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  • Christians still sin . . .

    I hear this all the time and logically it makes sense. However, I'm still trying to grasp this concept in light of what John has to say about sin and the born-again believer.

    1 John 3:4-9
    Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
    Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 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.
    These seem like pretty strong words from John in regards to the issue of sin in Christians. Many people want to say that this is talking about a state of sin as opposed to a single sinful act, but I'm having a difficult time accepting that opinion in light of the text above. He simply says that he who is born of God does not sin. He doesn't say that he who is born of God does not live in sin. He makes it sound as if someone who is truly born of God doesn't sin period.

    Any thoughts on these Scriptures?
    "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

    -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

  • #2
    I was always taught ( and believe ) that he is referring to the desire to willfully commit a sinful act.
    Example: A non-believer willfully chooses to be in rebellion against The Lord (and like it ).
    But a believer can't be in rebellion, and when they sin they will not like it.
    "Love is not about you...and it never was"
    "Selfishness is inwardly focused, but Love is Always outwardly focused!"

    I am very anti-abortion, anti-murder, and Pro-Love.
    Gotta stop repeating myself...

    Stop Marfan - The Silent but deadly killer.
    It's main weapon is lack of truth.
    Please learn the truth about the Marfan syndrome
    by visiting The National Marfan Foundation.
    Feel free to ask me any questions you may have
    about the Marfan syndrome and I will answer them
    the best I can.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SammeyDW View Post
      I was always taught ( and believe ) that he is referring to the desire to willfully commit a sinful act.
      Example: A non-believer willfully chooses to be in rebellion against The Lord (and like it ).
      But a believer can't be in rebellion, and when they sin they will not like it.
      I could kind of see this before I could see the "state of sin" opinion. I mean, I'm not going to sit down and willfully watch porn because I know it is sexual immorality and the Lord hates it. However, what about the things that sneak up on you before you know it like anger and so on?
      "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

      -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

      Comment


      • #4
        Things like anger + acting foolish in anger , etc. :
        A believer is more likely to feel repentance over such things.
        Where as a non-believer is more likely to make excuses for such behavior.
        "Love is not about you...and it never was"
        "Selfishness is inwardly focused, but Love is Always outwardly focused!"

        I am very anti-abortion, anti-murder, and Pro-Love.
        Gotta stop repeating myself...

        Stop Marfan - The Silent but deadly killer.
        It's main weapon is lack of truth.
        Please learn the truth about the Marfan syndrome
        by visiting The National Marfan Foundation.
        Feel free to ask me any questions you may have
        about the Marfan syndrome and I will answer them
        the best I can.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SammeyDW View Post
          Things like anger + acting foolish in anger , etc. :
          A believer is more likely to feel repentance over such things.
          Where as a non-believer is more likely to make excuses for such behavior.
          I would like to add to that..overeating. even believer's make excuse for this one..(I'm talking about myself!)

          1 Corinthians 10:31-"Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God."

          I am a believer and I believe that gluttony or even eating things above and beyond what my body "needs" may just qualify as sin? I'm not saying that we don't have the liberty to eat and enjoy...but at what point is it sin?
          .................The message of the cross divides the human race." ~MW~

          ........ ... " LORD, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant..."
          .................................................. .................................................. ...Nehemiah 1:11a



          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by VerticalReality View Post
            I could kind of see this before I could see the "state of sin" opinion. I mean, I'm not going to sit down and willfully watch porn because I know it is sexual immorality and the Lord hates it. However, what about the things that sneak up on you before you know it like anger and so on?
            That's why there are two kinds of sin--mortal and venial. 1 John 5:17 "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly." Mortal sin involves willfully doing something wrong. Venial sins are those things that are wrong, but that do sneak up on us, that we don't do willfully.
            Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Luke 1:38

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi VR,

              I'm going to post the KJV of that passage:
              4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

              5And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
              6Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.
              7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.
              8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
              Sin is transgression of the Law/Torah. Look at verse 9 where it says "his seed remaineth in him"... in Mat. 13:23 Messiah says, "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty"... the key here for the believer is, in order to remain in Him, to continually be in/heareth His Word and obey it. This helps to keep us from sin. Look at verse 7 where he says, "he that doeth righteousness is righteous"... doeth is an action(ie:hearing and obeying). Many Christians fall into the trap of thinking that they will be fine with simply just believing in Him and don't feel like they need to really rely(hear and obey) on His word and that's where they can start to get in trouble... they lack roots.

