Question #56: Prove that Christ was not able to sin in contrast to the view that He was able not to sin.
Answer: The Scriptural proofs that Christ was not able to sin is replete (e.g., 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26; 1 Jn 3:5; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22, etc.). The related proofs are at least three-fold:
1) immutability argues for impeccability (Heb 1:12; 13:8),
2) peccability implies weakness which contradicts omnipotence,
3) His omniscience argues for impeccability because ignorance is often the reason for sin [Eve] but Christ knew all things and the results of all things. The view that He was able not to sin is weak but notwrong because as Berkouwer puts it, “Christ was able not to sin because of His strong will” (Berkouwer, Person of Christ, 253). Moreover, it is safer to say that Christ was not able to sin because of His sinless nature. Clearly, His divine nature is neither peccable nor temptable (Jas 1:13), and yet His human nature is temptable but not necessarily susceptible, therefore, also not peccable.
Some may say that His human nature apart from His divine nature could sin but it is absurd to do so because His two natures are united in one Person forever. And besides, His sinless human nature (unlike Adam’s) has both the strong desire and design not to sin.
One-Minute Theology with Chaplain T features the question and answer portions of the Systematic Theology courses that were part of my seminary work at Piedmont Baptist Graduate School. I will be posting one Q & A everyday until my ordination council meeting set for February 2014.