Question #2 - What kind of nature did Christ have as a human, and could He have sinned while on earth?

As we conclude our very short and incomplete examination of the 2nd Question in our list, it is important to keep in mind several facts:

All of these facts and many more are presented throughout the Scriptures concerning the deity and humanity of Christ. All Scripture must agree with itself. There must be no contradiction with any part of Scripture or the conclusions drawn from those facts.

To have any understanding of this very, deep aspect of God, we must understand and accept the fact of the two distinct and dissimilar natures involved in this Hypostatic Union. We must understand that these two, even though different, were without sin. We must also understand that these two natures had separate, independent existence and distinct individuality, as per definition and evidence throughout Scripture.

the mode in which a substance, thought or nature has separate and independent existence and distinct individuality.
Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
made Himself of no reputation - (Greek)
to make empty; to abuse; to neutralize; to falsify.

We must realize that Christ, in and through His Own sovereignty, chose to "make Himself of no reputation" or laid aside His rights to Godness, or better still, in my opinion, placed His personal divinity in neutral when He took on the form of a servant.

We closed the last lesson asking you to work with these and other facts for the week. Then from all of those facts in harmony to draw your own conclusion as to whether Christ could have sinned while He was on earth. I promised my infallible, heh, opinion at the first of this lesson. So, I will give you my opinion, and then I will give you the Biblical answer. The two are not the same, but they are in harmony.

Based on the facts of the Word of God we have examined in these past two lessons, plus much information we have not had time to look at, the humanity of Christ was tempted in all points as we are. Based on that and other Biblical facts, I conclude that the humanity of Christ could have sinned. The divinity of Christ was not tempted, because it was laid aside, or placed in neutral by Christ’s own sovereignty. This fact is one of the great glories of God’s love for us. God laid His Godness on the line, so that whosoever would believe on Him, the Son, would have everlasting life.

That is my conclusion based the facts of Scripture I know at this stage of my study. As a matter of fact, it is the only conclusion I can be comfortable with based on all the facts of Scripture I know. However, that is my conclusion. It is not the declaration of Scripture. Scripture does not definitely declare the answer to this question in any passage. What the Scripture does clearly present is that Christ was tempted in all point like we are, yet He was without sin.

The important fact is that it was the Christ, the very Son of God, Who was tempted, and He did not sin.
Therefore, we can have salvation, and He can help us in our time of temptation.    

Knowing the what-ifs, as interesting as that may be, has little or no bearing on the reality of your eternal destiny. But what you do with the Son of God does have everything to do with your eternal destiny. Some of my good preacher friends disagree with my opinion, and I don’t think any less of them for it. After all, they have a right to be wrong. I just can’t wait till we all get to heaven, so I can say "I told you so."

In reality, when we get to heaven, there will be so many other grand and important things that these things will seem distant and insignificant. But there are a couple of things that will be of prime importance when you get to eternity:

The right answers to those questions are far more important to your spiritual well being than all the great theological mind twisters of all times.

It is right and proper, yes even needful, to search for and find all the Biblical information concerning these great theological mind twisters. But we must be very careful not to push the facts of the Word of God beyond what they clearly say, or we too will find ourselves in the same religious slime pit as did the Y2Kers when they walked too close to the edge of truth, turning the truths of Christ’s return and the end of the age into fables.

These are the questions we are examining at the beginning of this new year. Answering questions seems to generate new questions. I have been bombarded with all kinds of other questions, along with the request to "Please take just one more lesson and answer this question, also."

The problem with that type of request is, there is not "just one more" question. We could probably spend most of the year answering those "just one more" questions. That would not be all bad, and I’m sure we would learn a lot, but it would not allow us to continue in a systematic manner to study the subject at hand.

However, I am going to add one other question to the list to be answered at this time. Later in the year, we can take another month or so and answer some others. Please, put your question in written form. This additional question was going to be covered in the course of our study in about 4 to 6 months anyway. So, I will jump it up in the schedule a little.

There evidently has been a barrage of solicitations from Christians, or at least religious organizations over the past few months. In some of the solicitation packages there has also been pressure teaching concerning how, what and where Christians should give, and that every Believer should be engaged in "Covenant Giving", whatever that is?

In the years I have been at this church, I have never covered the subject of giving in a systematic manner. As a matter of fact, giving has hardly been mentioned from the pulpit. After we look at the question on agapa love, we will take a quick look at Biblical giving, and what constitutes giving to missions.

To answer that question will of necessity require that we define missions. I’m not sure I can answer the question concerning "Covenant Giving", because I can’t find any information on such giving in the Bible. This new question is a week or two away, but the question for this and part of the next lesson deals with proper relationships, and especially those relationships called friendships.

Question #3 - What is a proper relationship or friendship between two Believers or a Believer and an unbeliever?

As with any of these questions we’ve looked at or will examine, there is no way I can do justice to this subject in 45 minutes of teaching time. I can only give you Biblical highlights and point you to where and how to gain more Biblical information.

What is a friend?

