Jesus is Sinless

Jesus said that no one is sinless except God, then teaches that he is sinless.

1Jesus taught that no one is good except God.

(Mark 10:17-18)  As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” {18} “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

Muslim : Jesus denied that he was sinless

In reference to Mark 10:17-18, Muslims sometimes misunderstand Jesus’ answer to be a denial of deity. In other words, they interpret Jesus to mean, “Why call me good when I am not? Only God is good.”

Christian reply

But Jesus cannot be denying the title “good”. On other occasions, Jesus challenged the people to prove him guilty of sin. In other words, he was emphasizing his goodness. Muslims also believe that Jesus was a sinless prophet. He could not have denied the reference to goodness. Therefore, Jesus was acknowledging the title “good” but wanted to be doubly sure that when the young man called him “good” he must first come to terms that he is God as no one is good except God.

2Jesus taught that he is sinless

Jesus taught that he has no sin; everything he does is pleasing to God.

John 8:29, 46 “I always do what pleases Him (God). Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?”

The Devil had no part in His life at all, as He told His disciples at the Last Supper.

John 14:30-31 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

Muslim : Jesus is only sinless insofar as he obeys God.

Christian response

This statement makes no sense. We can then say that everyone is sinless – insofar as he obeys God.

It would also be senseless for Jesus to challenge them to prove him guilty of sin if he had indeed committed sins.

Muslims also believe that Jesus was a sinless prophet. It is interesting to note that there is no mention whatsoever of sin in connection with Jesus Christ even in the Quran. He could not have denied the reference to goodness.

Therefore, Jesus was acknowledging the title “good” but wanted to be doubly sure that when the young man called him “good” he must first come to terms that he is God as no one is good except God.

Muslim : The Bible indicates that Christ was not the only sinless person

The Bible indicates that Christ was not the only sinless person. Oftentimes, scripture uses the term “righteous” to indicate one who is blameless:

“And they (Zachariah and Elizabeth) were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Luke 1:6

“My little children, these things I write to you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1

“I say unto you, that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners into repentance.” Luke 5:32

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” 1 John 3:7

Christian response

The word for “righteous” is the Greek term dikaioo. The word, dikaioo and its various forms, is a legal term used judicially to declare one just, not guilty. It does not mean one who is sinless.

Muslim : All prophets are free from major sins.

Yes. But Jesus was not challenging the people to prove him guilty of major sins, he is challenging the people to prove him guilty of sin, any sin.

John 8:29,46 “I always do what pleases Him (God). Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?”

Among those who maintain that the prophets can commit only lesser sins, some say that they commit these sins before inspiration (Wahi) comes to them; others, that they may do so even after inspiration has come, but that such small sins being mere frailties and slight imperfections do not really amount to sin, properly so called: All these theological positions come into clash with the teaching of the quran.

Muslim : All prophets are free from sin.

Jesus Christ was born sinless, unlike the prophet David who lamented his sinfulness saying, “In sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5).

The Quran seem to teach that even prophets are not free from sin. Here are some of the references that show that even the prophets sin.

The quran refers to sins of various prophets from Adam to Muhammad. Adam and Eve, on being convicted of sin, said:

“O our Lord, with ourselves we have dealt unjustly: if thou forgive us not and have not pity on us, we shall surely be of those who perish.” (Sura 7:23)

Noah said: “Unless thou forgive me and be merciful to me, I shall be one of the lost.” (Sura 11:47)

Abraham said: “When I am sick, He healeth me, and who will cause me to die, and quicken me, and who, I hope, will forgive me my sins in the day of reckoning.” (Sura 26:80-82)

Moses murdered a man. This was brought about by the devil (Sura 28:15). He repented of this, his sin, and prayed: “O my Lord, I have sinned to my own heart, forgive me. Then He forgave him, Lo! He is the forgiving and merciful” (Sura 28:16).

