Could Jesus Have Sinned? Part III
The Vital Secret Of The Holiness Of Life
By Pastor James L. Groce
Calvary Apostolic Tabernacle
March 2, 2001
1 Timothy 3:16
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Having garnered the original word meanings in Strong’s Concordance, 1 Timothy 3:16 can be expressed as:
“Without objection, of vital importance is the secret, which can only be revealed by God, of the holiness of
God was shown openly in living flesh,
Revealed to be righteous by the Spirit,
Seen of angels,
Made known unto the gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up into glory.”
(Notice: all these stanzas are dealing in revelatory terminology)
The word “mystery” in 1 Timothy 3:16 is musteriou which means “some sacred thing hidden or secret
which is naturally unknown to human reason and is only known by the revelation of God.” Paul tells us that
holiness of life (godliness) is a vital secret that can only be known by a revelation of God. Man had never
seen nor known true holiness of life in all the history of mankind. This statement is concluded with a colon,
thus signifying, an example or future explanation follows. The example or explanation of this great
mystery or secret of holiness of life is:
God was shown openly (manifested, revealed, declared, proclaimed) in living flesh,
Seen (made apparent to view) of angels,
Made known (proclaimed, preached) unto the gentiles,
Believed on ( understood, trusted) in the world,
Received up into glory.
Thus, the vital secret of holiness of life is REVEALED by God manifest in living flesh. Just as the true
nature of an individual is manifested by his actions [ by their fruits (works) shall ye know them], likewise,
the nature of God was shown openly in living flesh.
This secret of the ages (of holiness of life) had been veiled in obscurity, glimpsed but never clearly seen,
until God was manifest in the flesh, thus revealing Himself (His nature) to all that would truly “Behold the
Lamb of God.” This secret was vital because without an understanding of the nature of God man could
never know God. It was the lack of knowledge of this vital secret of holiness of life that confused and
became a stumbling block to the Jews. “You being a man make yourself God,” was their stumbling in the
dark retort to the Lord Jesus Christ. As frequently was the case, they had stated their confusion in terms of
backwardness of truth. It was not a man making himself God, yea rather, God had made Himself a Man!
These blind leaders of the blind had rightfully sensed His humanity but failed to see that that living flesh
was manifesting God! Here was the image of the invisible God-the express image of His person. “When
you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Yet, they failed to see, having eyes they saw not. “Before
Abraham was, I AM,” “Emmanuel, God with us,” Jesus declared, however they stumbled on in their
Why? Why did they so miserably fail to see this obvious display of God in living flesh? How could they
have been so blinded as to not detect the nature of God radiating from this human body that they sought to
destroy? Why? Because of their misconception of the nature of God, therefore when He manifested His
nature they failed to associate those actions with their idea of God. Not knowing His true nature, they did
not recognize Him when He came. “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” Neither had
God, as some tend to believe, changed His nature and stepped into the their world incognito. “I am God and
I change not.” God’s nature was ever the same. It was the world’s conception of God that was in error.
The Jew had formulated a God that they only knew as far away, a God that set boundaries to prevent
intimacy. A God of thunder and lighting and gross darkness, a God that clave open the ground and
swallowed rebellious men alive. A God who hurled lighting bolts as javelins, a God who gathered the stars
in His hand as trinkets of insignificance. A God who made the clouds His chariots and the earth His
footstool. These were facets of God’s nature but not His complete revealed nature.
What they failed to see was His true holiness and their wretched sinfulness. Sin that had created a great gulf
between man and God over which no man might pass. What they failed to understand was that man was
without God and without hope in the world, doomed to an eternal damnation. And their greatest
shortcoming was their failure to see and understand a God who loved them and would come to their rescue
Himself! While man could not cross the great chasm of sin to go to God-God robed Himself in living
flesh and came to man! This WAS and ALWAYS had been His nature. “God is Love.” “And in the fullness
of time, Christ died for our sins.” He came to manifest (make known) His nature!
The smoking mountain of Sinai could not MANIFEST this nature. It shook and quaked but it was lifeless
stones, unfeeling sand and gravel, tons of earth without heartbeat or emotion. Even the pillar of cloud by
day and a pillar of fire by night could not MANIFEST God’s nature. They were only ensigns without life
that went before the people as God directed. All the types and shadows of the Tabernacle were but lifeless
gold and silver, shittim wood and fabric that could only be understood AFTER true discovery of the vital
secret of holiness-Jesus Christ!
