Tuesday, December 19, 2006

1 John 3:9 9 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.

John says here in his epistle to the church in Ephesus that no one who has genuinely been born of (Lit. "out from"; Gk. ek) God does not practice (literally "do") sin. In other words, the Apostle John wants to make absolutely certain that his congregation understands that a regenerate believer will not have a consistent pattern and lifestyle of sin. For a true believer, who has radically been changed and renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit will repent from sin and turn from it to righteousness and holiness.

John continues by giving the reason as to why believers (those who have been "born of God") cannot sin. Because His seed (Gk. sperma) abides in him (namely, the believer who is born of God). John goes even one step further by saying that this believer (who is born of God) is not even able to sin (Gk. kai ou dunatai hamartein). Once again, John says that it is impossible for a believer to live a lifestyle of sin because (literally) "out of God he has been born."

An unrepentant sinning person who claims to be a believer is an oxymoron in John's terminology. It cannot happen. A true believer will repent. A regenerate person will turn from sin. A soul that has tasted of the kindness and goodness of our great God and Savior will want to PLEASE that God and Savior and thus not sin.

It must be noted that this in no way could be used to argue that there will be those who NEVER sin. That is, those who have attained a state of sinless perfection. This would go against all of John's teaching. For he says earlier in the epistle:

1 John 1:7 - 10 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

This is clear, you see, that the believer will always have this struggle with the human, sinful, fleshly nature while in this body longing for the mortal to be clothed with immortality someday when it is possible to see the Savior face to face (1 John 3:1-3).

This is black and white. It is cut and dry. There is no gray area. Either one is in Christ, or he is out of Christ. Either he is born "of" God or he is "of" the evil one. For John, the believer is one who is characterized by a consistent pattern of holiness and godliness in this present life (while still struggling with our sinful nature). When a believer sins, it is the responsibility and duty of the believer to repent, turn and pursue Christlikeness again.

May God give us grace to repent and live lives that are consistent with the calling to which we've been called (Eph 4:1).

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