Jesus Was Not a Sinner

Quite literally, until yesterday I had no idea that there were ministers in our ranks that believed that Jesus was a sinner. Yet in [a recent discussion], I learned that some do believe that Jesus had a sinful nature or an Adamic nature.

When I regained consciousness I felt it was appropriate to write a proper reply to this premise that in order for Jesus to be a “true man” he had to have a sinful nature. I believe this to be a true anomaly and does not reflect the heart of the apostolic, oneness movement. In fact, I would say that this believe is an aberration across the spectrum of all Christianity. I love my brothers, but I do not love the error of this doctrine.

I have traveled around the world, taught in Bible Colleges in several nations, visited at least 1,000 of our churches and had never heard anyone state that Jesus had a sinful nature until yesterday. How many others are out there who hold this view?

First and foremeost, this view is contrary to the official position of the UPCI. I quote from our position paper on the True Humanity of Christ, UPCI Manual 2010, Pages 174 – 180; “Christ’s true humanity does not mean He had a sinful nature, for sin cannot attach itself to deity. Moreover, a sinful nature was not originally part of the human race. (See Genesis 1:27, 31). Christ was subject to all human temptations and infirmities, but he was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He committed no sin and sin was not in Him (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5)”

Secondly, is is a fallacy to contend that Jesus had to have a sinful nature to really be a true man. As is reflected in the paragraph above, we need to consider Adam. Was Adam created as a sinner? Surely God would have never declared that, “it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Adam is called in the New Testament the “Son of God” (Luke 3:38). Would someone contend that Jesus was lower in stature than the first Adam? The first Adam was not created with a sinful nature, rather the sinful nature was imparted to him due to his disobedience, He did not “have” to sin, but rather he “chose” to sin. God did not create Adam with a burning desire to sin inherent within his being, but he did possess a free will, which caused him to disobey. It was at that time that he was cursed with the curse that has been passed down to every subsequent human being since – the Adamic nature. (Ps 51:5).

The believe that Jesus had a sinful nature belittles the importance of the virgin birth. If Jesus was just a man like every other man, sin and all, then why bother impregnating a virgin? Just take any child and at them moment of conception infuse the divine nature of God with the growing baby. This doctrine of Ebonionism, that Jesus was a mere man that God adopted, has been around for centuries. It is still a false doctrine.

The purpose of the virgin birth was two-fold. It was to ensure that Jesus was a partaker of the full nature of humanity, while at the same time escaping the inevitable curse of sin that the male seed would have imparted into His being. It also ensured that Jesus would be both the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God”. To say that the baby born in Bethlehem was a sinner is to defy both logic and Scriptural principle.

For some reason the argument is offered that if Jesus had a sinful nature, it makes Him a better Saviour. This is the same type of logic displayed by those refuted by Paul in Romans 6:1, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” (ESV) that somehow the presence of sin makes the grace of God more amazing. Au contraire, the fact that Jesus lived His entire human life and did not fall as Adam did, though possessing the same human flesh as Adam, presents to us a true Saviour, a spotless lamb, a true mediator and a faithful high priest, who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”. (Hebrews 4:15)

Somehow, it is argued, Jesus had to have a sinful nature to really be a true part of humanity. The purpose of his taking humanity, like ours yet without sin, was to prove that man could live above sin. Furthermore Paul was very clear, that Jesus came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3). It would have been impossible for Jesus to be truly Divine God, while at the same time being a sinful man. His nature would not have permitted such a union. Jesus’ “person” was a perfect union between the human and the divine. All that He did and said flowed from that perfect union. (BTW – that is why Jesus could not have sinned – He would have had to separate His divine nature from His human nature – which would have been both impossible to do and would have rendered Him no longer the Son of God).

Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”. If Jesus had possessed a sinful nature, He would have equally been subject to the consequences of that sinful nature, being death. The victory of Christ was that death had no hold on Him. His sinless nature separated Him from all humanity to make Him the firstfruits of the resurrection. No matter how righteous the OT saints lived, they died in sin and thus were condemned to the grave. Jesus, without a sinful nature, could not be held captive by the grave. Acts 2:24 “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” I Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

To quote from “Doctrines of the Bible”, J. L. Hall & David Bernard Editors, page 145, “True human nature does not have to be sinful, For God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in a state of moral innocence.” The doctrine of Jesus being a sinner places Jesus in a less glorious condition than the first Son of God. This cannot be! 1 Corinthians 15:45- 49 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” With that in mind, and John’s declaration that “we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2), how on earth are we going to go from corruption to incorruption if Jesus is in a state of corruption. To counter this by stating that Jesus “stopped being a sinner” at the cross or somewhere else is to plunge into the doctrine that Jesus was the first “born-again” man, one commonly held among the Word Faith / charismatic movement. This is heresy.

Continuing from “Doctrines of the Bible”, “In fact, sinful human nature is a distortion and perversion of God’s original design for humanity, for Satan tempted Adam and Eve in their state of innocence.”

Also “How did He avoid inheriting Adam’s sinful nature, unlike the rest of the race? From a legal viewpoint, the sinful nature comes from the father…. The Father of Jesus was the Holy Spirit of God, so Jesus did not have a sinful father from which to inherit a sinful nature. Moreover the Spirit of God sanctified Christ in the womb of Mary, separating Him from any taint of sin and keeping Him pure.”

In regards to the temptations of Jesus Christ, it is contended that in order for the temptations to have any effect, Jesus had to have a sinful nature. Adam was tempted in the garden without a fallen nature. Jesus, possessing absolute human flesh, untainted by the Adamic curse, stood where Adam stood spiritually, not in a paradise but in a fallen, corrupted and sinful world, and overcame every possible and imaginable temptation. Thus the temptation of Christ, and His overcoming of those temptations is made far more glorious. In a world marred by sin, with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life beckoning from every nook and cranny, Jesus stood strong and did not sin, unlike the first Son of God Adam. Thus Jesus is able to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, 2:18)

Additionally, the word “tempted” in the Greek language (peirazo) (Matt 4:1), as applied to the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness do not simply imply a temptation to sin or fail, but they also mean to try and to prove the righteousness of someone or something, even as gold is tried in the fire, not to destroy it but to prove its purity. “NT:3985 signifies (1) “to try, attempt, assay” (see TRY); (2) “to test, try, prove,” in a good sense, said of Christ and of believers, Heb 2:18, where the context shows that the temptation was the cause of suffering to Him, and only suffering, not a drawing away to sin, so that believers have the sympathy of Christ as their High Priest in the suffering which sin occasions to those who are in the enjoyment of communion with God; so in the similar passage in 4:15; in all the temptations which Christ endured, there was nothing within Him that answered to sin. There was no sinful infirmity in Him. While He was truly man, and His divine nature was not in any way inconsistent with His Manhood, there was nothing in Him such as is produced in us by the sinful nature which belongs to us;” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

My brothers, this is not a mere nuance. This is a fundamental doctrine of the church. The teachings concerning the nature of Christ are foundational to all of our beliefs. I shall choose to stand by the Scripture and the accepted and declared doctrine of the United Pentecostal Church. On this neither the Scripture nor the Church has been silent.

Written by Pastor Craig Sully

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