The Sinless Life

An aspect of the life of Christ that has caused me to marvel is the sinless life that he lead. That astounds me. Contemplating anyone surviving their entire lives without being guilty of sin to any degree stretches the limits of my imagination. Did he really accomplish such an impressive thing as a sinless life?

The scriptures attest to this fact. These references include:

Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him – Saying: Father, behold the suffering and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou was well peased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life. (D&C 45:3-5)

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmaties; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:14-15)


For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that hudgethy righteously: (1 Pet. 2:21-23)

I imagine that there are many who ponder deeply upon the atonement who feel that living a sinless life was a type of ‘requirement’ for He who conquered death and sin. There may well be theological necessities here that I have not yet sorted out entirely. But I can understand that for us to develop a perfect faith in Christ, acknowledging his life as a sinless life would be a pre-requisite.

I would like to propose a little experiment. In chapter 2 of Spencer W. Kimball’s classic book ‘Miracle of Forgiveness’ there is an impressive list of sins provided. This sin list largely comes from the writings of Paul in the New Testament. I have often felt if someone felt pretty good about themselves from a righteousness standpoint, they might try reading through this list. If they feel the same way after as they did before, then they must be doing quite well. Now I would invite you to read through this list and consider the Savior’s life. He was guiltless in all these areas of sin – and others that might not be on this list. He really did it! Consider such a life, completely free of:

Murder, adultry, theft, cursing, unholines in masters, disobedience in servants, unfaithfulness, improvidence, hatred of God, disobedience to husbands, lack of natural affection, high-mindedness, flattery, lustfulness, infidelity, indiscretion, backbiting, whispering, lack of truth, striking, brawling, quarelsomeness, unthankfulness, inhospitality, deceitfulness, irreverence, boasting, arrogance, pride, double-tounged talk, profanity, slander, corruptness, thievery, embezzlement, despoiling, covenentbreaking, incontinence, filthiness, slothfulness, impatience, lack of understanding, unmercifulness, idolatry, blasphemy, denial of the Holy Ghost, Sabbath breaking, envy, jealousy, malice, maligning, vengefulness, implacability, bitterness, clamor, spite, defiling, reviling, evil speaking, provoking, greediness for filthy lucre, disobedience to parents, anger, hate, covetousness, bearing false witness, inventing evil things, fleshliness, heresy, presumptuousness, abomination, insatiable appetite, instability, ignorance, self will, speaking evil of dignitaries, becoming a stumbling block; and in our modern language, masturbation, petting, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and every sex perversion, every hidden and secret sin and all unholy and impure practices.

Amazing! Creating the world was quite a feat, parting the Red Sea was quite impressive, walking on water and feeding the multitudes was very clever. But of all the miracles of Christ I think the sinless life that the savior lived was the most awe-inspiring thing of all. He is worthy of worship, He is worthy of praise, He is worthy of all things. Holy is the Lamb of God!

10 Responses to “The Sinless Life”

  1. 1 Connor Boyack December 18, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Excellent point. Leading a life free from sin is most certainly a miracle.

  2. 2 Jettboy December 18, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    You know, I just don’t know what to make of it. The Scriptures are very specific about his sinless life. However, it also says, “but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” That shows a very strong, and godly, will to resist.

    One of the main reason “The Last Temptation of Christ” was so blasphemous is showing Christ giving in to temptation. However, what is so wrong is that Jesus did not give in and sin. He had to be perfect to be a worthy sacrifice for humanity. Even more than that, he was an example to how all of us should live. Very few, I am afraid, take that challenge. We can repent, but what does that really mean? Too many of us say I am sorry about our pet sins and then do it again.

    God is more patient than I can even imagine with humanity.

  3. 3 Michelle December 18, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    I love how the fact that He suffered temptation teaches us something so profound. We don’t need to repent of being tempted. He was also tempted, but just didn’t succumb. We don’t have to feel guilt for being tempted, just for giving in to temptation and sinning. Temptations are part of life. He showed us the way to respond. And He also offers His strength to help us resist temptation.

  4. 4 Eric Nielson December 18, 2006 at 10:44 pm


    Yes. Let people try to explain that away.


    I guess he has perfect patience. He certainly set the example. It is nice to have that example available. If he were not sinless, then who would we follow?


    That is a good point. I wonder about these temptations. When does a temptation become a sin of thought? Lust might be a good example. If one were tempted towards adultry, are they not guilty of the sin of lust?

    I think a big part of his being tempted in all things, was simple availability for sin if he chose to. I doubt he seriously entertained committing certain sins. I also wonder if his experience in the garden was part of gaining perfect empathy for what it is like to be less than the Son of God. Could this be where he experienced a type of perfect ‘simulation’ of what being tempted is like?

  5. 5 General Nonsense December 19, 2006 at 10:22 am

    If one were tempted towards adultery, are they not guilty of the sin of lust?

    I still think the difference is in the actions. Let’s say I have a co-worker whom I find to be attractive. I can either ensure that all my interactions with this co-worker are professional and distant despite my attraction.

    Or I can actually lust after her and arrange “innocent” lunch dates, frequent socializing at the water cooler and late work nights just to be near her and ogle.

    Lusting after vs. being tempted by

    I had an old branch president who used to say that he imagines Jesus was frequently accosted by hot babes looking to hook up with the celebrity miracle-worker. I don’t think He was exactly disgusted by these women, after all, they were hot babes. What he didn’t do was give the hot babes some priority in His ministry over the not-so-hot babes or the blind and deaf and lame. That’s perfect for ya.

  6. 6 Eric Nielson December 19, 2006 at 1:39 pm


    It seems a difficult line to draw given D&C 42. When does being tempted become the sin of lust.

  7. 7 Matt Witten December 19, 2006 at 2:06 pm


    My Mission President once said “You can see a pretty girl and say to yourself, ‘She’s pretty.’ That doesn’t mean you have to go home and sleep with her.”

  8. 8 Eric Nielson December 19, 2006 at 4:06 pm


    Thanks for your comment.

    Is there not a space between ‘she is pretty’ and ‘fornication/adultry’ which is the sin of lust? It seems there is a wide grey line in that space.

    Hopefully this is not taking away from the sinless life Christ lived. He was free of all this.

  9. 9 Michelle December 19, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out.

    I think another missionary saying might be applicable: “Look once at a pretty woman and you’re not a man; look twice and you are not a missionary.” Lust as a sin isn’t just being attracted as a sort of reflex (‘wow, she’s pretty!’); it’s giving place for attraction, lustful thoughts, etc. in the mind and heart.

    Sorry if I did take us away from the topic….

  10. 10 Jettboy December 19, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    “And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her,” needs a little more language research. There is a difference between the word “to” and the word “and” in this situation. Second question is if there is a difference between the word “lust” and the word “attraction” in the same verse. Of course, we can only ask that about the Greek writings and not the origina Aramaic of Jesus.

    In other words, what exactly is this saying? I can see many possibilities, besides what has been quoted. It could actually be “And he that looketh upon a woman and is attracted to her.” “And he that looketh upon a woman and feels lust.” “And he that looketh upon a woman to see if he can know her.” Find that out and we are a step closer to understanding what the Savior really meant.

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