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There’s a difference between perfect and sinless.

During his time on Earth, Jesus wasn’t perfect, but he was sinless. The sinless part is what counts in the spiritual realm.

Mistakes are built into the human experience and therefore unavoidable. If Jesus hadn’t made them, he wouldn’t have been human. Mind you, he made a lot fewer mistakes than we do, but he did make a few boo-boos of note. We know this, because some of them were included in the Gospels. This was done purposely to show us that Jesus wasn’t perfect. Even so, humanity didn’t need a Jesus who was perfect; humanity needed a Jesus who was sinless, and we got that.

Being imperfect and making occasional mistakes, Jesus could not possibly have been God, because God is perfect. Scripture is crystal clear about that. God doesn’t make mistakes, so Jesus could not possibly have been God. If Jesus hadn’t made mistakes during his time on Earth, he would have been God, but he wasn’t. He was fully human and infused with a full measure of God’s Spirit, more fully than any human before or since. But he wasn’t God and he wasn’t perfect.

It was sinlessness that made Jesus the Messiah, not perfection.

God doesn’t change. Scripture tells us that. So if God doesn’t change – ever – than how could he have changed himself into mortal form, shed his perfection and every other absolute characteristic, and come down to Earth as a human? God’s changes in appearance are only due to the perceptions of those who behold him. God himself never changes (scripture says that when we get to Heaven, we’ll see God as he is). Change implies imperfection, and God is perfect.

We also know that, physically, Jesus was not a heart-throb. In fact, he was described as “despised” (not attractive) and less than commanding (not tall). This was during his time on Earth. Since his glorification, Jesus has been physically perfected. He is now gloriously beautiful and perfect, like everyone in Heaven is beautiful and perfect. He started to change physically already during his post-resurrection appearances, for the 40 days before he ascended. The disciples recognized him by the things he said and did, not by his appearance.

We need to remember that Jesus made occasional mistakes and that he wasn’t perfect. We don’t follow an automaton; we follow a sinless human who made occasional mistakes but who has since been glorified and now lives in perfection at the right hand of God. We follow the example of someone who was once an imperfect but sinless human who is now perfected, as we will be perfected if we make it home.

So if someone tries to tell you that Jesus is God, tell them he can’t be God because he wasn’t perfect, and God is perfect. If they then tell you that God “shed” his perfection to dwell among humans, tell them that God doesn’t change. Scripture says so.

Jesus was imperfect but sinless. Thank God, he was imperfect but sinless. His mistakes make ours more bearable and him more approachable, and his sinlessness gives us a way home.

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