Last week at the Seminary, we had the privilege of a guest preacher in chapel. During his sermon he shared a powerful illustration about his love for his bride—that speaking accurately about her is not the same as love for her, but since he loves her, he will always seek to speak accurately about her. He applied this, of course, to our love and commitment to the Lord Jesus. Having accurate theology about Christ is not the same as love for Christ, but if we love him we will always seek to speak rightly about him.
It was a beautiful illustration, an accurate illustration, and a helpful illustration. Assuredly we are not saved by correct theology—but we who are saved should relentlessly pursue correctly thinking about and speaking about the One we love.
There is one area, however, about our precious Lord Jesus that seems to be falling out of vogue when it comes to speaking rightly about him. That area of theology is what theologians refer to as the “impeccability of Christ”. Now before you click away and go read a more “entertaining” blog post, please allow me to explain, because as the illustration above points out, this is worth it! We must want to know our Lord in a way that accords with his truth. The impeccability of Jesus means that Christ was unable to sin. Now, all who affirm the Bible would agree that Christ did not sin, but far fewer these days are willing to take the next step beyond his sinlessness and speak of the fact that Christ could not sin; or in other words, his impeccability.
The impeccability of Christ means that Jesus could not sin
The fact that Christ could not sin, flows from the simple truth that Christ cannot change. In Hebrews 13:8, the author says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” This short but incredibly profound sentence means that it would be impossible for our Savior to change. Elsewhere in Hebrews, the same author says of our Lord, that the heavens and earth change, but Jesus never does: “Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same” (Hebrews 1:12). Christ does not change, and cannot change. If it were possible for Jesus to change, then the book of Hebrews would also have to change, for it would no longer be true!
And just like the word of God (the Bible) cannot err, neither can the Word of God (the Son) err. After all, if Jesus could have sinned, then it would hypothetically be possible for God to sin or for God to change—and that simply is not possible (Mal. 3:6, Jam. 1:17).
At first, this idea might sound very odd and maybe even incorrect to your ears. After all, as the thinking goes: “Well, if Christ could not sin, then his time on earth was all just a big scam! He didn’t sin because he could not sin, so he cheated!” and we’re left with denying a very important aspect of Jesus’s character. No, the fact that Christ was and is impeccable does not mean he cheated during his time on earth. Let’s keep pressing into this idea as we explore how this could be the case.
As a teacher, I occasionally give take-home exams to my students. Let’s say I forbid them from using any notes, any books, any helps, and anything else besides sitting down with their own brains and completing the exam. Now, it would be very easy for a student to use their notes, books, and all kinds of helps in order to score a 100%, and I would be none-the-wiser. But if a student does score a 100% on my take-home exam, does that mean he cheated? Certainly not! He could have kept all resources closed, taken my exam as instructed, and still have scored a perfect. A hard feat indeed—incredibly taxing to do so flawlessly, but still achievable without bending the rules.
Christ, who is fully God and fully man, did not cheat on God’s “exam”. He humbled himself, took on human flesh, lived under the law, and as a man, perfectly obeyed God’s expectation of personal and perpetual obedience to His law. Jesus, our Savior, got a perfect on the test, and he did not rely on his divinity in order to “pass”. Simply because Christ is impeccable—unable to sin—does not mean that his sinless perfection is any less glorious or any less incredible! Christ succeeded at every point where we have failed. He was tempted in every way we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). But not only did he succeed without cheating, it could have never been otherwise, or else our God could have sinned and our God could change. Perish the thought, and may it never be so!
Let us think and speak rightly about our Beloved, dear friends, for we love him, and we want to honor him in the way we think about his perfect character. For after all, he is our impeccable Savior.