This question is something that has been on my mind a lot recently, and I find it to be one of the most foundational principles of Christianity. I firmly believe that this idea of a perfect savior will be challenged more and more as time goes on, and it’s something that we need to be able to fully and adequately address. Now this is a pretty hefty theological question, but because of the importance of it, I want to try to keep it short and simple.
Jesus’ mission on earth, was to be the substitutionary sacrifice for us. Romans 3:23 tells us that each and every one of us has sinned and is in need of a savior. Jesus needed to be able to be killed so that He could pay the price for our sins. Romans 6:23 tells us that the price required to pay for sin is death. This is why Adam and Eve were told they would die once they had sinned, and it’s why the ancient Jewish people had to sacrifice animals as payment for their sins. However there is an important restriction on those sacrifices that we need to understand as background to this question.
Leviticus 22:20 is very clear that any animal offered as a sacrifice had to be perfect, spotless, and without blemish or it would not be accepted as payment for sin. So we know, that any sacrifice for our sin has to be perfect, since we aren’t. This leaves us with the question of whether Jesus fits that bill.
Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was tempted, just as we are, and yet He never knew sin. He was a man, because the sacrifice has to involve flesh, blood, and physical death. But He never succumbed to temptation and He never sinned. This actually makes perfect sense, because we know what His mission was, and we know that the wages of sin are death. So, if Jesus had sinned, then His sacrifice would not be able to pay for my sins or your sins, His death would only have paid for His sin. In order to take on our sin and kill it at the cross, He had to be a container empty of sin in order to hold all of the sin of the world, and we know that is exactly what He did.
2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that God made Him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Jesus. How amazing of a gift is that? And how perfectly planned out was our salvation, a plan made by a God who loves us that much?
So when the question comes up of whether or not Jesus was perfect, the only answer is that if He wasn’t perfect, then there was no redemption for our sin, no salvation, and everything that makes Christianity what it is doesn’t matter anymore. There can be no compromise on this issue, Jesus was the perfect payment for our sin, for once, and for all, or we all stand in condemnation. Praise God for the Perfect Sacrifice!