Like the above-mentioned prophets, the prophet Muhammad also is advised to seek forgiveness for his sins:

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of God is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and early hours. (Sura 40:55, Pickethall)

Muslim commentators explain these and other similar passages from the quran in such a way as to suit a doctrine of innocence of the prophets. Thus in dealing with the reference as to their prophet’s need for forgiveness (40:55), they give various explanations:

Some say that it refers to remission in the propagation of Islam; others to neglect in rendering thanks to God; but one popular explanation is that the Prophet was to seek pardon for sin merely as an act of worship and as an example of that confession of sin which was to be a portion of the worship rendered by his followers. If this explanation is not enough, then it is said that the word (dhanb) is used. It conveys the idea of a fault-only, or what is technically called a “little sin”. The objection is that this word (dhanb) is used to describe the sin of ordinary people (9:103; 28:78; 12:29).

It is quite clear, in general, that the word used to describe the sin of Muhammad does not denote a mere trivial offense, but a great sin. Again, “Ask pardon for thy sins and for believers both men and women” (48:21), is similarly explained. (Edward Sell, Sin, Muslim ERE, Vol. 11, p. 568)

There is another passage which deserves mention:

Verily, we have won for thee a undoubted victory, in order that God might forgive thee that which went before of thy fault and what followed after. (Sura 48:1, 2)

The commentators have sought to explain the above-mentioned reference to the prophet’s sin by saying that the “former fault” refers to the sin of Adam when Muhammad was yet in the loins of his great ancestor. The “later fault” is understood as sin of the followers of Muhammad (see Sell, ibid., p. 568).

There are traditions which record the prophet praying for the forgiveness of his sins: On the authority of Aisha it is reported that the prophet used often to say:

By the praise of God, pardon me: “O God, I ask pardon of thee for my offence, and I ask of thee thy mercy.”

On the authority of Abu Huraira it is recorded that Muhammad said:

I ask pardon of God and repent [return] towards Him more than seventy times a day. (Mishkat al-Masabih. Quoted by Sell, ibid., pp. 568, 569)

In the same vein there is another tradition which deserves mention here:

The prophet of God said, “In the Day of Resurrection Muslims will not be able to move and they will be greatly distressed, and will say, ‘Would to God that we had asked Him to create someone to intercede for us, that we might be taken from this place, and be delivered from tribulation and sorrow Then these men will go to Adam, and will say: ‘Thou art the father of all men, God created thee with His hand, and made thee a dweller in Paradise, and ordered His angels to prostrate themselves before thee, and taught thee the name of all things. Ask grace for us we pray thee!’ And Adam will say, ‘I am not of that degree of eminence as you suppose, for I committed a sin in eating of the grain which was forbidden. Go to Noah, the prophet, he was the first who was sent by God to the unbelievers on the face of the earth.’ Then they will go to Noah and ask for intercession, and he will say, ‘I am not of that degree which ye suppose.’ And he will remember the sin which he committed in asking the Lord for the deliverance of his Son Hud, not knowing whether it was a right request or not; And he will say, ‘Go to Abraham, who is the Friend of God.’ Then they will go to Abraham and he will say, ‘I am not of that degree which ye suppose.’ And he will remember the three occasions upon which he told lies in the world; and he will say, ‘Go to Moses, who is the servant, to whom God gave His law and whom He allowed to converse with Him.’ And they will go to Moses and Moses will say, ‘I am not that degree which ye suppose.’ And he will remember the sin which he committed in slaying a man, and he will say, ‘Go to Jesus, he is the servant of God, the apostle of God, the Spirit of God and the Word of God.’ Then they will go to Jesus, and he will say, ‘Go to Muhammad who is a servant, whose sins God has forgiven both first and last.’ ” (Mishkat, Book XXITI, Chapter XIII)

Muslim : It is not true that Jesus is sinless
1                    He told a lie.

