Do you believe in the peccability or impeccability of Christ?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bronconagurski, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Bronconagurski

    Bronconagurski
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    0
    Peccability meaning Christ could have sinned, but did not. Impeccability meaning Christ could not have sinned. I will give a scripture as a reference, but there may be others you would like to add. Please explain this scripture:

    Hebrews 4:14-15 (ESV)
    14 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.
    15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

    How could Jesus be tempted in all points, yet could not sin? I know what I believe, but would like to hear what others say. By the way, I can't take credit for the question because it came on a little blip after I listened to R.C. Sprouls this morning.
     
  2. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    1
    I believe in the "peccability".....I suppose that I can accept the possibility that I am mistaken, but I don't think so. If he COULD not sin, then he was simply not really tempted in any meaningful sense as far as I can tell, nor can he empathize in any real way with our temptations as that passage is meant to convey. He did not posses a penchant towards corruption. He did not posses a nature which was pre-disposed towards sin, as we now do. I don't think Adam did either. We all now do, thus, to be without sin (for us) is ostensibly not possible. For Christ, it was possible, as it was for Adam. But, although "capable" of sin, Christ did not sin. I think any other belief stands not upon it's own merits, but as a necessary posistion held to conform to certain Soteriological assumptions. Not having heard Sproul's own view yet...my prediction...He believes in the "impeccability".....I think (rather unfortunately actually IMO) your differing opinions are going to rest with Soteriological views, and not the question on it's own merit.
     
    #2 HeirofSalvation, Sep 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2012
  3. 12strings

    12strings
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,743
    Likes Received:
    0
    On the one hand...I can see how the reformed view of history would tend to hold to impeccability, due to the view that all things are pre-ordained...such that Jesus not sinning was pre-ordained, making a sin impossible. In addition, one of the driving motivations in reformed through it God's glory, greatness, perfection and immutability (not saying others don't believe in these also), so that just emotionally, the suggestion that Jesus could have sinned SEEMS to diminish his God-hood...So you are probably correct that there will be very few reformed-heads who will say Jesus Could have sinned.


    On the Other hand...I don't see the non-reformed soteriological position as being inconsistent with an impeccable view of Christ. Jesus is God, The bible says God cannot sin. In addition, A peccable view would seem to say that God can't follow through on his purposes, in that Jesus came to earth for the purpose of living a sinless life and dying on the cross for our sins...If he came with that set purpose, but actually could have done something else...it doesn't say much for God's inner fortitude.

    (Disclaimer: I am probably more reformed than not, so maybe I'm missing some part of Arminian thought that necessitates a peccable Christ)
     
  4. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    1
    I agree with you completely....Except for this of course:

    By which, I mean, that I simply don't think these things follow, nonetheless:

    I think that a more Reformed View usually would hold to the "impeccability" (and they usually do). Although I believe they could consistently be reformed and believe in "peccability" They usually don't though. Similarly, I find that the non-reformed are more likely to tend towards "peccability" but, again, I don't think they HAVE to...I don't think view either is trapped into believing one or the other...I think they BOTH could hold either one...which is why I think it is unfortunate that the argument doesn't exist in a vacuum. I suppose I wish it did.
    I think the arguments RARELY stand on their own merits alone. I think that he was "peccable" but my non-reformed POV would not be ruined if I am mistaken.
     
  5. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll take the other hand of the hand :)

    I know some of my reformed friends that stand resolutely on the fact that Jesus 'could have' sinned but 'did not'. However the phrase 'could not' would refer to the point he had no option, thus he could not be tempted, or see the potential appeal.

    Jesus was indeed God, but he was also indeed man (not part man, not 3/4's, but fully man). In that we see that he had potential options placed before him. Take the garden scene.. in which he prayed for the cup to be taken from him, yet not MY will but yours be done.

    What does this tell us. There are two wills at work in the garden. He doesn't desire to be removed from the Father's will, but in relation to His own, he makes the request for God to consider changing it- but he qualifies this with, "yet not my will, but yours be done."

    Jesus did not have a sin nature therefore He was not drawn or bent toward sin as all men, yet that does not negate the fact that sin still has a 'tempting' type of appeal. How was Jesus tempted in the Wilderness if He could not have considered them an option.

    I believe the distinction here is what must be clarified.. Him being 'tempted'. This is not being drawn to something as a moth to a flame, but simply to see an appeal in something without having to be drawn to it. Remember, when we sin we are 'drawn away' by our own lusts (meaning we seek to meet those desires quickly and without regard). Jesus was 'tempted' yet without sin. he saw the appeal but was not swayed toward the device.
     
