What I believe – Lesson 4

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Christ’s Sinlessness & Sacrifice

Apostle Creed

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and was buried. The third day He rose again from the dead;

He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” 

1 Peter 2:21–22 ESV “2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

2:22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” 

When we studied the virgin birth of Christ, we discovered that He was without the original sin that had been passed down from every person from Adam and Eve.  We say the verse where sin entered into the world by one man and because of this all men die.

Romans 5:12 ESV “¶ Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” 

Because of sin, this world is cursed and death entered into the world.  However, in this lesson we will learn that Christ lived a sinless life.  He did not commit a sin by thought, word, or deed.  He was completely holy and pure when He died on the cross of Calvary.  As Peter said, Christ did not sin.

Was Christ sinless?

Sinlessness means that the person had never sin by word, deed, or thought and had been completely obedient to the will of God.

Matthew 15:19–20 ESV “15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

15:20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.””

Christ had been completely obedient to the will of the Father.

Hebrews 10:7 ESV “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’””

 

John 17:4 ESV “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

Christ’ is and was holy and sinless in the sight of the Father.

Hebrews 7:26 ESV “¶ For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”

 

1 Peter 1:19 ESV “but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 

Was it possible for Christ to sin?

Sin originates when a person is tempted and yields to the temptation

James 1:14–15 ESV “1:14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

1:15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they had everything they needed for life.  Nothing was withheld from them with the exception of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  When Eve looked at the fruit when tempted by the devil, she yielded and gave to her husband.

Genesis 3:1–8 ESV “3:1 ¶ Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. ¶ He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,

3:3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

3:4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

3:8 ¶ And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

Christ was tempted throughout His life

Matthew 4:1 ESV “¶ Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Luke 4:2 ESV “for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.”  

Hebrews 2:18 ESV “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  

Hebrews 4:15 ESV “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

 

Christ was tempted to sin throughout His life.  The devil tried to get Christ to give up and go into sin, but Christ did not yield to the temptation.

Question is, “Could Christ have sinned?”

In order to truly understand the answer to this question, you must understand the two natures of Christ.  You must remember that Christ was both man and God.  He was the God-Man.  He has two natures:  humanity and deity.

Could He have sinned?

There are two views:

Peccability view – view that Christ could have sinned but He did not.

Impeccabilty view – that He could not have sinned.

“Christ was, from His birth, perfect in His relation to His heavenly Father, and absolutely free from the sinful bias which characterizes every natural son of Adam. Christ was also free from actual sin. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth (I Peter 2:22). His earthly life was free from fault or blemish. As a child He was filial and obedient (Luke 2:51) ; as a youth, respectful and docile (Luke 2: 52); and as a’man was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate’from sinners and made higher than the heavens (Heb. 7:26).”⁠1

“Sinlessness. Although the synoptic gospels present Jesus as a man, they also indicate He is not an ordinary man—He is virgin born and sinless. Because He was virgin born He did not have the sin nature nor the inclination to sin (note James 1:14-15). Jesus called men to repentance but there is no record that He ever confessed sin or repented. His baptism was “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15), not for confession (Matt. 3:6). The temptations also emphasize that while He was tested in all areas that we are, yet He was sinless (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12.13; Luke 4:1-13). In His rebuke of Peter He revealed His complete disassociation from sin (Matt. 16:23).”⁠2

Therefore, Christ was tempted, but He could not have sinned because He had no sin nature and because of His divine nature.

How important is the sinlessness of Christ?  Consider the following statements.

1. Since Christ is sinless, He was the perfect revelation of God to man.

2. Since Christ is both man and sinless, He is the perfect mediator between God the Father and mankind.

3. Since Christ is sinless, He was the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins.

4. Since Christ is sinless, He is the perfect example for us to follow.

5. Since Christ is sinless, He is the one pointing us to God the Father. 

Also consider:

1. Had Christ not been sinless then His death on Calvary would not have paid the price for our redemption.

2. Had Christ not been sinless, then He was not the Son of God or the Saviour.

3. Had Christ not been sinless, then we are still in our sins and have no hope.

4. Had Christ not been sinless, then we are wasting our time here.

1 Peter 1:17–19 ESV “1:17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

1:18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,

1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

1 Peter 2:22 ESV “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.”

Hebrews 4:15 ESV “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Why did Christ have to die?