Friendship is not a subject that is spelled out in any detail in the Scriptures. It is a peripheral doctrine, or a teaching that is only found on the edge of some other major teaching or doctrine. Friends, friendships, etc. are mentioned often throughout the Scriptures, but there is very little teaching concerning the details of this broad subject. Therefore, we must gain our insights on this subject by studying other Biblical subjects and by using the normal definition.

The facts gained through a study of this nature must be kept clearly in the context in which they were given. We must handle very carefully the Biblical facts of friendship, and not generalizing a fact in one context by applying it all other situations.

friend (Webster)
  • One who seeks the society or welfare of another whom he holds in affection, respect or esteem or whose companionship and personality are pleasurable
  • One who is not hostile or not an enemy
  • One who is of the same nation, party or other group and whose friendly feelings are assumed or from whom sympathy or cooperation is expected.

There are many more shades of the meaning to this term friend given by Webster, but these three are very close to the Biblical projection of a friend.

Job’s three friends would parallel this third shade of meaning by Webster’s definition. Job’s friends were people from whom Job expected cooperation and sympathy. They were also of the same group as he. They did not act as we would expect friends to act. However, they are consistently referred to as his friends.

If we are to properly learn the facts of Scripture, we must not impose what we think those facts should be, But we must discover what the Bible declares as facts, then correlate all those facts and harmonize them with all that the Bible teaches.


Problems in friendships often occur because our friends do not act in a manner that we expect. Erroneous or unfounded expectations are one of the greatest killers of any relationship, and that is certainly true of friendship. More about expectation a little later in the study.

Luke 15:4-6 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!"

In this account of the lost sheep, the reference to friends would be a pretty good illustration of the 2nd shade of the meaning given by Webster. In this situation, the finder is so happy that he wants to share his happiness with all who are not hostile to him. This is not a case in which he went to his database and found the phone numbers of his three best friends, called them and his neighbors to come to a party. Instead, in his enthusiasm and excitement over his find, he wanted to tell anyone associated with him.

Psalm 15:1-3 Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? 2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; 3 He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

In this passage, we have a Biblical example that is very close to the first or main shade of meaning for friend as given by Webster.

It is hard for a teacher of the Word of God to slip over this passage just to get an example. Nor will we just slip over this passage, because this passage contains more information concerning what is needed for a Biblical friendship than almost any other one passage I know.

Our examination of friendship will focus on Biblically correct Christian friendships. We will see only some very short references to the friendship of Believers with non-believers.

A Biblical friendship must be based on something or someone other than the ones directly involved in that relationship. We cannot take the time to see why a friendship must be based on something other than the ones directly involved in the relationship, but it has a great deal to do with the old sin nature.

Most so called friendships start and are carried on for very wrong reasons. Friendships often develop because the parties involved in that friendship have problems, hang-up, sins, etc. of equal or similar nature. Over time, these dark areas of their lives have caused them great emotional and sometime physical distress. In an effort to relieve the pressure from these distresses, a person looks for someone to share that load.

By the way, some of the basis of this type of friendship has roots in Biblical facts. Don’t miss that word some! The use of only some Biblical facts is a major problem when developing a standard of behavior. Far too often only some of the teachings of the Bible are used. Therefore, the standard we develop is not what the Bible teaches, even though it contains some of what the Bible teaches. Herein lies the reason for much of the false teaching concerning Biblical friendship.

When we have major personality and/or sin problems, we have a tendency to gravitate to others who have similar problems. By finding someone with like problems, we think the other person will understand and sympathize. Neither of these, in and of themselves, can help when there are these types of problems in the life. Having only understanding and sympathy will increase those problems many times over.

Having someone understand and especially sympathize will make the load seem lighter for a short time. However, the problem with such an arrangement, and it is only an arrangement is that both have brought the same problems to the relationship, and neither one has an answer or solution to those problems.

When that relationship becomes anything more than casual, those in the relationship will then find that instead of simply having the original problems, they now have more than twice as many problems as before. When two people bring the same problems to a relationship, they have not simply added problems, they have multiplied them. There are reasons why this is so, but we will not take time to look at them now.

Having those problems multiplied is complicated by the fact that each will eventually begin to blame the other for the lack of solutions to those problems. After all, they each expected relief from the pressure, and that relief was expected to be provided by their friend.

If you do not hear anything else in this lesson, hear this; 
Human friends are the wrong source from which to obtain relief 
from marital, social, or any other problems.    

Now with the unfulfilled expectations, that relationship has totally new and expanded problems, plus the original problems brought by each. Another sad fact is that this relationship, developed because of the hope, a false hope, of relief, now brings added complications that only intensifies the original problem, instead of bringing real and lasting relief.

The only real relief for social problems is the resolution of the problems, or the acceptance of the problems. The only relief for sin problems is accepting God’s forgiveness and using His strength and grace to live above the sins. Anything less, leaves the problems intact, increases frustration and usually multiplies the problems even more.

In order to see and understand these principles of friendship, we must go back over some areas of teaching that have been given before in a different, but similar arena of study.

We will also approach proper Biblical friendship by first looking at improper relationships. The reason? Humans see and understand improper relationships far better than we see and understand proper relationships. Therefore, we can go from the known negative to the unknown positive. That technique is used often in the Bible. In this short examination, we will not take time to look up all the Biblical evidence, most of which is well known to those at MBF.


