We are told in the Bible that nothing is impossible with God. But we are also told in Scripture that there are things which are impossible for God. Is there an inconsistency?


There is no inconsistency, but we must understand the context of the passages involved.

Titus 1:2 tells us: “… in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.” God CANNOT lie. In other words, it is IMPOSSIBLE for Him to do so. Malachi 3:6 adds: “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” God’s character does not–CANNOT–change, because God has WILLED not to change in that respect. Since He has a perfect Will and a perfect character, He CANNOT do something against His own nature. It is impossible for God to sin because He has WILLED never to sin. And His Will is perfect. To put it still differently, God CAN DECIDE to make something impossible with Him.

Note another example when something has BECOME unalterable–so that even God cannot change it. Due to a perfect unconditional promise, He binds Himself never to deviate from it. Since breaking an unconditional promise is tantamount to lying, it is impossible for God to break His unconditional Word. We read in Genesis 9:11 about one of God’s unconditional promises in this way: “Thus I establish My covenant with you:… never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

It may be difficult for the human mind to grasp that Someone can have such a perfect Will that He can decree never to sin–and that because of this, it is impossible for Him to sin. Based on our human experiences, we find ourselves sinning, even if we have set our minds against doing so. Paul had to struggle with sin, as every Christian has to do. He tells us in Romans 7:15-17, 22-23:

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me… For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

Paul did not want to sin. He willed not to sin. But weak as we are as human beings, our will does not make it impossible for us to do something which is against our will. Christ admonished the disciples to pray to God for help, as their mind or spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak (compare Matthew 26:41). Even Christ had to fight against sin, but He was the only human being who, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within Him without measure, submitted perfectly to God’s Will in all things, and never sinned. But He still had to fight against His human nature (Romans 8:3), tempting Him to sin (compare Luke 22:40-44; Hebrews 5:6-10).

Paul sinned, as was and is the case with every other Christian except Jesus Christ. And so, he asked the question: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). He himself gives the answer: It will be accomplished “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 25). Christ, living in us through the Holy Spirit, helps us more and more to overcome sin. And when we are changed from flesh and blood to spirit–at the time of Christ’s return– then we will not be able to sin anymore. Then, we will have become born-again members of the Family of God–God beings–and as such, it will be impossible for us to sin, as it is impossible for God the Father and the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to sin. Then, our will not to sin will be perfect–as God’s Will is perfect (Matthew 5:48)–and we will not be able to sin anymore. 1 John 3:9 confirms this, when it says: “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

Matthew 19:26 tells us: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” But what is Jesus referring to here? Verses 23-25 tell us it is the question of a rich man having the potential of entering God’s Kingdom. Jesus is not saying that it is possible for God to lie or to sin, when making the point that nothing is impossible with God. God’s power is limitless, but this does not mean that He would or could do something which would be against His Will and His very character. God CANNOT sin, because He has WILLED not to sin. His very character makes it impossible for Him to sin. And this is the character which God wants you and me to develop.

Lead Writers: Norbert Link and Tom Shadoin

©2023 Church of the Eternal God