Was there another way for God to reconcile the sins of man?  Was there another method of salvation that could have been used?

Old Testament prophecies concerning  the death of the Messiah

Isaiah 53:6–10 ESV “53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

53:7 ¶ He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

53:9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

53:10 ¶ Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

Zechariah 13:7 ESV “¶ “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the Lord of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.” 

Acts 2:23 ESV “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

 

The death of Christ was foretold from the very beginning in Genesis 3.  The salvation plan was designed before the foundation of the world.

Death of Christ means:

Atonement – means a covering for sin.  Used only one time in the New Testament.

Romans 5:11 ESV “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” 

2643 katallaghv katallage {kat-al-lag-ay’}  in the NT of the restoration of the favour of God to sinners  that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ  

Propitiation – is to appease the wrath of an offended person, or to atone for forgiveness.  It also means that the righteous demands of a holy God were fully satisfied.

Romans 3:25 ESV “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” 

Substitution – means that Christ took our place on the cross and died in our place.

1 Peter 2:24 ESV “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

 

John 10:11 ESV “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

 

Redemption – literally means to buy back.  Picture of purchasing a slave from the slave market.  Christ paid the price for our sins and set us free.

1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 

Galatians 3:13 ESV “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—” 

Galatians 4:5 ESV “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” 

Reconciliation – means to reconcile – to change from one state to another.  Christ reconciled us from a state of enmity to a state of reconciliation and friendship.

Romans 5:10–11 ESV “5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

5:11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

 

Ransom – means the price paid for the release of a prisoner.

Matthew 20:28 ESV “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” 

3083 luvtron lutron {loo’-tron}    from 3089; TDNT – 4:328 & 4:340,543; n n •  AV – ransom 2; 2 •  1) the price for redeeming, ransom 1a) paid for slaves, captives 1b) for the ransom of life 2) to liberate  many from misery and the penalty of their sins  

Christ’s Death was:

Crucifixion 

“CRUCIFIXION  a common mode of punishment among heathen nations in early times. It is not certain whether it was known among the ancient Jews; probably it was not. The modes of capital punishment according to the Mosaic law were, by the sword (Exodus 21), strangling, fire (Leviticus 20), and stoning (Deut. 21).

This was regarded as the most horrible form of death, and to a Jew it would acquire greater horror from the curse in Deut. 21:23.

Deuteronomy 21:23 ESV “his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.”

This punishment began by subjecting the sufferer to scourging. In the case of our Lord, however, his scourging was rather before the sentence was passed upon him, and was inflicted by Pilate for the purpose, probably, of exciting pity and procuring his escape from further punishment (Luke 23:22; John 19:1).

The condemned one carried his own cross to the place of execution, which was outside the city, in some conspicuous place set apart for the purpose. Before the nailing to the cross took place, a medicated cup of vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh (the sopor) was given, for the purpose of deadening the pangs of the sufferer.”⁠3

 

Shameful death 

Hebrews 12:2 ESV “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Galatians 3:13 ESV “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—” 

Voluntary death

John 10:18 ESV “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”” 

Christ voluntarily went to the cross to die for our sins.  He suffered, bled, and died for our sins voluntarily.

Sacrificial death

Romans 3:21–26 ESV “3:21 ¶ But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—

3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

3:24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” 

He died as a sacrifice for our sins.  He was pure, holy, and sinless.  He paid the price for our sins.

Why did Christ have to die?

Sin demands a payment.

Romans 6:23 ESV “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Only a pure, perfect, and sinless sacrifice could pay the price for man’s sins.

John 3:16 ESV “¶ “For  God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” 

Romans 5:6–8 ESV “5:6 ¶ For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

5:7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—

5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

Conclusion

Hebrews 9:22 ESV “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

Christ died in order to reconcile us to the Father and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Without the suffering and death of Christ on the cross, we would still be in our sins.

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1 Wiley, H. Orton, Christian Theology volume II,  Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City Mo.  page177

2 Enns Paul, the Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press, Chicago, p. 87

3 From Easton Bible Dictionary

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