Jesus told a lie. In John 7 he told his brothers he wasn’t going to a feast, but later did go, in secret. This is a ‘sneaky’ act, unworthy of God. [Some texts have ‘yet’ in this the context to overcome this objection, but this is certainly an editorial interpolation]

(John 7:3-10)  Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. {4} No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” {5} For even his own brothers did not believe in him. {6} Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. {7} The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. {8} You go to the Feast. I am not yet (some early manuscripts do not have “yet”) going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.” {9} Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. {10} However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.

Christian response

The context of the passage is important in understanding what Jesus intended to say. His brothers had asked Jesus to go to Judea and publicly performed miracles so that people would believe in him. Jesus’ reply in verse 8 is intended to say that he would not go to the Feast in a manner suggested by them for the time is not ready yet (v 6). We know this because in verse 10, the author wants to emphasize the fact that Jesus did go but secretly and not publicly as his brothers had suggested.

2                    He advocates hating of one’s parents.

Lk:14:26: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Since Jesus violates the commandment of God, how can he be God?

Christian response

In biblical idiom to hate can mean to love less. When, for example, regulations are laid down in the Old Testament law for a man who has two wives, “one beloved, and another hated” (Deut 21:15 kjv), it is not necessary to suppose that he positively hates the latter wife; all that need be meant is that he loves her less than the other and must be prevented from showing favoritism to the other’s son when he allocates his property among his heirs.

Jesus has always taught that one should love each other, even one’s enemies! He scolded the theologians who argued that people who had vowed to give God a sum of money that they later discovered was needed to help their parents were not free to divert the money from the religious purposes to which it had been vowed in order to meet a parental need. This, he said, was a violation of the commandment to honor one’s father and mother (Mk 7:9-13).

That “hating” in this saying of Jesus means loving less is shown by the parallel saying in Matthew 10:37: “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

3                    Jesus underwent the baptism of repentance

Jesus received the baptism of repentance at the hands of John, which involved a confession of sins, and thus set a seal on his own sinfulness.

Baptism is the symbol of sins having been washed away. Jesus was baptised… this shows that before his baptism he was not perfectly righteous; and that’s why after the baptism he saw the spirit of God coming upon him.

Christian response

For Him the incident signified His consecration to the office of Messiah; this was part of the “righteousness” He felt Himself under an obligation to fulfil. 14

(3) By this act Jesus identified Himself with the human race. cp. “Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness”; and “it behoved Him in all things to become like unto His brethren”. 15 That is to say, He was baptized as “Son of Man”. He stood down with the crowds, identifying Himself with sinful men, yet remaining Himself “without sin”.

He performed it, not the remotest suggestion that He felt He needed purification, nor yet any confession of sin.

His descent into hell, the abode of the wicked, is also recognized by the Christians, than which no plainer proof is needed of the guiltiness of Jesus.

Christian response

(1 Pet 3:18-19 NIV)  For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, {19} through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison

Jesus descended into hell not because he sinned but he did so to proclaim to the spirits in hell about his victory.

4}Jesus exhibited lack of faith in God

“Jesus uttered words of unbelief in God, saying: ‘My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me’ “?

Christian response

Jesus’ words did not reflect his lack of faith. God the Father indeed forsaken him because Jesus bore the sins of the world on the cross.

6}Jesus has sin because all human beings are born with sin

Some Muslims refer to the doctrine of Original Sin and impose upon Jesus the general sinfulness of the race. They infer that certainly birth from one parent does not give that immunity.

Christian response

Christians believe that Jesus was not born with sin. If he was, he would not be able to teach in other areas of the Bible that he had no sin.

Furthermore, the doctrine that Jesus was born in sin has no support even in the Quran.

And the quran  itself makes Gabriel say to Mary that she is to have “a holy son”, ghulaman zakiyyan, 19 : 19; which baidhawi interprets to mean pure from sin, and active in goodness.

8}Jesus was addicted to wine

He “was addicted to drinking”, and “opened the way to excess and wholesale drunkenness” (through the use of wine at the Last Supper).

Christian response

There isn’t a verse in the Bible that mentions Jesus being addicted to wine.

