Hodge Denies Absolute Sinlessness of Christ

“The Mediator between God and man must be sinless. Under the law the victim offered on the altar must be without blemish. Christ, who was to offer Himself unto God as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, must be Himself free from sin. The High Priest, therefore, who becomes us, He whom our necessities demand, must be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. (Hebrews vii. 26.) He was, therefore, “without sin.” (Hebrews iv. 15; 1 Peter ii. 22.) A sinful Saviour from sin is an impossibility. He could not have access to God. He could not be a sacrifice for sins; and He could not be the source of holiness and eternal life to his people. This sinlessness of our Lord, however, does not amount to absolute impeccability. It was not a non potest peccare. If He was a true man He must have been capable of sinning. That He did not sin under the greatest provocation; that when He was reviled He blessed; when He suffered He threatened not; that He was dumb, as a sheep before its shearers, is held up to us as an example. Temptation implies the possibility of sin. If from the constitution of his person it was impossible for Christ to sin, then his temptation was unreal and without effect, and He cannot sympathize with his people” (Charles Hodge, Systematic theology, Volume 2, p. 457; underlining mine).

Here we have Charles Hodge denying the absolute purity and holiness of Jesus Christ by asserting, in essence, that it was possible for the spotless Lamb of God to become spotted and possible for Him who is the TRUTH to lie (Hodge’s twisted idea of a doxology). This is a damnable heresy from the pit of hell — Christ was NEVER capable of sinning.

Hodge’s devilish reasoning: If Christ was a true man, then He must have been capable of sinning. This doesn’t follow Hodge, you Christ-hating blasphemer. To reiterate, Hodge must say that the Lamb of God had to be capable of being spotted or blemished. Or, when the devil said for Christ to worship him, Christ must have been capable of doing this according to Hodge:

“And leading Him up into a high mountain, the Devil showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the Devil said to Him, I will give all this authority and their glory to You, because it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Then if You worship before me, all will be Yours. And answering, to him, Jesus said, Go behind Me, Satan! For it has been written: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Luke 4:5-8).

Jesus Christ is really and truly God as well as really and truly human. He is the only descendant of Adam with two natures, human and divine. He is the God-Man Mediator who came to save His people from their sins. The two natures of Christ are without separation and thus yet another insidious implication of Hodge’s theology is a denial of the immutability of the God-Man who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Perhaps a distortion of the Biblical parallel between the first Adam and Last Adam contributed to this evil enunciation by Hodge.

“But the free gift is not also like the deviation. For if by the deviation of the one the many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift in grace, which is of the one Man, Jesus Christ, did abound to the many”(Romans 5:15).

Notice that the focus of Romans 5:12-20 is dissimilarity. This dissimilarity is shown in Paul’s parallelism of the sin (disobedience) of Adam with the righteousness (obedience) of Christ. Without a type, there can be no antitype. Hodge desires to make Christ like Adam, and in doing so he blasphemes. For if Christ was like Adam in respect to a “posse peccare” then it becomes “possible” for all whom Christ represented to have another deviation imputed to them rather than the gift of righteousness imputed (cf. Romans 5:17). This utter wickedness of Hodge is virtually beyond words to describe; Hodge makes me want to puke.

It should come as no surprise that when I posted this quote by Charles Hodge many years ago to a “Christian” yahoo group, every last one of them defended the hubris of Hodge instead of the absolute purity and holiness of Christ. Here is one such defender of diabolical doctrine:

M wrote: How would Christ be able to fully identify with us by having been tempted if he had no ability to fall to temptation?

[I responded]So, for Christ to “fully identify” with sinners, He must also have the “ability” to become a sinner? That does not follow at all. You think that Christ would not be able to fully identify with His people unless He has the ability to become sinful like His people? His people fall, so He has to have some ability to fall as well? Check this verse out:

“For such a High Priest was fitting for us: holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners, and having become higher than the heavens; who has no need, as do the high priests, to offer sacrifices day by day, first for His own sins, then for those of the people. For He did this once for all, offering up Himself” (Hebrews 7:26-27).

According to you Jesus Christ cannot fully identify with His people UNLESS He also has the ability to “fall to temptation,” THUS becoming UNholy, harmful, defiled, and NOT separated from sinners; and having to offer a sacrifice first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people? Absolutely amazing. What you (and Hodge) assert is the very opposite, the very antithesis of what the Scriptures teach in Hebrews 7:26-27.

Take more than a superficial gander at Hebrews 4:15 and Hebrews 5:1-3. You have confused Christ with the high priest mentioned in 5:1-3. You don’t come right out and say that Christ “is compassed with infirmity,” yet you say that Christ MUST have this “ability” — and therein lies your mind-boggling wickedness.

“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” (Hebrews 4:15).

Christ is touched with the feeling of His people’s infirmities. Christ was in all points “tempted” [1] like as they are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). That Christ has no ability to sin whatsoever does NOT imply that His being “tried in all respects” wasn’t real, anymore than saying that Christ’s sure and certain victory at the cross with no ability to fail implies that the battle He fought wasn’t a real battle.

[1] “Tested” is a much more accurate translation since for some people to be “tempted” in “all points” necessarily implies concupiscence which is itself sin. Given that definition of “tempted” the mere instance of being tempted would be sin. Hence the more precise term, “tested.” Christ was tested in all points, He was NOT tempted in all points (we’re using that definition remember) since He did NOT sin.

“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins” (Hebrews 5:1-3).

Christ is “touched” and thus has compassion on His people. But the reason Christ has compassion on His people is NOWHERE NEAR the reason the high priests of old had compassion on the people. The reason the high priests of old had compassion on the people is because THEY THEMSELVES were compassed with infirmity. Christ is NOT compassed with infirmity. But Hodge and company would like Christ to at least have the “ability” to be compassed with infirmity. They want the Last Adam to have the “ability” to become like the First Adam. Likewise, they want the High Priest Jesus Christ to have the “ability” to become like the sin encompassed high priests of old. What diabolical blasphemy.