifice of the Lord to a quantité négligeable.

This question whether the Lord would have been capable of sinning was quite correctly answered in the affirmative by a young man on Hans Peter Wepf’s website at Bibelkreis.ch. For his pains, he found himself confronted with answers like the following:


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

If the Lord had been incapable of committing a sin, would he have been unable to redeem us? / Posted by Klaus at Bibelkreis.ch 2004-08-02

(...) I thought I had been trodden on by a horse! The question whether the LOrd JEsus could have sinned is to such a degree absurd, it can only come from the filthiest corner of the satanic forge of doubting thoughts. The Lamb of God - without blemish, since the time of Abraham and Isaac and before that in Paradise, as he who crushes the serpent’s head - are we to suppose that he could sin? Well, if anyone were to put such a question (as a Christian, of course) in my presence, I would be quite happy to hit him over the head with my Bible :-) if such conduct were permitted that is :-).

Just where do you have to be coming from to put such a nonsensical question in the first place? Just what is supposed to be achieved anyway by this totally stupid question? Only discord and the worst kind of scandal. Would the LOrd Jesus have been able to drown when he walked on the water of the lake? A pretty stupid question. The LOrd JEsus would never have been able to redeem us if he had been capable of committing even just one sin. It makes me sick somehow even to contemplate this question. But I feel myself motivated to bring up a few biblical passages as a hammer to shatter this satanic rock of brutish stupidity.

First of all I will send you “gold” from the treasury of the Word of God, namely the work of Dr Donges on the position and status of the Christian believer that I mentioned in my earlier communication. This question like others deserves to be cast on the refuse heap of contempt. If anyone were to put such a question I would urge him once or twice to “shut his gob” (as Luther would say) so as not to confuse the faithful. Let him rather align himself with those “spirits” that paid every kind of homage to the “company of Korah” - the earth swallowed them up! GOD was in Christ and the LOrd JEsus himself was begotten from the Father and - what a mystery it is - was also God Himself! Could God then have been capable of sinning? Only the devilish cunning that whispered in Paradise (God is supposed to have said) is able to generate such ideas. Just one answer is appropriate, as used by Our Lord to calm the storm on the lake: Be still. Yours cordially with “many times a day” thoughts! Klaus.

(This statement has been taken from the website http://www.bibeklkreis.ch/forum/frage239.htm / Hans Peter Wepf, h.p.wepf@bibelkreis.ch)



(See also a quite similar argumentation at: “www.bibel-info.net“)



I have seen a number of statements on this issue, coming from believers who are patently sincere in every other respect, which reveal how little such brothers and sisters are aware of the background to, and the consequences of their claims. They deny that the Lord - although he was God - deliberately and voluntarily took on the form of a bond-servant and lived among us in the flesh. They assert that he was not fully human at all, and so would not have been capable of sinning. In this they deny the strength of our Savior, who says in speaking of himself:

But take courage; I have overcome the world.

Jn 16,33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." Jn 16,33;


Here the Lord offers us comfort for the afflictions - which includes the sin - of the world, and says “take courage; I have overcome the world”. Now what kind of comfort would this be, if we were forced to assume that he had only been able to overcome these afflictions because as God he was incapable of being affected by them - whereas we, as sinful human beings, have nothing to oppose to this condition of affliction? No - it is rather the case that the Lord here tells us that he - although he is God - has experienced and overcome these afflictions as a human being, like one of us, withstanding temptation, and so we too are in a position to follow his example and to overcome.

And now the commentator quoted above tells us that

“The LOrd JEsus would never have been able to redeem us if he had been capable of committing even just one sin.”

This statement evidences the completely incorrect and blinkered view that this position represents. Such people want to put themselves across as being particularly “holy”, and yet even the choice of their words shows where they are coming from, and the intellectual level of this contribution speaks for itself. In actual fact the strength of Our Lord and his victory over sin and Satan is being denied here. The exact opposite of the quoted statement is correct: if in fact the Lord had been incapable of committing sin, he would have been unable to redeem us. In his earthly life he did not commit a single sin - not however because he would not have been capable of it, but rather because he withstood every temptation and so triumphed over sin.