We must remember that in any relationship, we each bring a set of differences, even if we are identical twins. One person will like blue the other green. One will like dogs and the other cats. One may be sloppy and the other is a neaty, and so on.

Obviously not everything we bring to the relationship is different, but in our personalities, likes, dislikes, etc. there will be more that is different than is in perfect harmony. We each will approach life and life’s problems or joys differently because we have different parents, our schooling was different, we are different in age, nationality, social status, etc. Along with these many differences, we bring the common negative similarities that often spawn the beginnings of friendships.

Often friendships are begun because both parties are having problems in their marriages and in particular with their spouse. This is especially common among women. Men are reluctant to talk about marriage problems. Men do not have less marriage problems, they just talk about those problems less.

For our illustration, let’s use the marriage problem as the common bond for the friendship. Therefore, each of these in the friendship are expecting the other to lighten the load of this pressing marriage problem.

It will be a cold day in August when two people with marriage problems will help the other lighten that load through friendship. By no means will either bring resolution to those marriage problems, they will more than likely increase the problems.


As this friendship develops over time, and those expectations of relief are not met, then problems develop in their friendship as well as in their marriage. If you are expecting something from someone, and you don't receive your expectation, you are disappointed! Now, who do you blame for the fact of not receiving what you expected? That’s simple, you will blame the other person in the that relationship.

Why? Because you entered that relationship or friendship expecting to receive something from the other person. In the case of our illustration, you expected some relief from your marriage woes.


When you blame someone, especially when they are not responsible, you develop guilt in your soul through the conscience. Guilt to the soul is somewhat like pain to the body. When pain is inflicted to the body, you try to protect yourself or divert that pain.


In the soul, when guilt appears, you try to divert that, also. That diversion is called bitterness. We don’t have time to walk through the development of this diversion, and the teeter-totter process that follows and escalates. However, if you come in for marriage counseling, we will go through that process from several angles.

In our illustration, I used marriage problems as the attraction that started the friendship, and the glue that keeps that relationship going. However, any spiritual or social problems could be the factor that brings two or more people into this friendship. This attraction or glue could be almost any problem, including Church problems. Later, we will look at a friendship, between two enemies, that was developed because of problems involving Christ.

The effect of any improper friendship will be similar. The circumstance may be different, but the general effect will be bitterness. Once bitterness becomes a factor in any relationship, it spawns all kinds of other nasty actions and reactions. Many church problems, family problems, friendship problems, etc., are the results of this root of bitterness springing up and causing trouble.

Hebrews 12:14-16 Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Bitterness is seldom seen, outwardly, as bitterness. Instead, bitterness is a root that permeates the soil of the life, and springs up or sends up a shoot from the soil of life in many different forms of evil actions.

Whatever form that underground bitterness takes when it springs up, it always causes trouble, and it brings defilement to many who have the misfortune of being associated with that bitter person. By the Greek structure, this defilement is not a continuous action, but each time bitterness sticks its ugly head out the soil of life, it once again brings defilement to those around.

defiled (Greek)
to taint i.e. contaminate; to stain with color throughout as with glass rather than to smear on surface; to cause color to change.

A bitter person may, at most times, be a joy to be around, because the bitterness is underground, and the bitter person does many things to compensate for that root. Therefore, many people may be drawn to them, but with a rapid unpredictability, that submerged bitterness pops up, and when it does, many who are around that person become defiled! I’m sure you’ve met people like that. Maybe that person is the person you see most often in the mirror

Bitterness causes a defilement in others that leaves a permanent stain. Literally, the effect of bitterness changes a person throughout. If you know a person who has bitterness, you would be wise not to make that person your friend!

Very briefly, that is the effect of bitterness on the bystanders of a bitter person. Look at one other effect bitterness has on the bitter one. Hebrews 12:15 tells us that if we let the root of bitterness dwell in our lives, we have fallen short of the grace of God.

Sad to say, many, many, many Christians are in this state of bitterness, and as a result they can not reach the grace of God. What a horrible place for a Christian to be! What a horrible place for anyone to be! If you are a Believer, and you have bitterness in your life, you need to pause right now, and get that taken care of with God, and anyone else involved.

Bitterness is a spiritual Killer!
Bitterness is a Killer of friendships!
Bitterness is a Killer of just about any social or spiritual relationship!

You may have bitterness and not really be aware that this spiritual virus is ravaging your live, like a flesh eating cancer. Bitterness in the life is most often evidenced by the erratic springing up of all manner of sinful actions that defile those around the bitter person. The most common evidence of bitterness is the outbursts of wrath, mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.

If you were drawn into a friendship in order to find relief from some social or sin problem, the likelihood of you developing bitterness is probably 100% or very close to it.

In the next lessons, we will look at what it takes to develop a proper friendship, along with many other aspects of friendship. We will spend some time with two passages. Both of these we’ve glanced at in this lesson, but we will take even a closer look in the next lessons. You would do well to read and study these verses everyday or many times a day, between now and those lessons.

Hebrews 12:14-16 Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
Psalms 15:1-3 Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? 2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; 3 He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2000