    #5 Allan, Sep 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2012
  6. HisWitness

    HisWitness
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,483
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jesus was fully Man,but also Jesus was God himself in the flesh,there is a difference though,Men fail to see that WE are fallen men with the SIN nature.
    Jesus was fully man,but he DID NOT have the fallen nature of SIN as we have it today and as men in his day even.Jesus was born PERFECT and without SIN and could not SIN because he was GOD,he did suffer extreme temptation that NO man will ever reach the point of,he suffered this and all he suffered(not trying to avoid sinning)but that he might help us in time of need.

    hebrews chap 4 verse 15-we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;but was in all points tempted like as WE are,YET without sin.

    verse 16-let us therefore(in light of what was just stated)come bodly unto the throne of grace,that WE may obtain mercy,and find grace to HELP in time of NEED.
     
  7. Bronconagurski

    Bronconagurski
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe in the impeccability of Christ because I think the scriptures teach it, especially in this verse: James 1:13 (ESV)
    13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

    I know some will say that God couldn't sin, but the humanity of Jesus could. I disagree. If Jesus sinned then God could sin. If the peccability of Christ is true, then could Jesus now sin in heaven?

    I will refer to Chafer once again, one of my favorite writers of Systematic Theology. I have the set in print and on esword.

    3. Of Christ. a. Here it is necessary to distinguish between “able not to sin” and “not able to sin.” Impeccability means the latter. Christ alone among men was not able to sin.
    b. Christ was theanthropic, possessing both human and divine natures. The divine nature, to be sure, is neither peccable nor temptable (Jas_1:13). Some teach accordingly that the impeccability was due to His omnipotence and omniscience, or having infinite power and wisdom to maintain holiness. In other words, He was not able to sin because of the divine nature.
    c. His other nature, by reason of being human, was both peccable and temptable, even apart from the influence of a fallen, sin nature which He necessarily did not share with the race (Heb_4:15); but of course what His human nature might have produced had it been alone and unsupported by the divine is only conjecture. The human element in Christ certainly was never separated from the divine; still, the divine proved ever the dominant factor in His theanthropic being. He was not a man, then, to whom the divine nature had been added. He rather was God, who took upon Him by incarnation the form of a man. He became thereafter an indivisible Person. Whatever either nature did, His whole being did. No other such person ever existed and there will never be another. Because of the presence of His divine nature with manhood, then, He is incomparable. He could not be rendered peccable by the presence of His human nature: instead He was an impeccable, theanthropic Person. Had His humanity sinned, God would have sinned. A wire may be bent when alone, but not after it is welded into an unbendable bar of steel. His humanity could not contradict or dishonor His Deity.
    d. If He, nevertheless in virtue of being both divine and human, was at the same time both omnipotent and impotent, omniscient and ignorant, infinite and finite, unlimited and limited, could it not be truthfully said that He was both impeccable and peccable? As human, it may be replied, He could be impotent, ignorant, finite, and limited without compromising Deity in the matter of sin; but He could hardly be peccable without so doing. And actually He did suffer weakness, pain, hunger, thirst, weariness, and even death, but without compromising Deity in sin.
    e. An impeccable person can be tempted in the same sense that an unconquerable city may be attacked. Christ was tempted, but through it only proved to everyone His impeccability. Being God, after all, He could not sin (cf. Joh_14:30).
    f. If peccable on earth, He would be peccable also in heaven (Heb_13:8). How well, then, would the Christian's standing and security be grounded?
     
  8. WITBOTL

    WITBOTL
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    It seems to me perhaps there is a misunderstanding as to what "could not sin" means with respect to impeccability. Why is it impossible for God to lie? Is he not omniscient? Does he somehow lack the mechanical faculties for lying? Or, is it impossible for God to lie because that would be a violation of his nature as a supremely holy God?

    Similarly, Jesus could not sin not because as a man he lacked the mechanical faculties or the fleshly temptations to sin, but because he was God and it would have been a violation of his character as supremely holy, which is impossible. Therefore Jesus must have been impeccable.

    This does not negate in a human sense for example feelings of hunger which might compel him to give in to Satan and eat. Those hunger pains were real and the desire to eat were real, but as God, he simply could not have given in to the temptation.
     
  9. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    I know it seems like a logical necessity, but why does temptability have to infer susceptability??? You can wave a gun and try to entice me all you want to shoot my wife (temptation), but there is no way I would be susceptible to such a thing.

