Sunday, December 2, 2012

Impeccability of Christ

The impeccability of Christ refers to it being impossible that Christ should have sinned. For Christ to be impeccable means that there was never any final danger of his falling, as Adam did, when he was tempted by the devil.

That Christ Both Is and Was Impeccable

For God to sin would be a contradiction, for it would be for him to declare, by his actions, something true which is not. If God says that a thing is true, then he does so out of his character. God created what is because of his character, and thus what God says and what God has said is true are both due to the same thing: God's character.

Christ lost none of the essential attributes of God when he was born as a man. If he had lost an essential attribute of God, then he would no longer be God, but Christ is God. If he were not God, then he would not have had the ability to bear the degree and amount of suffering which is due to us on account of our sin.

That Christ's Struggles with Sin Were Still Just as Great as Ours

To suggest that, because Christ could not sin, his temptations were such that he cannot really understand our struggles is to confuse the process with the outcome. It is true that Christ himself never sinned, but this does not diminish his struggle with it any more than his resurrection diminishes his suffering on the cross. His struggle was, itself, just as great as ours. His power to overcome it, however, was such that he overcame the temptation every time, for it would have been, at root, contrary to his character to fail to overcome any temptation to sin.

That Christ Even Understands Our Sinning

While Christ himself never sinned, he did experience what we experience when we sin, since he himself bore all of our sins on the cross. Thus, insofar as he payed for them, he knows what it is to have done them. Therefore, for any sin which we struggle with, he understands the struggle, and any sin we commit, he understands the ensuing guilt, since he bore that very guilt. Indeed, he understands our individual feelings of guilt better by virtue of having born them in his person on the cross than he could have by merely committing his own sins, even if that were possible.

That Christ's Impeccability is the Source of Our Power Over Sin

In our union with Christ, we are united with his righteousness both in his status and in his ability. In our union with him, we have the same power over sin by which Christ overcame every temptation (and by which he is impeccable). Not to say that we who are united with Christ are impeccable, until Christ returns, for we are still affected by a residue of sin, which is the desires of the flesh against which we strive.

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