              Look at the next two verses:
              10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
              11For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
              The message we heard from the beginning is the Torah/Law/Instruction which many think was nailed to the cross(which it wasn't).
              Thus says YHWH, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.
              -Jeremiah 6:16

              Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. - Matthew 11:29

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by VerticalReality View Post
                I hear this all the time and logically it makes sense. However, I'm still trying to grasp this concept in light of what John has to say about sin and the born-again believer.

                These seem like pretty strong words from John in regards to the issue of sin in Christians. Many people want to say that this is talking about a state of sin as opposed to a single sinful act, but I'm having a difficult time accepting that opinion in light of the text above. He simply says that he who is born of God does not sin. He doesn't say that he who is born of God does not live in sin. He makes it sound as if someone who is truly born of God doesn't sin period.

                Any thoughts on these Scriptures?
                There are two natures at war. The flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh. As your inner man (Spirit) grows daily, your outer man (flesh) decays and sin happens less, as it is the sin living in that outer man that is the source of sin of anyone born from above. The Spirit doesn't sin. As you become a slave to righteousness and no longer to lawlessness this is the process of sanctification.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Souled Out View Post
                  There are two natures at war. The flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh. As your inner man (Spirit) grows daily, your outer man (flesh) decays and sin happens less, as it is the sin living in that outer man that is the source of sin of anyone born from above. The Spirit doesn't sin. As you become a slave to righteousness and no longer to lawlessness this is the process of sanctification.
                  So are you saying that this is talking about our spirit that doesn't sin?

                  I've heard this before as well, but I don't believe that to be the case as the passage is talking about us "abiding in Him". We must abide in Him so that we do not sin. Our spirit is never not abiding in Him is it? Isn't our spirit seated in the heavenlies already with Him? So it would seem to me that it is our soul that we must make sure "abides" in Him so that it is not corrupted further by the flesh. We must crucify our flesh so that our soul can be sanctified. It is impossible for our spirit to sin . . . that is true. However, I don't believe this passage is talking about our spirit because our spirit, if we are born-again, is automatically abiding in Him.
                  "What you do does not define who you are; it's who you are that defines what you do."

                  -- Dr. Neil T. Anderson

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by VerticalReality View Post
                    So are you saying that this is talking about our spirit that doesn't sin?

                    I've heard this before as well, but I don't believe that to be the case as the passage is talking about us "abiding in Him". We must abide in Him so that we do not sin. Our spirit is never not abiding in Him is it? Isn't our spirit seated in the heavenlies already with Him? So it would seem to me that it is our soul that we must make sure "abides" in Him so that it is not corrupted further by the flesh. We must crucify our flesh so that our soul can be sanctified. It is impossible for our spirit to sin . . . that is true. However, I don't believe this passage is talking about our spirit because our spirit, if we are born-again, is automatically abiding in Him.
                    The problem is we do not always abide in Christ while being in Christ. Abiding in Him (John 15:4 & 6, 1 John 2:28), abiding in His love (John 15:10), and abiding in the word (John 15:7) is a choice. When we abide in those things, it is Christ doing those things through us. That’s why Scripture admonishes us to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh because when we do, it is impossible to sin. But when we do sin, something (or someone) else it at work:

                    Romans 7:14-16, 20 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

                    Paul is saying that he has sin living within him, yet when he sins it is not he who sins but the sin that lives within him.


                    “Abiding in” is not about salvation (unless we’re talking about one abiding in sin), but rather sanctification. This war is going on in the believer while he is “in Christ.” IOW it doesn’t change your position within Christ it just changes you. The Spirit is seated in heavenly places, yes, but the flesh is sitting anywhere but. Whichever you choose to follow determines to whom you are a slave – sin or righteousness.