    Sin goes against the character of God. It is the opposite of God. And the character of God as holy and righteous is what determines what is sin. Sin is not something that was arbitrarily created by God (conceptually). It was always that which contradicts the moral nature of God. Thus God cannot sin b/c it is contrary to his moral character. To say Jesus could have sinned is to infer that either he is not fully God or that God could sin.

    If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (Jn 14:9). Jesus only does the will of his father (Jn 8:28). Jesus can (as in ability) do nothing on his own (Jn 5:30). These verses make it seem like Jesus was limited... he could not contradict his own character which was the same as his Father's.
     
  10. Bronconagurski

    Bronconagurski
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    0
    I once heard some lectures by Elmer Towns and he said that Christ was tempted to do things he could have done. In the instance you give, Christ could have turned the stones to bread. But Towns said that Christ was never tempted to commit the sin of adultery, or to steal. Do you agree with that?
     
  11. WITBOTL

    WITBOTL
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0

    I truth, I don't know except that Heb. 4:15 says he was tempted in all points. I'm not sure I would limit the ways he may have been tempted. However, there must be a difference in temptation which lies and is sourced in and of ourselves due to our sin nature, and temptation that comes from external factors.
     
  12. awaken

    awaken
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,346
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jesus is the Jehovah God of the Old Testament. He is not a created being like we are, He is the one and only Son of God. Having faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior is the only way for us to be saved and have eternal life, as we are told in Acts 4:12: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

    In fact, on earth Jesus knew that He was God, He said that He was God, He did things that only God can do, He accepted worship that rightfully only belongs to God, and the Jewish religious leaders tried to stone Him for blasphemy because they understood that He was claiming to be God.

    Calling Jesus the "Son" of God does not mean that He is a created being. Humans and angels are created beings, but Jesus is the unique, one of a kind, one and only, Son of God. He is unique because He is 100% God and 100% man. His human nature was born of Mary, but His divine nature existed before the world began (see for example Romans 1:3-4 and John 17:5).
     
  13. plain_n_simple

    plain_n_simple
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,887
    Likes Received:
    5
    He gave up His Godly authority so He could be like us, capable of sin when tempted.
    He could not perform miracles as the natural man He was, but said His Father was doing them through Himself. As the last Adam He fully depended on the Father , as an example for us.
    Jesus was not "as God" on earth, that would be a worthless example.
     
    #13 plain_n_simple, Sep 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2012
  14. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you for your quote...I find it interesting...I will post my objections. I think this is a wonderful topic, worthy of discussion, which, might be reasonably disagreed upon by believers...so, for the sake of discussion...my rejoinder:

    Decidedly true..but, I think it has little to do with our topic, in that, all of us can distinguish between "The Father" and "The Son"....obviously, it is the unique aspects of Christ's humanity of which we speak...and not the essential nature of either the Father or the Son....Both of Them...in their Fundamental NATURE...are incorruptible....I agree, but this passage brings us to thinking of the Father, not the Son.

    For the sake of argument...allow me to pose the idea that "temptation" in this passage you cite is MOST properly defined by this passage itself in the proceeding verses:
    Jam 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
    Jam 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    Now, obviously, the Father suffers none of these issues...and cannot be properly spoken of as even possessing such a thing as a "lust" at all....He simply is NOT flesh and blood...only the Son is. But, the only "lusts" that are "his own" or "one's own" are lusts of the "flesh"...and the Father had no "flesh", the Son DID though...such as his capacity for physical hunger...Thus, the Son, at least, was indeed capable of possessing or experiencing a "fleshly" lust, and the Father simply is not, so they are not the same issue.

    An excellent definition by Chafer....this is what we should work off of.

    I think Chafer will defeat himself with his own arguments here, basically because this is somewhat question-begging...I think he assumes his own conclusions as he shapes his arguments.

    c. His other nature, by reason of being human, was both peccable and temptable, even apart from the influence of a fallen, sin nature which He necessarily did not share with the race (Heb_4:15);

    I agree with him, but this doesn't help him...so, he attempts to defeat what he just said with this:
    but of course what His human nature might have produced had it been alone and unsupported by the divine is only conjecture.
    I am not so sure I agree with him...I think he is arguing from an assumed ignorance....I think we DO KNOW, and it isn't "conjecture"....He would have sinned...I think what we need to do is add the element of THESE passages in Hebrews to round out the idea...I don't think this discussion is complete without these verses:

    Hbr 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

    Note, that the Greek words for the bolded "partakers" and "took part" are different words. They are here:

    Partakers: κοινωνέω koinōneō
    1) to come into communion or fellowship with, to become a sharer, be made a partner
    2) to enter into fellowship, join one's self to an associate, make one's self a sharer or partner

    Took part: μετέχω metechō

    Whatever we are to glean from this passage...I believe it is significant to our understanding...but I disagree with Chafer here:

    Had His humanity sinned, God would have sinned.
    I am simply not sure this is true..."Sin" does not exist outside of the mandates or is not even an intelligible concept outside of the Divine Will and the Divine Nature....I don't know how he supports this idea.

    But, He says this...and this makes no sense to me...

    d. If He, nevertheless in virtue of being both divine and human, was at the same time both omnipotent and impotent, omniscient and ignorant, infinite a.
    nd finite, unlimited and limited, could it not be truthfully said that He was both impeccable and peccable? As human, it may be replied, He could be impotent, ignorant, finite, and limited without compromising Deity in the matter of sin; but He could hardly be peccable without so doing. And actually He did suffer weakness, pain, hunger, thirst, weariness, and even death, but without compromising Deity in sin


    I bolded this because it is an inaccurate representation IMO....he seems to equivocate between the "CAPACITY" to sin and the "ACTUALIZATION" of sin...one who holds to "peccability" doesn't think he DID sin...only that he was capable of it....Chafer seems to say here, that the possibility is synonymous with the actuality, and this is not so.

    e. An impeccable person can be tempted in the same sense that an unconquerable city may be attacked. Christ was tempted, but through it only proved to everyone His impeccability. Being God, after all, He could not sin

    Given what I said above...This is circular...He is Equivocating between the capacity to sin and the actuality of "having sinned"....this is a circular argument.
     
  15. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    13,378
    Likes Received:
    728
    :thumbs::applause::thumbs::applause:
     
  16. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,646
    Likes Received:
    223
    :thumbs: He is the uncorruptible God. It is impossible for God to lie, and He cannot deny Himself. It is impossible for God to sin.
     
  17. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,515
    Likes Received:
    49
    An interesting and thoughtful thread, it enlightened me.

    James tells us we are drawn away from God by three things, (1) Satan, (2) the world, and (3) our fleshly desires.

    If we look at Matthew 4, we see Satan trying to get Jesus to use His divine powers to satisfy His hunger. But Jesus informs us that would not be in accord with God's expressed will, by which we are to live.

    Next Satan asks Jesus to be reckless to cause God to use divine power to keep Him from harm. But Jesus again says we are not to test God, i.e. do things which require God's action to prevent harm.

    Finally Satan asks Jesus to serve him rather than God, but Jesus says no dice.

    The first two temptations would not be applicable to me, lacking divine power, but number three hits me square in the head.

    Ditto for friendship toward the world, the temptations of wealth and honor. Was Jesus attracted to wealth and honor from the world? I doubt it. He saw the world as a snare. We are to be the light of the world, not be conformed to the world. Salty salt so to speak.

    Finally, of course Jesus was human, with fleshly desires, sleep/rest, food, comfort, etc. He certainly could experience pain and suffering and had the desire to avoid same.

    Therefore we have a High Priest who understands temptation, ours and beyond ours, and thus we can share our innermost feelings and desires with Him in prayer.

    Jesus is our model of humility, and we should not diminish that model by turning it into stone.
     
  18. Bronconagurski

    Bronconagurski
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for your well thought out responses. I agree that Chafer's argument is somewhat circular, but so are the arguments for peccability imo. It's like how do we know the bible is the word of God, and someone says, because it says it is, and God can't lie. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that Jesus could sin, given God can't be tempted with evil. The capability to sin but didn't isn't encouraging to me. I also have a hard time wrapping my head around how Jesus could be tempted in all points like we are if he could not sin. It seems like those on the side of peccability focus on the human part of Jesus, and people like me focus on the God side. But the truth is He was both God and man at the same time, and I don't know if we can ever fully understand that.
     
  19. Bronconagurski

    Bronconagurski
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    0
    And we are also tempted by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Could Jesus have been tempted in those ways by Satan? Maybe I am thinking about individual sins too much instead of the way we are tempted, like you mentioned.
    And, yes, the main thing is that we can approach the throne of grace to find help in time of need. We can never take that for granted nor fail to exercise our faith in the Gods help and mercy.
     
  20. HeirofSalvation

    HeirofSalvation
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    1
     

Share This Page

Loading...