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When discussing the humanity of Jesus Christ, impeccability is the word Christians use to describe that Jesus was unable to sin. This is a disputed topic even among Reformed™ brethren. There are some who teach that it was, in fact, possible for Jesus to sin, yet he did not. Impeccability is the word we use to say that it was impossible for Jesus to sin. If you aren’t familiar with the various arguments a quick search on the internet will yield some results where you can hear both sides. I affirm Christ’s impeccability, personally.
For this post, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the topic of Christ’s impeccability based on my reading through Isaiah. In Isaiah 7:14 we find a well-known verse about the coming Messiah:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This is a clear reference to the coming of Jesus Christ! Matthew quotes this verse in Matthew 1:23 as referring to Jesus, in case you don’t believe me.
But the verses that follow are the ones I want to focus on here. The verses following the promise of the son of the virgin are:
Isaiah 7:15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.
Now let me tell you what came to mind as I meditated on these verses. It struck me that the boy—Jesus—would have a time when he didn’t know how to refuse evil and choose good. In fact, this “state” is mentioned twice in these two verses. Isaiah is telling us something true about Jesus’ humanity. That is, Jesus really, truly became a human, including all the infirmities and difficulties of being an infant and a toddler.
In other words, Jesus had a time when he was not fully developed in his thinking. I suppose we could say, when he was a child…he thought like a child and reasoned like a child (1 Cor 13:11). Now, my point is this: for Jesus to remain sinless even in this state would have been terribly unnatural had he been peccable or able to sin. I wouldn’t call this a nail in the coffin of the “impeccability argument,” but it makes more sense to me that Jesus, being born in the likeness of man, was not born only in a state of innocence from where he had even the slightest ability to fall. But rather, Jesus, being unable to sin, endured the affliction and infirmity of being a helpless child with sinless perfection because of His very nature as the sinless Son of God and Son of man.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if Jesus had even the remotest possibility of sinning when confronted with temptation, then when he was a child who did not yet know how to refuse the evil and choose good (as God describes him, not me), this would have been a time that it would have nearly been excusable for him to fall. Yet He did not. Not even once, and He didn’t even come close.
We have a perfect high priest. Rest and rejoice in that fact today, brethren.
For more discussion on Jesus’ humanity and what that really means, I recently talked about that during a Zoom meeting through Hebrews that I am teaching. I’ll commend the episode to you here. Feel free to reach out to me at Michael (at) ThingsAbove.us if you’d like to join us in that study.
I enjoyed reading this. It was a new concept for me that I had never considered before. I can understand where the debate might arise from, but your defense of Jesus’ impeccability puts an end to it logically and Scripturally. Thanks!