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by VerticalReality View Post
                      I hear this all the time and logically it makes sense. However, I'm still trying to grasp this concept in light of what John has to say about sin and the born-again believer.



                      These seem like pretty strong words from John in regards to the issue of sin in Christians. Many people want to say that this is talking about a state of sin as opposed to a single sinful act, but I'm having a difficult time accepting that opinion in light of the text above. He simply says that he who is born of God does not sin. He doesn't say that he who is born of God does not live in sin. He makes it sound as if someone who is truly born of God doesn't sin period.

                      Any thoughts on these Scriptures?
                      NASB 1 John 3:4-10
                      Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

                      John starts out by defining what he means by sinning in verse 4 and that is the "practice" or habit or a lifestyle characterised by sin. Then he compares that to the true Christian who "practices righteousness" or one who lives a consistent Godly life. Unbelievers are children of the devil and therefore their lives will reflect that of their father (see John 8:41-44) whereas the lives of true believers should reflect that of their Father in heaven. This is one of the assurances that our salvation is genuine. If we profess to be a Christian and yet live like the devil, John (and the NT in general) provides no assurance for such people. John also uses this same word to describe the lifestyle (walk) of unbelievers in 1 John 1:6:

                      If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.


                      Paul also uses a similar combination in Gal 5:16-21:

                      I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

                      There could also be the thought of moral perfection in regard to the "seed" or "divine nature" God has placed in every born again believer. When Paul spoke of his own propensity to sin he laid the blame at his flesh or physical body that was still racked by the sin nature:

                      Rom 7:17-20 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

                      Paul's solution to this problem is found in Chapter 8 where he says "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

                      Cheers
                      Leigh

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TEITZY View Post
                        NASB 1 John 3:4-10
                        Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

                        John starts out by defining what he means by sinning in verse 4 and that is the "practice" or habit or a lifestyle characterised by sin. Then he compares that to the true Christian who "practices righteousness" or one who lives a consistent Godly life. Unbelievers are children of the devil and therefore their lives will reflect that of their father (see John 8:41-44) whereas the lives of true believers should reflect that of their Father in heaven. This is one of the assurances that our salvation is genuine. If we profess to be a Christian and yet live like the devil, John (and the NT in general) provides no assurance for such people. John also uses this same word to describe the lifestyle (walk) of unbelievers in 1 John 1:6:

                        If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.


                        Paul also uses a similar combination in Gal 5:16-21:

                        I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

                        There could also be the thought of moral perfection in regard to the "seed" or "divine nature" God has placed in every born again believer. When Paul spoke of his own propensity to sin he laid the blame at his flesh or physical body that was still racked by the sin nature:

                        Rom 7:17-20 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

                        Paul's solution to this problem is found in Chapter 8 where he says "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

                        Cheers
                        Leigh
                        Excellent post Teitzy. When we walk after the flesh we are no longer abiding in Christ, Paul said that everyone that is led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. HolySpirit does not lead anyone to sin nor does He tempt anyone to sin.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Leigh's (Teitzy's) post is very helpful: let me just elaborate on those themes.

                          Christians struggle with sin. We know, from Paul's discussion in Romans 7, that Christians do continue to struggle with sin. "The good that I will to do, I fail to do; but the evil that I hate, that is what I do!" (7:19) "I delight in the law of God after the inner man, but I see another law in my members, warring against my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death!" (7:22-24) Elsewhere Paul speaks of correcting brothers who have fallen into serious sins (I Cor. 5, e.g.) and rebukes lesser sins in many passages. He teaches (Gal. 6:1 ff.) about how to correct those who have fallen, gently and circumspectly. James (5:19-20) makes a similar point "If any among you err ... he who turns the sinner from his ways keeps his soul from death and covers a multitude of sins." Peter (I Pet. 4:8) -- again speaking about life among Christians -- speaks of "love covering a multitude of sins."

