Jesus had many sayings that warn us regarding the nature of sin itself. A few of these include, “Sin is a master to whom we become enslaved” (John 8:34), only the truth will set us free (John 8:32) and “For the Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). If you’ve ever wondered if Jesus in fact lived a sinless life, you are not alone. It is impossible for us to live a sinless life, so it makes sense that we would wonder if Jesus ever slipped along the way. To answer the question of whether Jesus lived a sinless life, the best place we can turn is Scripture.
The Bible tells us directly that Jesus never once sinned. The angel Gabriel testified to Jesus sinless life when He announced the coming birth of Jesus to Mary. Luke 1:35 says, “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called holy the Son of God.’” This is the first time this description was used on a child that was born.
There were many others throughout Scripture that testified to Jesus’ sinless nature. The Apostle John said, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). The Apostle Paul wrote , “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Even the writer of Hebrews testified this, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). When sin is discussed, it is in reference to breaking the law of God. If Jesus did this in any way, He would be a sinner but He never did, even though He was tested and tempted countless times.
Jesus was attacked after He had fasted for 40 days. The Bible tells us, “[Jesus] had fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards He was famished. The tempter came and said to Him, ‘If indeed you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:2-3). The devil attempted to attack Jesus at one of his lowest points physically. He was hoping Jesus would sin so that He could challenge God and Jesus’ very nature but Jesus didn’t take the bait.
While we know that it isn’t in Jesus’ nature to sin, we do know from Scripture that it is in our nature. We can look at Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul famously makes a comparison between Adam and Christ. From Adam comes death and the moral consequences of sin. From Christ comes the healing of human nature – with Christ acting as a second Adam, a new head of the human race that makes the right choice, which has positive effects for those who are united to Him.
Scripture also tells us we are born sinners and our very nature is to sin. The Bible says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12); “one trespass led to condemnation for all men” (Romans 5:18); and “In Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Knowing this, it is no wonder that David wrote in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Ephesians is another book of the Bible that people connect with original sin. Ephesians 2:2 says that all people who are not in Christ are “sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:3 also establishes this, saying that we are all “by nature children of wrath.” If this is the case, it can only be because we are all by nature sinners. While God did not create the human race sinful, but upright, we fell into sin and became sinful due to the disobedience of Adam.
We are supposed to avoid sin but this can be quite a task because we are sinful beings. As much as we don’t want to, we still sin in our daily lives because of the sinful nature that was injected into us through the fall. Because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin, and our sin separates us from him, becoming a barrier to our fellowship with Him and even causing us to lose the joy of our salvation. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have become a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that He does not hear.” The seriousness of sin should make us realize we cannot tolerate it or give sin any ground in our lives.
It’s also important that we don’t miss the message of sin in the Bible. The common description of the great chasm of sin is that we’re on one side and God is on the other, and Jesus’ cross provides a bridge over which we can walk to God again. However, this isn’t a description of the Gospel and when we focus on this illustration, we lose sight of the fullness of its message. It’s a description of the story of original sin and original sin isn’t the Gospel. The Gospel is not the story of us being separated by sin from God. It’s the story of God who is for us and intent on being with us that God became human to help us embody the wholeness and fullness of life we’ve been made for. This isn’t the story of separation. It’s the story of invitation and participation.
We all struggle with sin every day. We know that in the Kingdom of Heaven “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). This is only possible because of Jesus. We have no fear of being judged for our sin because it was already judged and taken away at the cross by Christ.