Some of you may be saying, “What?” That’s OK – let me explain.
This term refers to the times that Jesus was “tempted” by Satan. (Matthew 4) The question arises to whether or not it was possible for Jesus to sin. If you believe it was, then you would say Jesus was “Peccable.” Of course if you don’t believe it was possible for Jesus to sin then you are on the “Impeccable” side of the argument. Here’s the evidence for both. I’ll let you decide what you think:
In general, Arminians are mostly on the “peccable” side, while Calvinists are on the “impeccable” side of the argument. (Should I dare say that Arminians are peccable?jk)
Peccable – Hebrews 4:15 – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.” Proponents of this view say that in order for temptation to be real, it must be possible. If it was impossible for Jesus to sin, then it wasn’t real temptation and He wouldn’t be able to sympathize with His people.
Impeccable – The purpose of the temptation of Jesus was to prove that He couldn’t sin and could therefore be trusted in the ministry He was about to begin. You should also notice that it was the Holy Spirit (not Satan) who initiated the temptation. If Christ could have sinned, then the Holy Spirit invited Christ to sin, but according to James 1:13, that’s not something that a Holy God can do.
Remember, Jesus had two natures – He was the God-man. If Christ was peccable, then His human nature could overpower His God-nature. That just seems crazy to believe. Can the finite nature within Jesus be stronger than the infinite?
Weakness is implied by temptation and Jesus is omnipotent – all-powerful. There was no weakness of any kind in Him.
Jesus was born without a sin nature. There was nothing inside of Him to respond to the temptation and therefore couldn’t sin.
Jesus knows everything – past, present, and future. Sin depends on ignorance, in order for the sinner to be deceived. Jesus could be deceived and therefore, couldn’t sin.
In moral decisions, Jesus could only have one will – the will of His Father. Is it possible for God to sin? Of course not.
Jesus was able to conquer death – He had authority over it. Sin is less powerful than death. How could you be tempted by something you had authority over?
I guess it’s pretty clear that I’m on the “impeccable” side of this argument. There just seems to be alot more evidence and it makes sense.
How does this impact my life? In some ways I must admit that I feel convicted. Jesus had two natures in Him and of course the God-nature always won out. I have been given the Holy Spirit to influence me and my flesh still wins out sometimes. I understand cognitively that it’s because of my sin nature. . . .I just feel convicted because I don’t like that Holy Spirit’s work get crushed within me, by my sinful self. There’s also something comforting knowing that Jesus could never sin – that means He can be trusted forever. It means I know more of Him to know this about His character. It means I’ve been drawn closer to Him.
Just another thought – In answering this question about how these concepts will impact my life, I feel very inadequate. Many of these concepts are pretty new to me and therefore I don’t know how they’re gonna impact things for me. They certainly will shape my theological standpoints and my understanding of God’s character. As life rolls along – these concepts which are just seeds right now, will take root and change my life in ways that I could never explain right now. By the way, to you Professor Shockley, “thank you for these assignments – I do believe they will make a difference in my life.”
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg 236-238)
One Reply to “Impeccability”
Charles Hodge, certainly no Arminian, held to the peccability of Christ. The issue may be split along Calvinist/Arminian lines today, but there’s nothing inherent in other view that prevents someone in either “camp” from hold it.