Christ in the Flesh
By Monte Dearth
Weekly Study Archives

It has always been a popular question: why didn’t Jesus sin? This question is always able to produce a variety of answers. Modern-day Gnostics teach that Jesus seemed to come in a physical body, but really was not. They claim that the flesh is bad, therefore Jesus could not have come in the flesh. Therefore they claim that is was not possible for Jesus to sin. But let’s take a look at what the scripture has to say about it.

"Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." (Hebrews 2:14-15). The words likewise also in the Greek means the exact same thing or stuff, not a different stuff or a different nature. Jesus had a nature just like ours and was therefore able to sin.

However, we do know that "Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone." (James 1:13). So God cannot be tempted by evil or tempt anyone with evil, but He gave up that privilege when he came to earth. "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8). So He emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant.

"For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:16,17). The all in the above scripture is not a misinterpretation of the Greek but the actual words of the writer of Hebrews. If Jesus did not come in the flesh – if Jesus did was not able to sin at any second – if Jesus not overcome sin, the He cannot be our eternal high priest and he could not have made propitiation for our sins. This would make the cross a joke and our faith would be in vain.

But Jesus is our advocate (I John 2:1). "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16). I guess now is a good time to ask a question: how can a person be tempted to do something, but not be able to do it? - And they think we are crazy for not being able to understand this. "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." (Hebrews 2:18). Jesus was tempted in all things, yet He did not sin so He would be able to come to our aid. Amen.

How was it that Jesus was able to overcome sin?

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." (Galatians 5:16-17). So Jesus never let the flesh win out over the spirit. He was in the spirit at all times like He wants all Christians to be. For we know what causes sin: "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:14-15).

And what does the Bible say about those that teach that Jesus did not come fully in the flesh? "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world." (I John 4:2-3). And also, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." (II John 1:7).

Most other denominations teach that the body is bad and that as long as we live in it, we are going to sin. Jesus had an answer for that. "And He was saying, ‘That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.’" (Mark 7:20-23). So Christ said that all evil comes from within the man (or woman), and not from the flesh.

Sin gives man a deceitful and corrupt heart. So what will people do in order to continue living in that sin? "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." (II Timothy 4:2-4). Most people will always look for the easy way out and go, not through the narrow gate, but through the wide gate the leads to destruction. But we are supposed to be a loving people and keep our mouths shut and let them continue to be deceived.

So how is it that the life of Christ can be a huge help to our walk as Christians?

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:8-12). The word deity above in the Greek means all of God. So we have all of God in us through the Holy Spirit. Like it says in John 1:16, "For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace." We can overcome sin just like Christ did. We have the same power that Christ did - we just need to follow his example.