The Holiness Of Jesus

I’ve written about God’s holiness before. I’ve written about the fact that we humans miss the mark when we try to attain His standard of purity. I’ve discussed the need for Christians to take seriously the Scriptural admonition to “be holy for I [the LORD] am holy.” But I think I may have overlooked the holiness of Jesus.

I was stunned a week or so ago (stunned, I tell you!) when in the atheist/theist Facebook group I belong to, a member identifying himself as a Progressive Christian said, more than once, he believe Jesus sinned.

At the time I didn’t ask him why he thought that. The current discussion was centered on something else and he made the comment more in passing than in anything else, as a response to something one of the atheists had said.

I’ve thought about it a lot since. I don’t know why this person would come up with such a notion. Clearly he is either unaware of what Scripture says about Jesus and sin or he doesn’t believe what it says. I’m not sure which. Either way, the fact is, the Bible is very clear about the holiness of Jesus. Take 1 Peter 2 as an example:

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; (vv 21-23; emphases here and in the following verses are mine)

Of course there is also the testimony of people who observed Jesus, such as the thief who turned to Him for salvation:

And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. (Luke 23:41)

The centurion—a Roman, who would typically have hated the Jews—came to the same conclusion:

Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent” [the word literally means righteous]. (Luke 23:47)

The Apostle Paul stated Jesus’s relation to sin in the clearest language:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21)

The writer to the Hebrews had the same understanding:

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. (Heb. 4:15)

In fact, the writer to the Hebrews built one of his main points on the reality that Jesus was without sin:

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; (Hebrews 7:26)

Because Jesus did not have His own sin to deal with, He could serve as our perfect High Priest.

As if these witnesses are not enough, the Apostle John gives voice to the same truth in his first letter:

You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5)

All this to say, anyone claiming that Jesus sinned must not know what the Bible says about Him, or has decided not to believe the Bible.

The question I have for someone who makes this claim is, Why would you call yourself a Christian? I don’t understand the point of adopting the name of a religion while rejecting its main tenets.

Actual Christians believe the Bible. We hold to it as the source of authoritative truth. We also believe that Jesus died to atone for the sins of the world. But as the writer to the Hebrews said, He couldn’t do that if He had his own sins to die for. The only Person qualified to stand in for someone else is a Person who would not have to forfeit His life for His own sins. Everyone else, living under the clear truth that the wages of sin is death, would have to die for his own sins.

So if Jesus sinned, there would be no redemption in Him. No one would be saved. So why would those people claiming this false idea call themselves Christians? They can’t believe in the substitutionary atonement. That means they are still living in their sins, they haven’t accepted the free gift of grace provided through Jesus.

In short, Jesus was holy or there is no salvation and no Christianity. Such a nonsensical idea that we could have a sinful savior. Such a fallacious idea that someone could claim to be a Christian and not believe in Jesus’s saving power.

And atheists wonder why I say that not everyone who names the name of Christ actually knows Him and believes in Him.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “anyone claiming that Jesus sinned must not know what the Bible says about Him or has decided not to believe the Bible.”

    Tell me Becky if I am wrong, and I know you will, but Jesus is part of God a third of the trinity, right?

    Maybe this naughty critical Christian has actually read the whole bible and discovered what atrocities God had done to thousands of people. Jesus was obviously the mellowed later version, however if Jesus was a third of the gang of three he was also involved, and to take lives you must be a sinner, right?

    Unless of course in the Old Testament there was half of God and half of the Holly Spirit as Jesus had not been born at that time, and of course, the Jews believe in monotheism the one and only entity as God.

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    • Steve, thanks for engaging this topic. Before I address your comment, let me ask, in Australia, is a judge who passes down a guilty verdict and assigns the appropriate punishment, considered to be doing wrong?

      In America judges aren’t viewed that way. They’re actually tasked to enforce the law and hold those found guilty, accountable.

      God is like that. So I suspect your rejection of God, or your criticism, if you’d rather, is not that He exercises His authority of bringing justice against the guilty, but rather that you (not you personally, but humans) want to decide who is guilty (if anyone) and what level of punishment they deserve. In other words, you want humankind to be in charge, not God.

      In truth, Scripture reveals that God is a righteous judge, slow to anger, and great in lovingkindness. In other words, He doesn’t fly off the handle when someone sins, He gives warnings, sometimes over generations, in order that a people might turn to Him. But when He acts or has acted in judgment, He is no more guilty of sin than is the human judge who metes out justice.

      As far as your remarks about the trinity, I know that the topic is not easy to understand, even for Christians. But Jesus is not “a third of God.” He is God as completely as the Father is God, as the Holy Spirit is God. And Jesus didn’t come into being when He entered the world as God Incarnate. He was, and is, and is to come. Scripture speaks of Him creating the world, though it also speaks of the Father creating the world. There really is no “both,” as hard as that is to understand, because the Bible also makes it clear that God is One. This mysterious tri-unity we worship is simply Other. God is very different than anything we are familiar with. That’s why He had to reveal Himself. Left on our own, there’s no way that we could conceive of God as one and yet three. There are other aspects of God that are equality mysterious, but I know the trinity can trip some people up.

      The self-styled “progressive Christian” (who you refer to as naughty critical Christian) may have read the whole Bible, but he certainly wouldn’t find any atrocities that God committed. You wouldn’t find them either, if you read the Bible, Steve. And since Jesus is God, has always been God, will always be God, there was no “mellowed later version.” What the Father hated, Jesus hated. That’s why He took a whip into the temple and chased out all the money changers who were making God’s house a “den of thieves” That’s why Jesus will carry out God’s judgment at the end of the age. The thing is, what Jesus loved is the same as what God loves. So when He cried at the death of His friend, perhaps thinking of the pain and suffering that mankind has to endure because of sin, that’s the same love that drove God to provide the free gift of salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His own son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

      Becky

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