Was Jesus Sinless?

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Maybe I am not looking hard enough, but I cannot find a scripture that states Jesus was free from sin. It is a very common perception that he was, but I have not found a passage that specifically says this.

Is it really true that as a nine-year-old he never struck another boy, that he never had ill feelings for his siblings, that as a teenager he never yelled “I hate you” to his parents? Did he actually live his entire life without doing any wrong?

Does anyone have a scripture that supports this idea?

44 thoughts on “Was Jesus Sinless?

  1. He is referred to as the lamb without blemish.

    He is called holy as opposed to our being unholy.

    Also, see Heb. 4:15

    Paul also says it in Romans somewhere I’m pretty sure.

  2. Thanks for these scriptures, Ben. I knew I was not using the right search terms.

    Yet, I am still left to wonder whether these scriptures refer to his entire life or the point at which he died.

  3. Well, there’s the infancy gospel of Thomas. Supposedly the young (5 years old I think) savior had some issues with withering people. But as he aged he realized that his antics were not very nice, so he restored those whom he had withered.

    Apostate gospel? Maybe, but he wasn’t 8 yet, so he wasn’t accountable. This makes him sinless sort of. I dunno, not a real good insight. What do you think?

  4. I think throughout his whole life. But remember sinless doesn’t mean He was always an angelic child. I am sure He had his moments of mischief and fun. He was a boy after all.

  5. we are constantly told and counselled to live our lives to become more Chirst like. If he was a sinner then why would we be told to become more like him… we would already be like him now??? But if he was sinless then we can work towards being like him.. makes perfect sense to me although I don’t have scriptures to back me up

  6. Can a person commit sins yet still be full of charity?

    Can a person commit sins, yet change the way s/he lives his/her life for three years before death?

    When we are asked to be Christ-like, we are asked to pattern ourselves after his life as recorded in the scriptures. No one knows what his life was before he turned thirty.

  7. Kim,

    As the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, He had to be without blemish from the beginning. He had to be perfect at every step, which means that He was fully obedient to everything that His Father asked.
    Since He was representing the Father and doing His will, at no time did He yield to temptation, or to any impulse that would have been contrary to the will of His Father.
    To have done otherwise would have made Him unworthy to perform the atonement. (see Alma34:10)
    Read Alma42:15-27 carefully. Also read Mosiah 15:1-12.

  8. The difference is that in Matthew He was still mortal and had not achieved the full perfection that comes with the resurrection. In 3Ne. He had.

  9. Kim,
    It wasn’t finished until He was resurrected. It’s not just what happened in Gethsemane and on Golgotha that make up the atonement, but the fact that He was resurrected that makes it complete, whole, or perfect.
    To not have been resurrected would have made all His suffering of no avail.

  10. I realise that, Larry. But if He was not perfect until He was resurrected, how can His sacrifice be considered perfect? How could He have been considered without blemish?

  11. We in the church need to stop throwing around the word “perfect” to describe Jesus. True, we can believe that he was sinless and without blemish, but the world is not just black, white and various shades of grey. There are many colors which are not necessarily brighter or duller, only different. When we start saying that Jesus was perfect then we wonder, did he ever lose at any games? Did he ever make any kind of mistakes? Did he ever not fully understand something or even believe something which wasn’t true? I believe the answer to all of these questions is yes, and this while maintaining that Jesus never sinned.

    Perfection seems to imply that there is some kind of limit on how good a person can ever become. Let’s suppose that goodness can be rated on a scale of one to 1 million. Jesus, in this definition, is 1 million, never improving because there is no room for improvement. This isn’t how I understand Mormon doctrine at all. The way I see it, there is no highest number, even if there is an upper bound which can always be approached but never reached. Thus there is always room for eternal progression and there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect being either. Such an idea is meaningless in this understanding.

    Thus Jesus was ‘perfect’ (the word actually means ‘complete’) after the resurrection to a greater degree than he was perfect before the resurrection. The scriptures never say that Jesus was perfect before the resurrection, only that his example was perfect.

  12. Can we agree that Jesus was sinless at least from his baptism to his death?

    Also Jesus, himself, didn’t claim perfection until AFTER his ressurection. He told the Jews “
    Be ye therefore perfect…”. He told the ‘americans’, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as I am…”

  13. Good question, Larry. I cannot say what the blemish(es) was(were) because the Bible is silent on the mortal qualities of the Saviour.

    I agree Jeffrey, to the extent that I think Jesus had typical mortal experiences while he was growing up. The Bible says very little regarding how He lived His life from 12 to 30, so one is simply left to speculate. If He were to gain a knowledge equal to that of the Father, it stands to reason that He had to experience such things as sadness, grief, sorrow, anger, jealousy and the like. There is more to omniscience than simply knowing the laws of physics and the periodic table.

