Was Jesus Sinless Because of His Divinity Or His Free Will?

Scripture tell us that Christ was like us in all things but sin. But as fully God and fully man, was it the case that He couldn’t sin because He was God or that He chose not to sin because of His free will?

That’s the question a listener recently posed on The Patrick Madrid Showand Patrick explained the ways that Christ’s nature is like ours, and the ways it is different.

“He was certainly sinless as a person, because He’s a divine person,” Patrick said. “And keeping in mind that only a person can commit a sin, nature can’t commit a sin. So your human nature can’t sin, only you can sin. You have a human nature. So, the essence of His sinlessness is that as God, as a person, there’s no way He could have sinned.”

Patrick clarified that even though there is no way that Jesus could have sinned, because of who He was as a divine person, this didn’t limit his free will. He explained, “Now, it is true that Jesus has a divine will and a human will. And His human will is free. But it’s also perfectly aligned with His divine will. So there’s no deviation, one from the other. So, as the Bible says, Christ is like us in all things except sin. So for Him it would have been impossible to sin. Not because He wasn’t free, but because as God it would be contrary to His nature.”

Because Jesus had no sin, He was also free from original sin. Thus, His free will was more akin to that of Adam and Eve before the Fall than it was to our experience of free will.

“We have a fallen free will,” Patrick said. “This is another difference is that our free will is fallen. We were corrupted by the Fall. Whereas Adam and Eve had the perfection of free will, which is what made their sin against God so malicious. The malice involved was way higher because they saw things with perfect clarity, and yet they still did this.”

“You and I are beset by concupiscence, the disordered inclination toward sin, the darkening of our intellect, the weakening of our will, the disintegration between our intellect and our will. So we have lot of things that hamper us, which is one reason why I think God has such mercy on us. And still, we have sufficient freedom to be able to say yes or no to sin when it comes up.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 9:00 – noon Eastern/6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.