One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Hbr 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. Heb 4,15;

This meant that he was in a position to die on the cross, voluntarily, for our sins - God made him sin for our sake. It was the sins of all humanity and of all times which came upon him and were laid on him - who himself had not committed a single sin - in his death on the cross. It was this burden of sin on account of which, just before his death, darkness came over the entire country and even the Holy Spirit had to abandon him, because the Spirit of God could not remain in a body with sin - even if it was the human body of the Son of God. This was the moment when the Lord cried out:

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

Mt 27,45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 27,46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachtháni?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Mt 27,45-46;


In order to propitiate the justice of God, the Son of God took on himself the sins of the entire world and died as a sinner on the cross. Here God sacrificed himself out of love, in order to offer every human being who has recourse to this redeeming sacrifice salvation and the forgiveness of his sins. The view that would make God’s justice out to be a willful cheat - by having this sacrifice for sin brought by one who never knew temptation and is immune to sin himself - completely fails to recognize the seriousness of God’s justice, and also the depth of God’s love.

But if we now consider the passage in Luke (4,1-13) where Our Lord is tempted by Satan in the wilderness, we find a plain refutation of the view that the Lord Jesus was insusceptible to temptation and sin.

When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

Lk 4,1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 4,2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. 4,3 And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." 4,4 And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘man shall not live on bread alone.’"

4,5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 4,6 And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 4,7 "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours." 4,8 Jesus answered him, "It is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God and serve Him only.’"

4,9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 4,10 for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ 4,11 and, ‘on their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’" 4,12 And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, ‘You shall not put the LORD Your God to the test.’"

4,13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. Lk 4, 1-13;


If it were really the case that the Lord Jesus had been insusceptible to temptation and sin, what kind of a stupid figure would Satan appear to be - seeing that he repeatedly leads the Lord into temptation even though he would have to have been aware that he could not possibly succeed? And how easy it would be for the devil to justify his defeat at this point by the argument of the brethren we have mentioned above! - by saying, that is, that the Son of God had not resisted him at all, it was only because of his divine origin that he was simply insusceptible to temptation and sin and so there was nothing special about his performance (and it certainly could not be seen as a victory over him, Satan, either).

And when Satan quotes Scripture in the above passage (Lk 4,10-11), and quotes it quite correctly, saying “He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ and, ‘on their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone” (Ps 91,11-12), it may be seen from this that the Lord would have had the option, at any point in his earthly life, of giving up his voluntarily chosen self-limitation and resuming his divine majesty. But he did not do this, not even for a second. Even when - as we are shown in the passage quoted earlier (Mt 27,45-46) - he had to suffer three hours on the cross before he was able to die, and then also had to endure his being abandoned by the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus did not think of putting an end to this torment and asking the angels to rescue him, though he would have had the authority to do so, as he himself confirms in Jn 10,17-18:

No one has taken My life away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.

Jn 10,17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.10,18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." Jn 10,17-18;

Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

Mt 26,53 "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Mt 26,53;


So if the Son of God, as an ordinary man, voluntarily took suffering and death upon himself and overcame them in obedience to the will of God and so as to bring an acceptable sacrifice for the redemption of the sins of humanity, how is it that in some Christian circles we find the view advanced that he might have been too weak to assert himself against temptation and sin in his human form, and so must have been protected against them in virtue of his divine origin?

Just this is the reproach that the ungodly and unrepentant would like to level against Our Lord when he takes his place as their judge at the Last Judgment - that as he was God, he had no idea of the troubles and temptations of human beings on earth and so could not possibly form a just assessment of them. But they will then be forced to recognize that the reason why God has given all judgment to the Son is precisely because the Son was wholly man, and in his short life lived through and suffered all the heights and depths of human life and nonetheless remained constantly loyal to the Father.

For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.

Jn 5,21 "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 5,22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 5,23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 5,24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Jn 5,21-24;


And since we had occasion earlier to refer to the incorrect doctrine of “predestination” - the view, that is, that human beings are selected by God for eternal life or eternal damnation from the beginning of time - we find here a similar pattern emerging. Just as in the first case people suppose that the individual has his future already “in the bag” without any need of personal effort on his part, so here we meet with the belief that even if Christ lived his life on earth in human form, in view of his divine origin he was never exposed to the abasement of the human condition in the least respect. This point of view resembles the “Christian gnosis”, the advocates of which presented such a threat to the early Christian communities. In his “Erklärung zu den Johannesbriefen” [“Explanation of the Letters of John”] (Wuppertaler Studienbibel [Wuppertal Study Bible] p. 109 f), Werner de Boor goes into this point in detail when commenting on 1Jn 4,2-3.

Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist.

1Jn 4,2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 4,3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 1Jn 4, 2- 3;


Here is Werner de Boor’s commentary:

“On first glance, we can make little of this sentence in John’s letter - ‘every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’. But the congregation of his day would have immediately got the message! They were threatened at the time by the advocates of what we may call a ‘Christian gnosis’. In their elaborate theologies there would of course be references to ‘the Christ’. They testified that a heavenly Christ had come from the world of light to lead human souls from their lost condition of darkness and death back to the light realm. But this ‘Christ’ was only temporarily connected with the historic human being Jesus, and wore this human form only as an outer garment. Only the man Jesus suffered and shed his blood; he was the only one who died. The heavenly being known as ‘the Christ’ could never be conceived as suffering, bleeding or dying. Redemption then was the result not of Jesus’ bleeding, suffering and dying, but rather of ‘gnosis’ or ‘realization’, even if this was meant not as an intellectual insight but rather as a mystical or religious experience.

For Christian gnosis the view that the divine Word did not just ‘clothe itself’ in the flesh, but actually ‘became flesh’ and ‘came in the flesh’, was completely erroneous and even close to blasphemy. For the apostolic message, on the other hand, the all-important thing was the self-abasement of the Son of God - his having been truly human, his having really come ‘in the flesh’. Only in this way could the saving act be performed which alone saves human beings - guilty, rejecting God, lost in the sight of God as they are - namely, Jesus’ suffering and dying on the accursed wood of the cross. This was the point where the paths of the early Christian congregations and Christian gnosis radically diverged.

And now it dawns on us to what an extent this sentence in John’s letter, while it has a special import for the time in which it was written, nonetheless has application for all times, including our own. In fact it is a decisive statement, and therefore marks a parting of the ways. We keep coming across new forms and expressions through which people want to offer us an impressive Christ, a Christ with contemporary relevance, one that can be heartily recommended to the present-day public. They don’t want to have to be ‘ashamed’ of the message of the gospel. The suffering and bleeding Christ who dies on the cross is still a ‘stumbling block’ and a ‘foolishness’ today (1Cor 1,23), just as he was in the past.

But there is a still more profound truth at the back of this. The matter concerns us directly, and what is at issue is our own assessment of ourselves. The Son of God had to ‘come in the flesh’, to stand in the world bereft of his power and glory and to die on the accursed wood of the cross in such a terrible way - and it was because of our sins. One who addresses his prayers to this Jesus - a figure cast out by men, handed over by God to judgment and dying on the cross - as the true Christ and the only savior of lost humanity must see himself, by implication, as one who is judged: one who in the dire need of his guilt before God has no notion where to turn, and who can only be saved at this cost.

But our pride refuses to go along with this! We defend ourselves against such condemnation. And so we want to have a different kind of Christ - a Christ who is great and noble, one who allows us to remain ‘great’ ourselves, a ‘Christ’ who serves as a ‘model’ for us in our world-improving activities. ‘To have faith like Jesus’, ‘to love like Jesus’, to take up one’s cross as Jesus did, that is the road to salvation. But one who does not put Jesus Christ’s ‘coming in the flesh’ and his dying on the cross for our sins at the center of his confession of faith merely gives evidence of his blindness, and shows that he has not yet experienced the reality of his lost condition. This is the great gulf that divides many forms of Christianities and theologies from the true apostolic message.

And so John continues, ‘and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God’. This is how Nestle’s Greek New Testament renders the passage. If John indeed put it this way, what he meant to say was this: one who speaks only of a heavenly Christ, and does not truly confess his faith in Jesus and so likewise in the real humanity of the Redeemer (with all the suffering and the dying that it took to bring this about), ‘is not from God’. He misses God’s true revelation, and leads the congregation astray.”


(See also Excursus 08: “The first and the second death - the wages of sin.”)


