R.C. Sproul once said, “Isn’t it amazing that almost everyone has an opinion to offer about the Bible, and yet so few have studied it?” And CNN host Don Lemon is certainly no exception.
During a discussion on Monday night about the supposed “deifying” of America’s Founding Fathers, Lemon publicly proclaimed his ignorance of Christianity at its most basic and fundamental level, by asserting that Jesus Christ “admittedly was not perfect” while he was on earth.
“Here’s the thing, Jesus Christ, if you believe– if that’s who you believe in– Jesus Christ, admittedly, was not perfect when he was here on this earth,” Lemon said. “So, why are we deifying the founders of this country?”
Now, let’s fact-check CNN: The Bible isn’t ambiguous or obscure when it comes to the sinlessness of Jesus Christ. Not only is it impossible for God to contradict and deny himself (Heb. 6:18; Tit. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:13; Jam. 1:13), the sinlessness of Jesus is imperative to his coming.
The Apostle John tells us that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). He goes on to say, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (v.14). In other words, the Word that was God became a human being and lived on earth with other human beings.
But for what purpose? According to the Bible, the “Word became flesh” for a number of reasons, such as, to bring light to a dark world (Jn 12:46), to bear witness to the truth (Jn. 18:37), and to serve (Mk 10:45). But he also came to accomplish what no other human being could accomplish. Namely, to give eternal life to his people by overcoming sin and defeating death.
Jesus achieved this by offering himself as a substitute for sinners, something he couldn’t do if he was a sinner himself. On earth, Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to God, from birth until his death. He lived the life that we’ve all failed to live. He then died the death that we all deserve to die.
The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus came into the earth “to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26). There was a great exchange. He dealt with our sins on the cross so that he could clothe us in his own righteousness (Isa. 61:10-11). The proof of that being accomplished was his resurrection. Death was undone.
Why was all this necessary? Because even the “righteous” things we do are tainted and marred by sin. As the prophet Isaiah said, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isa. 64:6). None of us qualifies to enter God’s presence without melting away like wax before a flame (Ps. 68:1). So, what hope do we have for dwelling on his new earth in his kingdom forever?
Furthermore, lest any of us are still banking on our own goodness, Jesus warned that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).
If Jesus was “admittedly was not perfect” while he was on earth, that is the worst possible news we could hear. The devastating implications of that cannot be overstated.
Thankfully, Don Lemon is no spiritual authority worth our time. Despite his wildly unfounded and ignorant assertion, we have a much better witness than the baseless fancies of a smug “journalist” from CNN. We have the testimony of those closest to him, those who were willing to suffer torturous deaths for what they knew about Jesus and witnessed firsthand.
1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Hebrews 4:15 “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
1 John 3:5 “You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.”
1 Peter 1:18-19 “…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
During Jesus’ time on earth, even his fiercest opponents, those who hated him with such intensity that they sought to have him murdered, could find no witness against him who could testify of any wrong (Mark 14:55). What testimony they did receive was inconsistent and fabricated (vv.56-58). So unconvincing was their accusations that even Pontius Pilate could “find no guilt in him” (John 19:4).
Of course, Lemon’s claim is false. So, the question he needs to ask himself is, who is Jesus? A liar, a lunatic, or the Lord?
To quote C.S. Lewis: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.
“Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.
“But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”