Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion: God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.


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Theological Term of the Week

Still stuck on the “im” words.
Used of Christ, it refers to the doctrine that Jesus Christ was incapable of sinning.
  • From the Bible:
    For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell….

    For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…. (Colossians 1:19, 2:9 ESV)
    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)
  • From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, page 538:

    (1) If Jesus’ human nature had existed by itself, independent of his divine nature, then it would have been a human nature just like that which God gave Adam and Eve. It would have been free from sin but nonetheless able to sin. Therefore, if Jesus’ human nature had existed by itself, there was the abstract of theoretical possibility that Jesus could have sinned, just as Adam and Eve’s human natures were able to sin. (2) But Jesus’ human nature never existed apart from union with his divine nature. From the moment of his conception, he existed as truly God and truly man as well. Both his human nature and his divine nature existed in one person. (3) Although there were some things (such as being hungry or thirsty or weak) that Jesus experienced in his human nature alone and were not experienced in his divine nature…, nonetheless, an act of sin would have been a moral act that would apparently have involved the whole person of Christ. Therefore, if he had sinned, it would have involved both his human and divine natures. (4) But if Jesus as a person had sinned, involving both his human and divine nature in sin, then God himself would have sinned, and he would have ceased to be God. Yet that is clearly impossible because of the infinite holiness of God’s nature. (5)T herefore, if we are asking if it was actually possible for Jesus to have sinned, it seems that we must conclude that it was not possible. The union of his human and divine natures in one person prevented it.

  • From W. G. Shedd:
    Temptability depends upon the constitutional susceptibility, while impeccability depends upon the will. So far as His natural susceptibility, both physical and mental, was concerned, Jesus Christ was open to all forms of human temptation, excepting those that spring out of lust, or corruption of nature. But His peccability, or the possibility of being overcome by these temptations, would depend upon the amount of voluntary resistance which He was able to bring to bear against them. Those temptations were very strong, but if the self-determination of His holy will was stronger than they, then they could not induce Him to sin, and He would be impeccable. And yet plainly He would be temptable

Learn more:
  1. Could Jesus have sinned (peccability or impeccability)?
  2. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Impeccability
  3. Bruce Ware: Illustrating the Impeccability of Christ: Could Not vs. Would Not
  4. Arthur Pink: The Impeccability of Christ
Related terms:
Do you have a theological term that you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.
Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for a very clear, concise explanation of this term, Rebecca.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

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