Previous article in this series: November 15, 2011, p. 86.
For Adam to attain a life that he could not lose, he would have to be able to get to the point where it was no longer possible for him to sin. Some think that Adam eventually would have arrived at this point, if he had only remained obedient long enough. But such an idea originates in the mind of man. It is nowhere spoken of in Scripture.
Jesus Christ is the one and only man that was and is unable to sin. So for the first Adam to get to the point that he would be unable to sin, he would have to be engrafted into the last Adam, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:45).
Although Jesus very really was tempted, it was impossible for Him to sin. That is because sin is committed by a person, and Jesus as to His person is the eternal Son of God—the second Person of the holy Trinity. There is no way that the holy God can do that which is evil. And since Jesus is God, it was impossible for Him to sin.
There are things that God cannot do—and that we rejoice to know that He cannot do. Scripture, for example, says that He “cannot lie”:
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began,
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us,
What a comfort it is to know that there is no way that God ever could do something that is contrary to His infinitely perfect Being. He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5).
So, since Jesus as to His person is God, He is also the one and only man who could be tempted without there being any possibility that He would sin. For Adam, outside of Christ, falling into sin would always have been a possibility. But for our Lord Jesus Christ, it never could have happened.
The regenerated believer already now has a beginning of this life of Christ. In the new man he is in Christ, and thus it is impossible for him to sin. He still does sin, of course. In fact, it is impossible for him to do even one work that is not defiled with sin. But that is because he still has an old man—a nature that is inclined to all evil. In the new man he is born of God, and thus is like Him, always delighting to do what God says.
That this is really the case is brought out in a number of passages:
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God,
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man,
In Christ we are born of God, and we cannot sin. We delight in the law of God, and with a heartfelt desire long to do what is pleasing to our everlasting Father. So when the believer sins, it is actually proper to say that it is not he that does it, but sin that dwells within him. That is what the inspired apostle Paul actually says about himself:
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me,
Rom. 7:19-20.In Christ the believer cannot sin, and thus he will never be punished with death. He has a higher life, a higher freedom, which Adam prior to the fall never could have obtained.