Could Jesus have sinned if He wanted to?
Keep in mind as you read this that God, who is so high, has stooped so low, to save a rebellious people. It is by His mercy and grace that we even exist. Studying His Word is not optional. Also, keep in mind that 2 Peter 1:20 says “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation”.
First thing to look at is Jesus’ humanity. Philippians 2:7 says, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”. It is interesting to note that the word for the phrase “of no reputation”, in the original language of Greek, is "to empty or make empty". He stripped Himself of His glory to help us.
We then must look at Hebrews 4:15 which says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin”. If Jesus’ humanity could not have sinned, it would have been unfair and his judgment would not be equal or proportionate.
Could Jesus have taken on a higher form? Of course, but we read in Hebrews 2:16, “For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham”. He did not come to redeem angels, He came to redeem sinful man; key term here is sinful. He had to be one of us in order for our sin offering to be accepted.
Hebrews 2:17-18 continues this same thought, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted”. Clearly He “suffered being tempted”.
What did Jesus’ servanthood entail? Jesus alluded to it in Matthew 10:24, “The disciple is not above [his] master, nor the servant above his lord". A servant is not equal to his lord, according to Jesus’ own words. Was He a servant? Matthew 12:17-18 says, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles". Does a servant have rights? By definition, a servant is one who is subject to another who has authority over him. In the above scripture, God said that He would “put my spirit upon him”. He placed his essence within a human persona with full potential to end up the same way Adam did.
We know that the Holy Spirit indwelt Jesus. The Christian believer, Christ’s church, is indwelt with the Holy Spirit as well; because of Jesus. Romans 8:9 reads as follows: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his". By definition, if the Spirit does not reside in you, you are not a Christian. Do believers, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, sin? 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”.
John 17:19 says, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth”. The word “sanctify” in the Greek means to make Holy; separate from profane things. If Jesus was not able to sin, this would not have been necessary. He clearly is stating here that He is making Himself an example of how to live; sinless.
Lastly, in John 16:33, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world". God overcoming the world is not news; a man overcoming the world? Now that is news!!!