No, “a body,”-only a living body of flesh with emotions, language, feelings and breath could manifest the
nature of God to fallen man. Therefore, “God was manifest in the flesh.” No prophet could describe Him
clearly enough, no leader could proclaim Him thoroughly enough-no-God, in order to MANIFEST
Himself came in living flesh!
Jesus Christ possessed one nature-that of who He was in truth-God. Yet He functioned in several offices
at the same time. “Nature” implies “individuality.” “Natures” implies “individuals.” “Office,” rather,
speaks of “role.” “Offices,” likewise, denotes multiple “functions” of the same individual as he performs in
different roles, such as, father to child, husband to wife, son to father, neighbor to neighbor, employer to
employee, etc. The self same individual functioning in all these roles, and having certain characteristics that
come into play in some roles and not in others. For instance, to the wife he has reactions and involvements
that are not brought into action with the neighbor, yet he is the same individual nonetheless. This is why
many times Jesus referred to the “Son of man” as though he were speaking of another person, as we clearly
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath
not where to lay his head.
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of
the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a
friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity;
These are only a few of the many instances where Jesus spoke of Himself thusly. Rather than using the
personal pronoun “I,” Jesus uses the phrase “son of man.” (I wonder why the Trinitarians don’t use those
instances to form yet another member of their confused godhead theology?). Then at other times He speaks
of “the Father:”
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
What you see is NOT multiple persons of some supposed trinity but rather the operation of “offices.” Jesus
illustrated this duality (Son of man and Father) not only in His actions but also in His speech. The office of
“sonship” required certain boundaries to reside within. Certain actions and words were dependant upon
whom He was dealing with or speaking to. Just as a husband will say and do things with his wife that
would be out of place with anyone else. The office of husband is only performed with the wife. Likewise,
Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh and yet he also performed in the offices of Father, Son and Holy
Ghost. One must ascertain the role to determine why He spoke and acted as He did at various times. As the
Father He spoke of the “Son of man,” as the Son He spoke of the “Father,” and as the “Holy Ghost,” He
spoke of the “Father and of the Son.” This should answer any question arising from Matthew 28:19. The
Name is singular, while the offices are plural! This UNDERSTANDING of the vital secret is why ALL the
apostles baptized ONLY in Jesus’ Name! They had understanding of the vital secret.
These office distinctions also answer the question as to the reason Jesus as the Son refrained from telling of
the day and hour of the coming of Himself! Matt 24:44, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as
ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Even though He Himself is coming He says, Mark 13:32, “But of that
day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”
(Trinitarians must say that the three persons of their imagined trinity are NOT co-equal after all) But the
simple explanation is that the boundaries of the “sonship” prevent discloser of the day and hour, that
privilege resides in the “Fathership.”
Calvary was a place where Spirit could not fulfill the sacrifice-a living body of flesh was needed. Not just
any “body” but the Lamb of God-God manifest in the flesh!
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body
hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I
come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice
and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein;
which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that
he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all.
This musteriou, this vital secret, this sacred thing hidden which could never be understood by human
reason was MANIFESTED by the revelation of God-in living flesh! Heb 1:1-3, “God, who at sundry
times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days
spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the
word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on
Since Jesus manifested the nature of God it is impossible to think that He could be tempted to sin. He
needed not to experience any physical situation or to be tutored in order to learn anything, for He being the
ALL knowing God had no such need. God came in living flesh to DECLARE Himself, to reveal the vital
secret of holiness of life and that revelation is JESUS CHRIST! We are told that Jesus ate, slept, walked,
wept, drank, became weary but not once is it ever recorded that He was ill or sick-yet He is our Great
High Priest to whom we go often to seek healing-are we to believe that since He was never sick that He
cannot relate to our sicknesses? No, He can relate to all human needs and desires simply because He is
GOD! And because of His nature of Love He came to rescue us-not to be rescued!
Yes, great (vital) is the secret (mystery) of holiness of life (godliness)! And this secret was revealed,
manifested, declared, made known, and proclaimed when God came in living flesh! “Hereby we perceive
(see, understand) the love of God, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
Could Jesus have sinned? If one can fail to see that the answer must always and forever be, “No,” then so
be it! But as for me the secret of vital importance has been revealed! Thank God!