This constitutes a refutation both of the position taken by “Klaus” on the website of Hans Peter Wepf and also, and especially, of the view of Mr Fijnvandraat that God was able to send his Son into the world just because he had been “supernaturally begotten”, so that sin and death had no power over him. No, my dear brothers - just as the Lord had to suffer death, like every other human being on earth, so he also knew sin as it is known by all human beings, but he withstood every sin. The Lord was not just a “little bit” human, he was completely human, one hundred percent. And just for that reason his work of redemption for us human beings could be an acceptable sacrifice to God the Father.

Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men

Phil 2,5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 2,6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 2,7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 2,8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 2,9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 2,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 2,11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2, 5-11;


Christ Jesus, who existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as “a thing to be grasped” - something, that is to say, for which no payment was required. On the contrary, he emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and assuming the likeness of men. And although he could have changed this at any time, the Lord endured hatred, contempt and suffering right through to his death on the cross for our sins as a human being. And this redeeming sacrifice is our one chance of redemption, so we must hold fast to it and be eternally thankful. This means too that we are not to count on praise and admiration, but can rather expect the hatred and contempt of the world for his name’s sake.

Any attempt to relativize the strength, the power and the faithfulness of our Savior, by asserting that his divine origin somehow ‘protected’ him in such a way that by his very nature he was unacquainted with the suffering and the problems of the human condition, comes close to betraying the sacrifice of Our Lord.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Jesus Christ - wholly God and wholly man / Commentary ChB 00 2005-04-14)

But what www.bibelkreis.ch seems to me to be lacking in is the biblical virtues of love and meekness, as well as any genuine recognition of the fact that we all see things only in part, so should always be modest in stating our opinions. I have the impression (although the tone has become friendlier lately, but some voices, like those of Fritz Wolf and M. H., have not been heard for a good while) that the pendulum may perhaps have swung too far in the opposite direction. However that may be, I have never written anything on that site, for good reasons.

I now wonder what response I would have met with if I had taken the view advocated here, in Discourse 74, of the sinlessness of Jesus at the time - which I do share - and published it there. Incidentally, I would never have asked myself the question whether it was possible for Jesus to sin or not, or not in this form. This is because I have known since I was a child that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness and overcame the temptation (at this point I will spare myself the trouble of quoting scriptural passages in support of this statement), and he was wholly God and wholly man. Let us assume that the invitation to worship Satan is a temptation to evil (as it surely is), and I would be unable to make any sense of the Epistle of James, which tells us:

“Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted to evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” (Jam 1:13).

So it follows that God cannot be tempted (to do evil). But how does it stand with the Lord? Was he not also human, just as Adam was? If Adam was tempted and was able to fall into sin, and Christ was also human, why should he then not also have been capable of sinning?

So it seems to me that those who advance the simple equation “Jesus = God” (and that is the essence of any recognizable contribution to this question on the website I mentioned earlier) are not just overshooting the mark, but what is more are leaving out of account, or even denying that Christ himself was also human, but by contrast with Adam he did not fall into sin - instead overcoming both sin and the world. You can call me naive (but we find it written too that we should believe ‘like a child’ - Mk 10:15), but I believe at all events that this very fact shows a special working of the Lord, namely that he was sinless although he could have sinned. Otherwise I would have to ask myself what could possibly be the point of the temptation in the wilderness, and I ask that as a child of God - who I know does not set traps for us, nor does he offer us any kind of delusory demonstration. For otherwise, what else could this be?

Christian Bollmeyer, Hamburg / bollmeyer@debitel.net


(See also the contribution by visiting commentator by M. H., Discourse 27: “God's plan.”)

(See also the contribution by visiting commentator by Fritz Wolf, Discourse 58: “How can you know if you are saved?”)


Yes, that is exactly correct. Anyone who claims that Jesus Christ was not tempted and was incapable of sinning, on the grounds that he was God, must face the question how it was that this God then let himself be handed over to the Jews and put to death by the Romans on the cross.

Without the wholly personal victory of the Lord over temptation and sin, his redeeming sacrifice on the cross would not have been possible, because he could not have been a well-pleasing sacrifice in the eyes of the Father. For the salvation of humanity by grace, the righteousness of God called for an adequate sacrifice for the sins of all human beings.

It was the love of God in his Son, which led this person Jesus Christ - although he was wholly God - voluntarily and without any kind of compulsion to endure earthly temptation, the hatred and ill-will of human beings as a human being. And this same love led him then to the cross, to accomplish there what the laws and the commandments had not been able to achieve for the Jews: salvation by grace alone, through the love of God.




