The Sinlessness of Christ

The Doctrine of Christ - Lesson # 4

I. Definitions

A. What do we mean by "sinless" in the negative sense? - 1 Pet. 2:22

B. What do we mean by "sinless" in the positive sense? - Acts 10:38

II. Scriptures

A. The evidence for the sinlessness of Jesus was quite diverse. It came not only from sympathetic friends who might have been inclined to exaggerate, but also it came from people who were quite neutral concerning Jesus. Most surprising of all, evidence even came from those who were not sympathetic to his cause. The testimony of Jesus himself may be the most valuable of all. The better people are, the more they tend to be aware of minor faults in their own lives. The more evil people are, the more they tend to minimize major sins in their lives. The inner person of Jesus shows no evidence that he was aware of any sin or wrongdoing in his life. For him to claim that he was without sin was either one of the most arrogant claims ever made by a human being, or it was the truth. Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar, or the Lord. All other evidence tends to confirm the claim for Jesus' sinlessness, so Christians believe he was perfect and without blemish.

B. Key scriptures - Sometimes the evidence is only implied rather than stated, e.g. calling Jesus "holy" might imply his perfection and purity.

1. Sympathetic witnesses

a. Peter - Lk. 5:8; 1 Pet. 1:19; 2:22; 3:18; Jn. 6:69; Acts 3:14

b. John - 1 Jn. 2:1, 29; 3:5, 7; Acts 4:27

c. Paul - 2 Cor. 5:21

d. The writer to the Hebrews - Heb. 2:10; 4:15; 5:8-9; 7:26, 28; 9:14

e. Stephen - Acts 7:52

f. Ananias - Acts 22:14

g. The early Christians - Acts 4:30

h. The angel Gabriel - Lk. 1:35

2. Unsympathetic witnesses

a. Jewish leaders - Mt. 26:55-59; Mk. 14:48-56; Lk. 22:52-53; Jn. 18:20-21

b. Judas - Mt. 27:4

c. The demons - Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34

3. Neutral witnesses

a. Pilate - Mt. 27:18, 23-24; Mk. 15:14; Lk. 23:4, 14-15, 22; Jn. 18:38; 19:4-6

b. Pilate's wife - Mt. 27:19

c. The thief on the cross - Lk. 23:41

d. The centurion - Lk. 23:37

4. Jesus' own testimony

a. Jn. 8:46; 14:30; 15:25; 18:23

b. His perfect obedience - Jn. 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 7:18; 8:29, 55; 15:10; 17:4; Lk. 22:42; Heb. 10:5-7

III. Significance of the sinlessness of Christ

A. Why was Christ's sinlessness necessary for the atonement? What kind of lamb was to be offered in the Old Testament? If Christ was guilty of sin, then why could his death not be vicarious for us (Rom. 6:23)?

B. How is the sinlessness of Christ important in his role as an example?

C. How is the sinlessness of Christ significant in Christ's role as a mediator between God and mankind?

D. In what way is the sinlessness of Christ, his perfect moral character, an argument for his deity?

E. Christ became perfect (Heb. 5:9). How could Christ become "perfect" and yet never have been "imperfect"? Was this growth from sinfulness to sinlessness or was it some other type of growth?

F. Can you name a hymn which alludes to Christ's sinlessness?

G. Memory verse - 1 Jn. 3:5