  14. “It wasn’t finished until He was resurrected.”

    Then why did Jesus himself say, “It is finished” when He died on the cross?

    • Hebrews 4:15
    • 2 Cor. 5:21
    • 1 Peter 2:22
    • 1 John 3:5

    Those were easy to find because I remembered Heb. 4:15. I haven’t found anything in the BOM yet, but perhaps I’m searching with the wrong terms.

  15. Anonymous, if it was finished before the resurrection, then what was the resurrection for? Just some fun entertainment? The scriptures say the resurrection was necessary to bring to pass the resurrection of mankind. That had to be done, ergo it wasn’t finished until the resurrection happened.

  16. Perhaps anonymous was suggesting the part of the atonement that took place prior to his death on the cross and the part that took place after were different enough to be considered to separate things (salvation from sin and salvation from death, for example).

  17. Silly arguments. Jesus was always sinless. He had never once sinned, ever. If He had sinned, Kim Siever is correct that He would not have been a spotless lamb (a perfect sacrifice). The only way that He could pay the price for all the sins of humanity on the cross was if He had not ever sinned. Otherwise, His death was in vain. It’s that simple.

    If He did sin, even once, it means that it would be impossible for anyone to be forgiven, ever.

    If you do not understand this basic bit of Biblical truth, there’s not enough space on this page to explain it without losing your interest. You need to go to church and learn from people who can explain it over time.

  18. The scriptures were already provided by Ben S in the first response at the top. It is illogical to look at the wording of those scriptures, under scrutiny, and see them as only applying to Jesus for a limited period of time. Either those scriptures apply to His entire life or they are valueless. There is not one word inside of those scriptures that provide anyone with justification for limiting the time period for which Jesus is said to be sinless. In fact the opposite is true. Every word indicates the timeless nature to which Jesus is sinless. If He had sinned, even once (ever), all those scriptures could easily be argued by anyone as being inaccurate or false.

    That’s why I referred to all the arguments above as silly. Nobody is seriously thinking through the words in each of those scriptures. They are just having fun with argumentation.

    Furthermore, the numbers of scriptures that deal with matters such as atonement and forgiveness are voluminous – too many to list. And, all of them would be rendered worthless if Jesus had sinned even once.

    Once you get your head around atonement, which is no easy task, you will get a clear picture of why, spiritually and philosophically, it is impossible to enjoy a healthy and whole relationship with God, the Father, unless you, as an individual, are sinless. (Every sin impedes the health of the relationship.) And without forgiveness, nobody can free themselves from the penalties and enjoy an unhindered relationship with God. And forgiveness in not attainable without the shedding of untainted blood.

    Logically speaking, Heaven is a place of purity and holiness and free from sin, otherwise it would be no different than earth. Man cannot get into Heaven and mess it up with his sin. (The wages of sin is death – the penalty is Hell – Heaven is life.) If man could get in with sin then he would pollute it with all his selfish interests, exactly the same as man has done on earth. The only way to deal with this dillema is for man to become sinless, which is impossible without forgiveness and atonement. And, forgiveness and atonement are impossible unless a penalty is paid. In Old Testament times the penalty was paid by a spotless lamb, without blemish (as if to say, without sin), and everything changed when Jesus (the last sacrificed lamb) paid the penalty for all sin for all time. If He had sinned even once, he would be just as unworthy to be a sacrificed lamb as we are. His death would have been in vain and forgiveness would not have been available to us.

    Jesus never once had to utter the words, “Please forgive me.” Not to anyone, including His Father.

    Finally, it would be to your advantage, with a genuine attitude, to ask Jesus Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to give you direction as you try to understand “biblical truth” and “scriptural proof” as you phrased it in your question. It is more important, than anything else, to enjoy a full and healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. As a priority, it beats everything else. Philippians 3:8-10.

    Anyone who enjoys the relationship agrees. Those who disagree are only among those who don’t enjoy the relationship. Those who claim they enjoy the relationship and disagree are either lying or they are delusional.

    And, without the genuine and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the help of the Holy Spirit, it will be much more difficult to rap your brain around the reality that Jesus was always sinless.

    In fact, I’m writing a book (packed with scriptures) about how it’s possible, with the help of Jesus to live a sinless life. That doesn’t mean anyone will succeed at it. And, it’s definitely impossible without the relationship with Jesus. But, scripturally speaking, it’s possible. Otherwise, there are dozens of scriptures that are meaningless.

