TEXT: Doctrinal, Multiple Texts
INTRO: We began last week going through survey questions posed by Barna Research to help determine if a person has a Christian or biblical worldview. We started with two (2) questions about truth: Does absolute moral truth exist? And Is absolute truth defined by the Bible? I offered two possible answers and you made your personal decision (which I did not ask you to disclose). We move today to the third question: Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life? Sounds like an easy answer, but can you truly answer it without pause for thought? This morning we are going to consider what “sinlessness” is, what it would take to live a sinless life, and what difference the answer we give to the question will make to our own lives. It is a doctrinal message and we will be looking at multiple TEXTS. Please let me PRAY with you and then we will move forward.
I. WHAT IS “SINLESSNESS?”
A. Our English word “sin” is defined as (from a number of dictionaries): “An immoral act, considered to be transgression against divine law; wrong, wrongdoing, to offend (God)”; Merriam-Webster: “An offense against religious or moral law”; “disobedience or rebellion against God’s law”; Biblical terms: Hebrew (OT): “chattath / chata = an offense, to miss;” Greek (NT) hamartia / hamarteon = “an offense, to miss the mark.” In short, if you don’t do what you’re morally supposed to do, you sin.
ILLUS: A well-known illustration says this, ”to miss the mark as an archer misses the target with his arrow.” That leaves us with other questions: Did he miss it by accident and, if so, is it still sin? Did he miss it on purpose and does that intent make it sin? Apparently, to miss it period is sin! Whether you claim “I couldn’t help it,” or “I did it on purpose,” it is still sin.
B. Biblical references: 1.) Here are passages that give definition to sin; a.) 1 Jn. 3:4, “Everyone who sins also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of the law.” b.)1 Jn. 5:17, “All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that does not bring death.” c.) Jm. 2:10; “For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.” d.) Jm. 4:17, “So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.” e.) Rm. 13:23, “everything that is not from conviction is sin (to do something with doubt as to its moral righteousness).”
2). Biblical explanation how sin entered the world: According to the biblical account found in Gen. 2-3, sin entered the world when the serpent (Satan) approached Eve and tempted her to eat from the only tree God had forbidden Adam and Eve to eat from: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That serpent challenged the word of God and told Eve she would become “like God.” In her ignorance, pride, and lust for power, she disobeyed God and then led Adam into doing the same thing. This disobedience led to a separation between God and the humans and certainty of death came to the human race, first to the spirit and then to the body (Rm 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death). The sin, or unrighteous rebellion against God, keep sinful humanity from having a personal relationship with that same holy God.
3.) Biblical explanation of sin’s permeation of the human race: a.) Rm. 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (No one escaped the infection of sin and no one can glorify God, which was their purpose, while under the condemnation of sin). There is a full statement on the inclusive nature of sin found in 1 Jn. 1:8-16, which says, “If we say ‘we have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, ‘we don’t have any sin,’ we make Him to be a liar, and His word is not in us.”
C. Every single human being that has ever lived or will live, is a sinner. Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, the 12 Apostles, Paul, and every human biblical character other than Jesus. The best, the bravest, and the smartest people not mentioned in the Bible: Every king and queen, every politician, every hero or heroine, every scoundrel, every artist of every genre, every scholar of every issue, every athlete, every patriot or traitor, all races, all religious personalities, all genders, all ages, all people, including you and me – are sinners!
II. DID JESUS LIVE A SINLESS LIFE?
A. What is sinlessness? Based on what we just covered on sin, sinlessness means “to be without sin,” never to have disobeyed God or acted in unrighteousness. Never to have done wrong or harmed anyone. Never to have spoken a wrong word or thought an evil or unjust thought. Sinlessness is to be fully righteous at all times and in all situations. It is to be undeserving of any blame, able to overcome every temptation. Think of every person you ever heard of who deserved the reputation of being of the highest character and purpose – and yet, just being human in a sinful world, and sinlessness is more than that. It is the most difficult thing for any human being to accomplish – actually impossible for a mere person! Who could ever measure up to those qualifications? The Bible says Jesus could and did.
A. What does the Bible say about the sinlessness of Jesus? 1.) Jesus was not born in sin. Lk. 1:35 explains as Gabriel speaks to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most high will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.” b.) Jn. 1:14 explains the nature of Jesus, saying, “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory of as the One and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth . . . . No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son – the One who is at the Father’s side – He has revealed Him.” (He cannot reveal God without being sinless)!
B. Jesus bore witness of Himself. a.) Jesus said of Himself in Jn. 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” b.) Jesus asked in Jn.8:46, “Who among you can convict Me of sin? (There was no reply). c.) Jesus told Martha in Jn.11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live.” (There is no sin in the resurrection to eternal life with God). d.) In Jn. 14:6, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (The way to God is to be without sin; the truth Is without error; and the life is perfection). And in vs. 9, He tells Philip, “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (God is perfect and holy, fully sin-free). Jesus claimed to be sinless.
3.) What do other Biblical writers say?
a.) Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:21, “[God] made [Christ] who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” b.) Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.”
c.). Peter says in 1 Pet.2:21-22, “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.”
d.) John taught in 1 Jn.3:5, “[Jesus] was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him.”
4.) The three (3) most important creeds (statements of faith) in the Church, the Apostolic Creed (120-250 a.d.), the Nicene Creed 9325 a.d.), and the Chalcedonian Creed (451 a.d.), all agree that Jesus Christ was born without sin and was God, and thus, without sin.
III. THE REASON FOR JESUS’ SINLESSNESS.
- In order to do the work Jesus had to do on our behalf, He had to be sinless. I would offer three (3) reasons: 1.) To prove He was the Son of God. Is. 6:3 and Rev. 4:8, both refer to God as “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God the Almighty.” The thrice repeated phrase is a Hebrew form of superlative and means: He is good, He is great, He is perfect. Jm. 1:17 says, “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights: with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” God gives perfectly because He is perfect! Jesus could not claim to be God’s only Son if He were not perfect. 2.) To be in covenant with God. In Matt. 5:17, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” The Law was the revelation of the will of God for His people. If they fulfilled it, they would have the blessings of the covenant. Jesus did fulfill it on their behalf so they can be blessed with God’s promises. 3.) To provide a necessary sinless sacrifice for sinners. a.) Rom. 3:25 says, “God presented [Christ] as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.” (Propitiation = sacrifice). b.) Rom. 5:8-9 says, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.” c.) Heb. 7:27 adds, “[Christ] does not need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do – first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all when He offered Himself.” d.) Heb. 10:10 promises, “By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” e.) 1Pet. 2:24 says, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.”
- Jesus’ sinless live and death assured us a sinless eternity. Without His sinlessness, we would have died in our own sins, separated forever from the holy God.
If. Jesus was not sinless, He could not have been the Son of God. If Jesus was not sinless, He could not have fulfilled the Law, allowing us to be grafted into the vine of Israel. If Jesus was not sinless He could not be your Savior. If Jesus was not sinless, we will never be. To believe Jesus is not sinless is to be unable to take a genuine Christian worldview! Rather, it means you see life as more in accord with your views than the Bible’s teaching. Your emotions, which will be highly impacted by cultural pressures, will cause you to develop a worldview more willing to accept what the world tells you is the “loving” or “fair” thing to do. And your view will impact the world around us – in a non-Christian manner. Was Jesus sinless? Honestly, what do you think??