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We have many scriptures about Jesus' humanity. Several specific verses about his total dependence on the Father, his God, for all his needs, his words and his ability to perform miracles etc.

Jesus was a fleshly man - "made like us in every way" Heb 2:17 Not some or most ways, but every way.

As he was indeed tempted - again - 'as we are', then it follows that he could have sinned - as we do.

we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin Heb 4:15

The very point of temptation - and his need to resist every and all temptations to become the Lamb of God, is pointless if sin was not a possibility. The fact that he did not sin has nothing to do with his inherent ability as a man, like us, to be able to sin, should he have chosen to do so or faltered before severe and prolonged temptation.

As Heb 4:15 "yet, he did not sin", implies, at the very least, that the potential was there but he was able to resist and remain victorious over evil.

What kind of victory has he achieved over evil and death if failure was never remotely possible or even feasible?

What evidence does the bible provide to support this premise of Jesus' potential for committing a sin?

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  • This question is fundamentally flawed; knowledge of good and evil proved deadly for our ancestors, but not for God, whose infinite knowledge is beyond doubt. Likewise, power corrupts (fallen humans), yet God, whose almightiness is never in question, is never corrupted by the limitless power He exerts over everyone and everything.
    – Lucian
    Jul 23 at 3:23
  • 1
    We are asking about Jesus, not God.
    – steveowen
    Jul 23 at 3:41
  • 1
    Perhaps the only false assumption is what you bring to bear on the text..
    – steveowen
    Jul 23 at 5:01
  • 1
    The comments indicate that the OP does not wish a Trinitarian response. I think that should have been explicit in the question.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 23 at 6:36
  • 1
    The comments were to clarify ambiguous statements made in answers. The Q seeks to not exclude any answer, so long as it remains biblical. If that somehow rules out a trintarian response, that's ok.
    – steveowen
    Jul 23 at 6:44
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Scriptural Support

The Gospels have at least 3 passages which show that Jesus could have sinned, from how Jesus exerted great effort to resist the temptations that He faced as a man (not as God, since James 1:13 says that "God cannot be tempted by evil."):

  1. The Devil tempted Jesus 3 times when Jesus was in a weakened state after 40 day of fasting (Matt 4:1-11):

    ¹ Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. ² And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. ³ ...

    The 3 challenges that the Devil gave to Jesus were specifically formulated for Jesus to break his mission to bring about the kingdom of God according to the Father's will, not according to his own (human) will. From Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, Jr's sermon part 1, part 2, and part 3:

    The first of the tests was designed to probe the Messiah’s submission to the word of God. Satan evidently hoped that Jesus would follow his lead and seek to acquire the messianic promises apart from the way of the cross. Our Lord’s reply, “Men shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds through the mouth of God,” makes it clear that he relies upon the path of implicit obedience in the acquiring of the messianic kingdom.

    ...

    The second test in which Satan asked our Lord to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, adding to it as if he had learned it from Jesus, a citation from Scripture was one in which our Lord was enticed to abandon God’s providential care of him. He sought to cause our Lord to be guilty of presumption. That is, to obtain the promises of Scripture at his own will and in his own time rather than at God’s time and in God’s will. ...

    ...

    [In the final test] Luke adds that the devil showed him all the kingdom’s in a moment of time, Luke 4:5, suggesting perhaps a rapid sweeping glance at the magnificence of worldly empire. That the view was of the outward glory of the kingdoms is indicated by the words and the glory of them. Of course, this is the only kind of kingdom that the devil could conceivably offer our Lord. He certainly couldn’t offer him one that glowed with the beauty of holy submission to God. The devil’s kingdom, and he is the God of this age, is one like the present kingdoms of earth. Kingdom’s filled with the corruption of rebellion against God in heaven. Hoping our Lord would not recognize this fatal weakness, Satan wished to dazzle Christ by the prospects of world empire; its power, its influence, its pageantry and wealth. And the devil wished to sweep Jesus off his feet by this sudden offer to give it all to him.

  2. When Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from suffering for the sake of his mission (Matt 16:21-23). The force of his reply to Peter should indicate the strength of that temptation:

    ²¹ From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. ²² And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” ²³ But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

  3. When Jesus prayed at Gethsemane against temptation not to let himself be arrested to be crucified (Luke 22:39-46). Being in agony until sweating like drops of blood should indicate great effort:

    ... ⁴⁰ And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” ⁴¹ And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, ⁴² saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” ⁴³ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. ⁴⁴ And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

How Jesus was tempted as a man

From the 2012 Southern Baptist Journal of Theology article Jesus Christ's Temptation by John E. McKinley:

What was Temptation for Jesus (as compared with us)?

