In yesterday’s post, I referred to Jesus as “the sinless Son of God.” In response one of our readers commented: “I am worried about your promotion of Jesus as ‘sinless.’”.
Then she added, “ I know Scripture and Christian teaching affirm Jesus as ‘sinless’”. However, the definition of sin has divided Christians. So perhaps you can write a blog and explain how the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and the Protestants see sin and how Jesus and the cross redeem sinners…”
Honestly, I am more concerned about what the Bible says about sin than what Protestants and Catholics teach.
What is Sin?
The Bible defines sin in four ways:
(1) Sin is unrighteousness.(I Jn 5:7). It’s the moral violation of the Word and will of God. Its despicable, depraved, and disgraceful consequences are described in Romans 1:19-32.
(2) Sin is a transgression of God’s law. “Sin is lawlessness” (I Jn. 3:5). While governments try to legislate acceptable behavior by enacting more laws, they forget that God’s law is supreme and takes precedence over human legislation.
(3) Sin is a failure to do good. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jas 4:17). Deliberately refusing goodness is to reject God. Because God is good. And the epitome of goodness (Ps 73:1, Ex 34:6).
(4) Sin a violation of our conscience. (Rom 14:23). Of course, this can’t be the only criterion, because the conscience can be misguided. But when scripturally taught and understanding the first three definitions of sin, we need to heed our moral governor.
Sin is serious. The Bible teaches that sin is an affront to a holy God (Gen 39:9). It separates us from the fellowship of God (Isa 59:1-2). Its wages are death (Rom. 3:23). And all of us are guilty of sin (Rom. 3:23). Except….
Did Jesus ever sin?
Regardless of what human doctrines teach, the Bible is very clear on this point. Jesus was sinless.
After three-and-a-half years of public scrutiny, at his trial, the suborned witnesses could find nothing to condemn Him (Matt 26:59-60).
Pilate, the presiding Governor, three times said, “I find no fault in Him” (Jn 18:38; 19:4,6).
Judas, the turncoat disciple, admitted, “I have betrayed innocent blood (Matt 27:4)
The apostle John who followed Jesus throughout his ministry testified, “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin” (I Jn 3:5).
The apostle Paul, who once persecuted Christians and by his own admission sought to do “many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth affirmed: “For our sake (God) made (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
Finally, the apostle Peter who knew Jesus as intimately as anyone declared: (Jesus) committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22).
Sanctification in Christ
Because Jesus was sinless, He became our perfect sacrifice for sin. The Hebrew writer argued that “the blood of bulls and goats” under the Old Testament system could not take away sin. However, the blood of Jesus, “without spot” possessed the power to cleanse us from sin (Heb. 9:11-15).
Paul taught that in Christ we enjoy “righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30). When we, like Paul, accept Christ as savior and are “baptized for the remission of sins” (Ax 2:38), our sins are washed away (Ax 22:16) by the sinless blood of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:5).
This brings about our sanctification. To sanctify is to set apart. To dedicate to Jehovah’s use. To separate us from the world and bring us into fellowship with God. It speaks to the holy life we now pursue.
This brief explanation reminds us of the seriousness of sin and the high price Jesus paid that we might be free from the guilt of sin. It also encourages us to abstain from sinful practices because of our sanctification (1 Thess 4:13).
Sanctification is a lifetime commitment and challenge for every disciple. As Ian W. Thomas expressed it: “To be in Christ — that is redemption, but for Christ to be in you — that is sanctification!”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman