Jesus a sinner?

Posted: December 14, 2011 by J in General

We have been exploring the idea that Jesus inherits Adam’s fallen humanity. And especially the worry that if he does, he inherits his guilt and curse as well.

Why does this idea bother us?

Perhaps because we want to say Jesus was a perfect, pure, spotless sin offering at the cross. That’s an understandable concern: his sacrifice must be acceptable to God. Let’s give this some thought. What are the conditions for Jesus’ sacrifice being acceptable? What do the Scriptures say? Not much, actually. To make an effective sacrifice, ‘he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect’, he needed to be ‘merciful and faithful’ (Hebrews 2:17). His offering was ‘fragrant’ to God when he ‘loved us and gave himself up for us’. The blood of Christ was ‘like that of like that of a lamb without defect or blemish’ (1 Peter 1:18), and this picks up on the Mosaic requirement that the sacrificial lamb be without blemish (e.g. Exodus 12:5).

In what way is Jesus like a lamb with no blemish? Peter doesn’t explain. But soon after he speaks of ‘purifying your souls through obedience.’ It’s not too much of a stretch to see Jesus’ faithful obedience, his not committing sin, as the way in which he is like a lamb without blemish.

So the requirements seem to be that Jesus become one of us, become like us, that he be able to sympathise with us and be merciful, that he be faithful to his calling, that he love us and give himself willingly. These are conditions Scripture sets out for Jesus’ becoming an sacrifice acceptable to God.

However, it’s hard to find anything in Scripture that suggests Jesus’ offering of himself would not be acceptable if he shared our fallen human nature.

Seems that maybe our worries are not needed. We don’t need to deny that he shared in Adam’s sinful humanity in order to preserve his effective sacrifice. In fact, if we deny his fallen humanity, we call his sacrifice into question: he was not made like us.

It’s enough to say – as all the NT writers say – that Jesus was faithful, and hence a sin offering without blemish.

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