(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

Jesus cannot sin, because he is born of God? / Contribution by Herbert at Bibelkreis.ch 2006-10-30

There is one passage that addresses this question directly - namely, 1Jn 3,9, where it is written: ‘... and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.’ That ‘he’ means everyone who is born of God. And this applies first of all to the Lord Jesus. This passage alone should be enough to convince Horak to take his Discourse 74 off the web. Perhaps I will challenge him to do so - we’ll see what his reaction is. Perhaps he overlooked this passage. About other passages there can be differing opinions. For example Heb 13,8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever’ - on which the commentary (at Bibelkreis.ch - FH) reads: ‘If Christ, as a human being on this earth, had had the possibility of sin in himself, then he would still today have it in heaven.’ But this is clearly nonsense - seeing that Jesus was God from the beginning, was God when he was a human being on earth and will remain God for all eternity. Just this, and nothing else, is the meaning of Heb 13,8. Or do any of you believe that the Lord is now in heaven as a human being? With a modicum of ill will, you might take that to be an exceptionally vile blasphemy of the Savior. All in all I cannot quite get away from the impression that various scriptural experts are talking at cross purposes. I would not go so far as to impute to Horak any intention of blaspheming the Savior in this very vile way. Isn’t it just a case of a misunderstanding? Or of a sort of contradiction, as when we read at this forum (at Bibelkreis.ch - FH) that Jesus was WHOLLY HUMAN and also God. ‘WHOLLY HUMAN’ (where do we find that stated in the Bible, incidentally?) is incompatible with the view that Jesus was not in a position to sin. Let us put it like this: he was a human being like us, but without sin, AND God at the same time. If he had been ‘wholly human’, he would have been exactly like us - given over to sin. For slavery to sin is part of the nature of all human beings. But not of the human being Jesus Christ.

Herbert Bibelkreis.ch Topic 3175 / Website (German) Hans Peter Wepf, h.p.wepf@bibelkreis.ch



Since I have not as yet received the challenge referred to in the comments above, but have followed the discussion at the Bibelkreis forum with interest, I would just like to thank ‘Herbert’ for his arguments and for the commitment with which he engages in the discussion at that forum about Discourse 68 of Immanuel.at and the chapter ‘The Ten Virgins’.

(See also “Bibelkreis.ch Topic 3022 ff” / German)

(See also Discourse 68: “Do Matthew 24 and 25 not have any reference to the congregation? - The ten virgins”).

However, his partners in the discussion then cleverly changed the subject and switched over to this Discourse 74 at Immanuel.at instead: “As the Son of God, was Jesus incapable of sinning?” But I do not want to go into the arguments of these brothers at Bibelkreis.ch any further here - I would just like to try to answer the questions raised by “Herbert” in his comments..

Perhaps first of all the question at the end of his remarks at the Bibelkreis forum:

“Isn’t it just a case of a misunderstanding? Or of a sort of contradiction, as when we read at this forum (at Bibelkreis.ch - FH) that Jesus was WHOLLY HUMAN and also God. ‘WHOLLY HUMAN’ (where do we find that stated in the Bible, incidentally?) is incompatible with the view that Jesus was not in a position to sin.”


That is completely correct. If Jesus was wholly human, then he was also capable of sin. Though here we repeatedly have to assert that Our Lord withstood every temptation, and did not commit a single sin. But if it be now claimed, as in the interpretation by the brothers of Bibelkreis.ch, that the reason why Jesus Christ could not sin was because he was of divine origin, then he is immediately deprived of this divinity again, in the assertion:

“The Lord Jesus is now in heaven as a human being and he will be in heaven as a human being for all eternity.”


So while, quite rightly, the Lord is allowed his divinity in his life on earth (he was wholly God, but voluntarily lowered himself and became wholly human!) - just in order to abuse this divinity of his in the interest of a theory of his inability to sin - now it is suddenly being claimed that after his death and Ascension he will be ‘in heaven as a human being’. That makes two contradictions already - and that just within a single commentary!

(See also Discourse 24: “The divinity of Jesus Christ and the power of faith.”)