The use of wine for the Last Supper is as a symbolism to his blood. Nowhere did he encourage his disciples to drink excessively.

The Bible does not prohibit drinking of wine. It prohibits excessive drinking leading to drunkenness.

10}Jesus insulted his mother.

He “insulted his mother” (in addressing her as “woman”).

(John 2:3-4 NIV)  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” {4} “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

Christian response

Firstly, the term “woman” is not a degrading term. It is generic term that Jesus used even when he is praising somebody.

(Mat 15:28 NIV)  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

We must not forget that Jesus is also God. Being a son, we can argue that it is rude to call Mary anything other than mother. But being God, Jesus can call humans by any term he likes. In this case, he chose to use the term “woman” which in itself is not a degrading term.

9                    Jesus used “vulgar abuse to the learned priests of the Jews”.

(Mat 23:33-35 NIV)  “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? {34} Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. {35} And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

(Mat 23:27 NIV)  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.

Christian response

Jesus was describing the true state of the Pharisees, who appear righteous on the outside but are not right towards God on the inside.

{cke_protected_11}10                {cke_protected_12}He “had free and intimate connections with women of dubious character”.

(Luke 7:37-38 NIV)  When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, {38} and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Christian response

Jesus let a prostitute worship him by pouring perfume over his feet and kissing it. There is nothing sexual about this.

In fact, Jesus led a life undistracted by sexual activities. He did not marry nor did he take on any concubines.

11                He “transgressed many precepts of the Law”.

It is argued that Jesus committed sin when he broke the Sabbath laws.

Christian response

Jesus’ reply to those who criticized his disciples for plucking ears of grain as they walked through the fields one sabbath and then (according to Lk 6:1) eating the grain when they had rubbed the ears in their hands to separate the kernel from the husk. Harmless enough actions, it might be supposed today (unless the owner of the crop complained that he was being robbed), but plucking the ears was technically regarded by the interpreters of the law as a form of reaping, and rubbing them to extract the kernel as a form of grinding, and reaping and grinding were two kinds of work that were forbidden on the sabbath. Probably, in addition to the expressed criticism of the disciples, there was an implied criticism of Jesus for allowing them to break the law in this way.

Jesus first invoked a precedent: in an emergency David had been permitted by the priest in charge of the sanctuary at Nob (perhaps on Mount Scopus; near Jerusalem) to have some of the holy bread (the “shewbread” or “bread of the [divine] presence”) for himself and his followers to eat, although it was laid down in the law that none but priests should eat it (1 Sam 21:1-6). The point of Jesus’ argument here seems to be that human need takes priority over ceremonial law; it is relevant to recall that in traditional interpretation (though not in the Old Testament text) the incident from the life of David took place on a sabbath (the day when, according to Lev 24:8-9, the old bread was to be removed, to be eaten by “Aaron and his sons . . . in a holy place,” and replaced by new bread, “set in order before the Lord”). (Source: Hard Sayings of the Bible)

12                He “intentionally caused wrongful loss to an innocent person by destroying his property”

(Mat 8:30-32 NIV)  Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. {31} The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” {32} He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.

Christian response

Jesus, being God, is sovereign. He has the right to act on properties as he pleased. An example would be the acquisition of the donkey in Palm Sunday.

(Mat 21:1-3 NIV)  As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, {2} saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. {3} If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”


3Biblical writers testify to sinlessness of Jesus

Jesus Christ is the only person in the Bible about whom sin is not mentioned at all, either in prophecies concerning Him or the actual account of His matchless life!

John the beloved apostle testified, “Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).

Peter summed up his impressions in a sermon on the day of Pentecost when he called Jesus “The Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14). Again, in one of his epistles he wrote, “Christ also hath once suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust” (1 Pet. 3:18).

The testimony of Paul, who met the risen Christ first on the road to Damascus, was in harmony with the testimony of those who knew Him in flesh. He says that Jesus Christ knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21).

Again, the Epistle to the Hebrews says that He was “holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners” (Heb. 7:26).

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