                          I John emphasizes contrasts in the Christian life. The opening difficulty that VR started us with came from I John (3:4-9, and 5:18) however. Here it may be helpful to note John's style, which tends to be very categorical. "I do not write you a new commandment" he says (2:7) but then at once (2:8) says -- "yet I do write you a new commandment." In understanding the message of I John, we must understand that John uses this kind of style, with strong, as it were absolute, pronouncements which (on the verbal surface) contradict one another (cf. Prov. 26:4-5)

                          John notes that we sin, as well as that we must live free from sin. While John says at 3:4-9 "whoever abides in him does not sin" and so on, John also says (three times in a row, some would argue!) at 1:5-2:2 that "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1:8), and he tells us that "the blood of Jesus ... washes away our sin" (1:7) and that "if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us" (1:9) and so on.

                          Our sinfulness and God's purifying love are important, interrelated doctrines. The truth of God purifying us, as we come to dwell more and more with Him, and know and see him (I John 3:2-3) coexists, now in this mortal life, with the truth that we are sinful people. Indeed, these conjoint truths are central to the whole framework of scripture. "Good and upright is the Lord, and therefore He leads sinners in the way" (Ps. 25:8). Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, saying "you are clean -- but not altogether clean" (John 13:10). Paul emphasizes this very duality in Romans 7 & 8. So too John, in this letter, IMO, emphasizes both the ongoing work of Christ in our lives and the present liberation of our lives from sin, and also our sinfulness, and need to continually come back to God for healing, pardon, strength, renewal.

                          Understanding this is crucial to fellowship with God and one another. Practically speaking, this antinomy (dual-truth) is very important in our Christian walk and fellowship. God does not call us to be lone-ranger Christians, but part of Christ's body. "That which we have seen and heard we declare to you that you may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (I John 1:3). And thus the primary effects of Christ's blood washing over us and through us, of walking in the light of Christ's death and resurrection (1:7), is not only that we are washed from our sins, but also that "we have fellowship with one another." This fellowship is crucial, for "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him" (4:16) and "he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen!" (4:20)

                          We must strive to be pure, yet be aware of our faults, and kind to others who fall. For crucially, as we Christians strive (and rightly so) to walk free from sin we may start to fall into self-righteousness! By fully understanding that we remain selfish, sinners, yet redeemed, and ones in whom God is at work through Christ, we can be strengthened both to receive God's help in walking in righteousness and to retain a lively sense that we are sinners saved by grace, and thus to be gentle and supportive to others who slip up!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by VerticalReality View Post
                            He doesn't say that he who is born of God does not live in sin. He makes it sound as if someone who is truly born of God doesn't sin period.

                            1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

                            I think what he is saying is that a person born of God is not a slave to sin. That the power to defeat sin comes from God and because of God they are free from sin.

                            -Steven
                            1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scruffy Kid
                              John notes that we sin, as well as that we must live free from sin. While John says at 3:4-9 "whoever abides in him does not sin" and so on, John also says (three times in a row, some would argue!) at 1:5-2:2 that "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1:8), and he tells us that "the blood of Jesus ... washes away our sin" (1:7) and that "if we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us" (1:9) and so on.
                              Thanks, SK! I was about to go drag out my Bible and post all those verses.

                              I really don't think John forgot he said that by the time he got to chapter 3. Instead I think we need to read the book as a whole, starting with John's verses that say Christians still sin, and reading through to where he says to walk with God requires righteousness.

                              And pick up a few of the verses inbetween, because they sure influence the whole.

                              1Jo 2:7 - Show Context
                              Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.

                              1Jo 2:8 - Show Context
                              Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

                              Is there a contradiction in what John says there about the new command? One minute he says I'm NOT writing you a new command... but, wait, he is!

                              Plus, finally, my favorite.

                              1Jo 2:28
                              And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

                              There's an overall theme to John's work, and just jumping in at the end does give you the impression he is saying, be sinless! I know you can! And the whole book is an excellent instruction manual on how to resist sin, and press on, and continue with God.

                              1Jo 3:16 - Show Context
                              This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

                              1Jo 3:18 - Show Context
                              Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

                              In a way, the very fact that John felt the need to tell us to love one another with actions and truth means that stopping sin in our lives is NOT automatic. It requires an effort on our part!

                              Anyway, just some quick thought...
                              One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father over us all.

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