    And, no, I haven’t achieved a sinless life at all. I constantly need to rely on the forgiveness that Jesus offers. Otherwise, my wages would be spiritual death – Hell, without hope of salvation.

    Most people, scholars and theologians, would disagree with me – hence the need for the book. I’m intending to present it in a way that will force minds to either rip my arguments apart or agree. There will be no middle ground. And, if I’m wrong, I will be pleased to learn it and correct my false understanding. Unlike most journalists, who push an agenda and want to influence the world according to their personal biases in spite of the facts (take global warming or creationism, among many other examples, as a for instance), loyalty to the truth is my first priority.

    But, I digressed. To conclude, and reiterate, your most important priority is to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in this relationship that you will benefit significantly in understanding the scriptures (even just the four listed at the top of this page) and how they make it clear that Jesus was always sinless.

  19. Good points, Brian. They bring two thoughts to mind.

    The scriptures make no mention of Jesus being tempted until after he was baptised. Is that significant?

    What does the author of Luke mean when he states that Jesus increased in favour with God?

  20. Those are both very good questions Kim. Exceptional questions.

    Unfortunately, I hadn’t ever considered either of them until now, and only because you asked.

    In other words, I don’t have a clue.

    Feel free to tell me what you think.

  21. I think Hebrews 4:15 is helpful here, as long as we understand that the High Priest Paul refers to is the Christ.

    Doctrine & Covenants 20:22 is also helpful, I think. Though I recognize that it doesn’t categorically state Christ never gave heed to a temptation, it does say he gave no heed.

    I also offer the following quotes just for general consideraton by all:

    Members of the Church of Christ are under obligation to make the sinless Son of Man their ideal. He is the one Perfect Being who ever walked the earth; the sublimest example of nobility; Godlike in nature; perfect in his love. (David O. McKay, “The Light, the Life, the Way, Improvement Era June 1951.)

    What dignity! What mastery! What control! Even when he, the perfect, the sinless, the good, the Prince of Life, the Just, was weighed on one side of the scales against the murderer, the seditionist, the insurrectionist, Barrabas—and Barrabas won, thus winning his liberty at the price of Christ’s crucifixion—yet the Savior said not a word of condemnation to the magistrate who made the unjust decision. (Spencer W. Kimball, “Jesus of Nazareth, Liahona April 1985.)

    If it were not for the perfect, sinless life of the Savior, which He willingly laid down for us, there could be no remission of sins. (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign October 1989.)

    The first task Christ did as a perfect, sinless Son was to redeem all mankind from the Fall, providing an atonement for Adam’s sin and for our own sins if we will accept and follow him. To the extent that our mortal powers permit, we should make every effort to become like Christ—the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen. (Howard W. Hunter, “He Invites Us to Follow Him,” Ensign September 1994.)

    As the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, Jesus inherited divine attributes. He was the only person ever born into mortality who could perform this most significant and supernal act. As the only sinless Man who ever lived on this earth, He was not subject to spiritual death. Because of His godhood, He also possessed power over physical death. Thus He did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. (James E. Faust, “The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Ensign November 2001.)

    Our Master lived a perfect, sinless life and therefore was free from the demands of justice. He was and is perfect in every attribute, including love, compassion, patience, obedience, forgiveness, and humility. (Richard G. Scott, “Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer,” Ensign May 1997.)

    Even the Savior, who was without sin, set an example of the need not to procrastinate. (Henry B. Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign May 2007.)

    The testimony of the Spirit made him want to follow the example of the Savior, who was baptized by John the Baptist even though He was without sin. (Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign May 2005.)

    And what a sinless, selfless, noble, and divine life it was. (Thomas S. Monson, “Examples of Righteousness,” Ensign May 2008.)

  22. Hey Kim

    You disappeared on me.

    You ask great questions but can you provide great answers?

    Now, perhaps you’ve been sick lately or you went on vacation or someone you know died.

    I’ll check back next week.

  23. I was wrong. You’re commenting on other blogs, so I guess you’re no longer interested.

  24. Actually, I’m beginning to think that you just like asking questions to create doubt in others. You like to damage faith, which is the purpose of doubt.

  25. Brian

    You know nothing about my husband and why he asks questions. He does not try to create’ doubt’ in anyone. He desires knowledge and understanding and does not like being baited (as you did) or when people refuse to take things seriously. He encourages those he serves to grow and develop their faith. If you are serious about participating then continue to do so, but do NOT insult my husband when you know nothing at all about him. If so, you are not welcome here.

  26. Thanks for the correction Mary. It is genuinely appreciated.

    If my conclusions were wrong about Kim, I’m truly glad to hear it.

    Incidentally, no insult was intended. Whoever drew that conclusion was also incorrect.