The fact that Jesus was like human beings in all things - and so also in the ability to sin - and was also exposed to temptation, but always withstood it, is confirmed by several scriptural passages:

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Hbr 2,17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 2,18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Heb 2,17-18;

But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Phil 2,5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 2,6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 2,7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 2,8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2, 5- 8;

One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Hbr 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. Heb 4,15;

When the devil had finished every temptation.

Lk 4,13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. Lk 4,13;


Yes, even Peter once tempted the Lord:

Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me.

Mt 16, 21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 16,22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." 16,23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s." Mt 16,21-23;


And then we are told, right at the beginning of this commentary by Herbert:

“There is one passage that addresses this question directly - namely, 1Jn 3,9, where it is written: ‘... and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.’ That ‘he’ means everyone who is born of God. And this applies first of all to the Lord Jesus.”


The translation “...and he cannot sin...” - whatever its provenience may be - is clearly wrong. The original Greek text reads: “Anyone who is engendered by God does not commit sin...”And the 10 German and 5 English translations I am in a position to access likewise use in this passage the words “tut”, “begeht” (commits) or “praktiziert” (practices).

The attentive reader of the Bible knows - or will realize now, if not before - why this clarification is so important. One who ‘cannot’ sin is incapable of sinning, and so - as Brother Herbert quite correctly indicates in his commentary above - cannot be “wholly human”. But one who does not commit sin may indeed be capable of sinning, and so is - like the rest of us - wholly human, but is different from us all in virtue of his admirable steadfastness, as a result of which he withstands every sin in his life.

We find a comment on this theme from Werner de Boor, referred to earlier, in his ‘Erklärung zum Brief des Paulus an die Römer’ [‘Explanation of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans’] (Wuppertaler Studienbibel [Wuppertal Study Bible], p. 181). His remarks refer to Rom 8,3-4:

Sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.

Rom 8,3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 8,4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Röm 8, 3- 4;


“God did what it was impossible for the Law to do. He sent his own Son, ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin’. What a view of Jesus is opened up for us through these brief words! Jesus’ life was a life of ‘suffering’, and not just in the last hours of the Passion. And not just in terms of the individual details before it either- the growing hate of his enemies, the limited understanding of his disciples under the burden of human need and sin. Jesus’ life was ‘suffering’ in every moment, because he, who was at home in divine clarity, purity and freedom, had to live ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin’.

We who have in the ‘flesh’ our natural and habitual life element can hardly imagine what alienation and torment, what a painful burden it was for the Son of God to be forced, from day to day, to live as a member of this God-alienated humanity in the cold darkness of lovelessness and egoism. But just because Jesus proved steadfast in this state of existence, and because the one who was completely subject to temptation withstood sin’s every attack, God condemned ‘sin in the flesh’.”


So anyone who claims that the Lord would have been incapable of sinning is clearly contradicting Scripture, which in numerous passages confirms the contrary:

Hbr 2,17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God.

Phil 2,7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Hbr 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.


But on the other hand the assertion that the Lord did not have the ability to sin - from which it follows that he could not have been tempted either - amounts to a denial of the power, strength and truth of our Savior, reducing God’s plan of salvation to absurdity and leading the faithful astray.

A judgment emanating from a Swiss compatriot of H. P. Wepf (responsible for the website Bibelkreis.ch) moreover points to the sectarian background of such peculiar and opinionated doctrines:

(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

Hans Peter Wepf - a relentless opponent of those who do not share his opinions / Article at chsunier 2004-11-02

It must be said that HPW has now shown himself to be a relentless opponent of those who do not share his opinions, so that my earlier remarks must be considerably qualified. It goes so far that he actually insists, dictatorially, on the translation of the Bible to be used for contributions to his forum, namely Schlachter or Elberfelder; Luther’s translation, according to his doctrine, is ‘the worst translation of the Bible into German that could ever be imagined’ (= an ignorant imitation of John Nelson Darby) and only exceeded by the ‘Concordant Bible’ of the Universalists. But this kind of arrogant attitude, in an individual person or system, is something I decidedly reject, as it already includes certain elements that approach the criteria for a sectarian community (Jude 16-19).

The commentary in full may be found at: http://chsunier.ch/webtalk/talker3/site_3.htm. (German)


(See also Discourse 26: “The Trinity: an unbiblical concept?”)