Jesus was tempted as a man, in his human nature. The humanness of his temptation experiences warrants the truth of Hebrews 4:15 and the similarity to our temptations. This is in contrast to the false notion that he was tempted as God, according to his deity, since, as James 1:13 affirms, God cannot be tempted by evil. This divine immunity to temptation follows from God’s transcendence, omnipotence, and omniscience (among other attributes) by which God cannot be threatened with harm (he cannot be harmed), lured to obtain something that he lacks (he owns everything), or deceived by evil as a means to accomplishing some good (he knows the truth). For Jesus, then, temptation must come through his humanity. The Chalcedonian definition helps here to remind us that the divine and human natures are not mixed with each other (“inconfusedly, unchangeably”), and the properties of each nature are preserved in their union to the person, God the Word. This distinction and conservation of each nature means that his human nature is not divinized in any sense. As a man, the Son became fully vulnerable to the pains and strains of human life, including temptation to sin. Thus, Jesus was tempted as a man, that is, he could not be tempted apart from the Incarnation, and he was tempted for us as an example and true model of the ideal human life. The many exhortations that Jesus is the pattern for us to imitate only make sense if his experience corresponds closely to ours.

...

The article has more details on:

  • what was temptation for Jesus (as compared with us),
  • the role of Jesus's knowledge,
  • the meaning of Jesus being tempted in "all ways",
  • Jesus being tempted as a man (not as God), and
  • how Jesus could succeed against temptation
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  • 1
    Thx. What do you mean, "that He faced as a man, not as God..." Does he have a switch, can he be one and not the other, based on that premise?
    – steveowen
    Jul 23 at 4:21
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    @user47952 That comment is for Christians who believe in the dual nature of Jesus. I added quote from McKinely's article for more details on how Jesus faced temptation as a man. Whether Jesus has a "switch" or how his consciousness works, I believe this is a mystery, but there are 4 patristic models on the interplay between this dual nature and his impeccability/temptation, described in another article by John E. McKinley: Four Patristic Models of Jesus Christ’s Impeccability and Temptation. Jul 23 at 4:37
  • Up-voted +1, especially for mentioning the key to the whole subject : the Chalcedonian definition.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 23 at 6:38
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    @user47952 The dual nature of Jesus Christ is such that Deity and humanity meet in one Person. The natures neither mingle, nor merge, nor 'switch'. They are two distinct things. They meet only in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is a mystery, as GratefulDisciple indicates : it is a matter of faith, not carnal understanding, for the carnal mind cannot receive or process such a mystery.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 23 at 8:13
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    Exactly, but what is the human Jesus you speak of that could ‘cease to exist’? Is there still a son of God? If yes, then God did not give/offer His only son, but just a facsimile. Easy come, easy go.
    – steveowen
    Jul 24 at 3:11
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Jesus was a (hu)man. At a minimum he was a man. 100% a man, not 50% man. He had everything every man has, an earthly biological body, that housed his soul and spirit. This is what makes a man a man.

“There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:40‬ ‭

Jesus did not have a heavenly body after incarnation. He would end up with a heavenly body but only after resurrecting.

“what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭8:4-5‬ ‭

Humans are a little lower than those who possess heavenly bodies. And yet heavenly bodies beings are capable of sinning.

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;” ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭

So if heavenly beings could sin, Jesus being a man could likewise sin. The fact that he didn’t sin, doesn’t prove it was impossible to sin. This seems to be a correlative fallacy.

Take the text that says

“And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

If he were not hungry there would be no temptation by offering him bread. Evidently satan offered Jesus bread in the most cunning way possible, as a trap. But it wasn’t a trap because he wasn’t hungry, rather precisely because he was hungry this was a temptation.

The text itself says he was tempted

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:15‬ ‭

A temptation by definition needs to be tempting. The whole angle seems fallacious, almost to say, ignoring what the Bible says, prove Jesus was capable of sinning. The Bible says he was tempted, that’s sufficient to suggest he was capable of sinning. If he could not sin, there would be no tempting either.

Additional remarks

The OP seems to be trying to find a way to prove Jesus was not God, for if Jesus could potentially sin and God does not sin (God will not sin) then Jesus must not be God.

So can God be in a man’s body?

What is God like?

”God is spirit” John 4:24

Does this mean God cannot inhabit a body? Of course He can. He could inhabit a cloud. The difference between Jesus and every other human was His spirit. BUT because He εκενωσεν-ed Himself Philippians 2:7 or in English because He voluntarily nullified (switched off/suppressed) His divine attributes and did not rely on them, He was identical to humans because His suppressed spirit had no additional attributes uncommon to human spirits. So no, that doesn’t mean He stopped being God. He CANNOT stop being God. He can stop being human, or a heavenly bodied being. Sure He can, but the ONLY way for Jesus who is a spirit to stop being God is to cease from existing

And considering that all Creation exists through Him

“‘In him we live and move and have our being” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:28‬ ‭

If Jesus ceases, so does the universe too with Him. It would be sooner that the universe would disappear than for God Jesus to cease. We can only exist if He exists. If He stops existing we no longer exist. If we stop existing He is unaffected.

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  • Thx. "Jesus did not have a heavenly body after incarnation" Does this mean he wasn't God at this time?
    – steveowen
    Jul 23 at 4:31
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    It’s irrelevant @user47952 to the question. He was 100% human. And as a human he was subjected to temptations.
    – Autodidact
    Jul 23 at 4:35
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I was told that how Jesus conducted himself in the temple in Jerusalem could have been considered sinful meaning that not only Jesus could sin, but did sin. However it is debatable that driving out those in the temple is sinful for although he was clearly angry and perhaps even hateful towards those in the temple, it was to stop their own sinful practices so may ultimately be good.

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