  27. Your assumption that he ‘likes to damage faith’ was a direct insulting attack. At least from my perspective. if you meant that in a kindly way, then I apologise.

    It is wrong, but Kim doesn’t really care what others think about him. I do, but then I am his wife.

  28. I have no problem with accepting the fact that I’m wrong. It happens every now and then.

    But you were also wrong to conclude that I was baiting your husband. As a point of fact, I genuinely thought, when he wasn’t responding to my question, that he was only being a trouble maker. And, because I believe your explanation, I willing acknowledge that I was incorrect.

    However, I did not take it as an insult when you claimed that I was baiting your husband (which probably made me seem like a trouble maker in your eyes). I could easily see how you might draw that incorrect conclusion.

    One caution though, if you are going to go on the attack and unvite people who write things that provoke you in a negative fashion, you are going to hinder your husband’s interest in “knowlege and understanding.”

    There’s a quote that says, “Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

    There’s also another quote that says, “If your absence doesn’t make any difference, your presence won’t either.”

    If you really want to grow in knowledge and understanding, you’ve got to allow for the presence of people to draw incorrect and negative conclusions without getting so defensive about it. You can correct them but telling them they are not wanted is an unhealthy initial response. If they are absent from providing information, the growth of knowledge and understanding is hindered.

    If they cannot be corrected, that might be different.

    Also, it’s probably not a good idea to play the “wife” card in justifying your attack and defense. It speaks volumes about your prefering to be emotional rather than reasonable about your arguments.

    To put it in another set of words, it’s like saying, “I care about my husband because I am emotionally bonded to him and so anyone who says anything negative about him will have to deal with me. I’m not interested in reasoning through the circumstances, I want to end the circumstances. Be nice or get lost.”

    I might be wrong about the conclusion I’m drawing (and feel free to correct me again) but that is the impression your argument makes.

    I suspect that you’re going to fire me now, particularly if this message upset you emotionally.

    One other thought regarding knowledge and understanding, education is NOT the solution. Too many people incorrectly claim that it is. The truth is that if you could be fully educated on any particular issue, knowing all the matters that are wrong about it and all those that are right, you can still choose to do the wrong thing. People do it all the time — choosing to do the wrong thing, fully knowing that it’s wrong before they choose it, but choosing it anyway just because they want to choose it.

  29. … and the most condescending post of the thread goes to … #40! Congrats Bri. You added nothing to the conversation and came off as a jerk while doing it.

  30. Thanks Rick. Some people might argue that I actually practice at being condescending and at being a jerk. I’m glad to know that the practice is proving to be fruitful.

    How ironic though, eh. You, Rick, didn’t respond out of reasoning but out of emotion. You didn’t provide an example of my jerkdom. It would be nice to know, particularly for those reading what your write who might wonder if you have any evidence and if I would respond in a mature manner or in a jerklike manner (as I did in the previous paragraph, providing you with an example of what it really looks like.)

    Although, you probably don’t need an example since you provided an amazing one yourself.

    It’s just a matter of psychological projection. (Projection: If you’re always honest, you assume everyone else is always honest because you assume everyone else is like you. If you are a compulsive liar, you assume everyone else lies, because you assume everyone else is just like you.)

    So, when you call me a jerk and see me as condescending, it is more likely that you are that way yourself and assume that everyone else is as well.

    Now, if you would like, you can call me more names and throw more insults my way, which I will not have any problem with (it makes you look bad, not me), or you can actually explain for everyone reading (and impress them) how it is that I’m condescending and what I wrote that provides evidence that I’m a jerk.

    If you can teach me how your assessment is correct, I will really appreciate it will make me better able to see how I can correct my ways. And, I will be happy to apologize for anything I’ve written that was condescending or jerklike.

    Let me apologize for the first paragraph in this response to you Rick, if it is not seen as merely an example of being a jerk. I would not have even considered writing it if it weren’t so apt a response to your fine example.

    In other words, (and I’m going to be jerklike and condescending again here, but only because it drives the point home, not because I want to be jerklike or condescending) I am apologizing for mimicking you (projection).

    The ball is now in your court, although it is off topic regarding the sinless nature of Jesus Christ.

  31. You do understand, Brian, that saying a lot is not the same thing as saying substantive, don’t you?

  32. It seems Brian assumes Kim only asks questions that he already has answers to. That tells us a lot about Brian.

    Are sins and mistakes the same thing?
    Are all things we commanded not to do sins if we do them?
    Does what is defined as sin change over time?

    You know, I am not sure about exact answers on anything, but I like to think about them. People who are quick to spout of exact blanket answers always strike me as having shallow faith. I like to call them bobbleheads, because I have shallow humor.

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