WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD
DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN
By John C. Carpenter
 
The apostle John wrote, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He 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. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In 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. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another (1 John 3:1-11). Yet, interestingly, John, wrote earlier in the same letter, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8) as well as if any man [believer] sin, we [believers] have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). These verses appear to conflict with each other. So, how can we reconcile this issue? Does the believer in Christ sin, or not? The apostle John wanted to make three points to his fellow believers and recipients of his letter: (1) God is light (revelation and understanding leading to truth), (2) the truth is that the subjects of his letter were sinning, and (3) they should not be sinning.
 
GOD IS LIGHT
 
John made his first point regarding light. John wrote in our subject letter, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:1-5). When John says that God is “light,” what does he mean? Earlier in this same letter, John defined light for us when he wrote, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not [walk in] the truth: But if we walk in the light [truth], as he is in the light [truth], we have fellowship one [God] with another [mankind], and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us [those who walk in the truth; i.e., believers] from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:1-10). John clearly explains that to walk in darkness is to walk in a lie, and to say that we have no sin is a lie. Therefore, those who say they have no sin are walking in darkness. In the context of John’s letter, “light,” or to “walk in the light,” is to walk [live] without deception, to walk in the truth. To walk in the truth is to confess that we are sinners.
 
Some interpret “light” to be purity and “darkness” to be sin. John clearly wrote, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one [mankind] with another [God the Father through Christ], and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us [believers] from all sin. This verse makes it clear that walking in the light results in fellowship with God, and fellowship with God results in the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing believers from all sin. If walking in the “light” means walking in “purity,” then walking in complete purity, cleanliness, and holiness is what is required to have our sins forgiven and cleansed. This is not only not biblical, but not realistic, as well. John adds that if we confess our sins [confess the truth that we are sinners], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We walk in the light when we confess the truth that we have sinned, and that confession of sin moves our faithful, just, and forgiving God to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 
To walk in the “light” is to walk in the “truth.“ The subjects of John’s letter, as well as modern day Christians, must walk in the light, or truth, of the fact that we are all sinners. John even goes so far at to say that if we say that we have not sinned, we are not only liars and therefore walking in darkness, but we make God a liar, and therefore His gospel word is not in us.
 
IF WE SAY THAT WE HAVE NOT SINNED
 
The apostle John clearly wanted his fellow believers to walk in the truth of confessing that they had committed sin. John not only pleaded with his fellow believers, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8) as well as If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:10), but the apostle went a step further. To make sure the subjects of his letter could not escape confessing the truth that they had sinned, John specifically listed the sins he knew they had committed. One of their specific sins was hatred of fellow believers in Christ. John explained, He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother [in Christ], is in darkness [untruth, deceit] even until now (1 John 2:9). John then wrote about another sin that had taken place in the Christian church. He explained that there were believers who, although they had once believed and been a part of the Christian congregation, had, due to their love of the world, departed from their fellow believers and their Christian faith. The apostle emphasized, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us (1 John 2:15-19). John again clearly accused his fellow believers of sin when he wrote, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous (1 John 3:2-7). John then explained another serious sin that some in the church had committed. There were some so-called prophets in the church who had even refused to even admit that Christ had already come to earth in the flesh, and thereby John described them as worldly false prophets who had the spirit of antichrist. John explained, Beloved, believe not every spirit [minister, servant], but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1 John 4:1-6). John then detailed the sin of hatred that the subjects of his letter were guilty of. He wrote, again, If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also (1 John 4:20-21). The apostle John left no doubt that the subjects of his letter had sinned, and he was confronting them about this fact. He not only wanted them to confess their sin, and therefore walk in the light of the truth, but to stop sinning.
 
WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN
 
John’s third point was that his fellow believers should not be sinning. John began by writing, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And [but] if any man [believer]sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments [to not sin]. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him (1 John 2:1-5). John then suggested that these believers should abide in him [and therefore not sin]; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed [of our sin] before him at his coming (1 John 2:28), because If ye know that he is righteous [without sin], ye know that every one that doeth righteousness[values and pursues a life without sin] is born of him [and abides in Him] (1 John 2:29). John added, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be [like in eternity]: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him[pure, without sin]; for we shall see him as he is [sinless]. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth [makes clean, sanctifies] himself, even as he [Christ] is pure (1 John 3:2-3). Then, in an seemingly firm and blunt manner, John wrote, Little children, let no man deceive you [regarding sin]: he that doeth righteousness [behaves righteously and in a pleasing manner to God] is righteous, even as he [Christ] is righteous. He 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. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In 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 (1 John 3:7-10). John addressed their sin of hating their brothers in Christ by writing, We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:14-16). John explained that they should love, as well as lay down their lives, for their brothers in Christ, and that those who continued to hate their brothers in Christ were murderers who would not inherit eternal life. John added that their actions must be consistent with their words by writing, My little children, let us not love in word [what we say], neither in tongue [deceptive speech and behavior; i.e., saying we love others when we really do not]; but in deed [actions] and in truth [honesty and clarity] (1 John 3:18). John further instructed these believers to keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his [God’s] sight (1 John 3:22). The apostle again emphasized the importance of love when he wrote, And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also (1 John 4:21). John further added the importance of believers keeping themselves sanctified and holy: We know thatwhosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth [guards, protects] himself [from sin], and that wicked one toucheth [influences] him not (1 John 5:18). The apostle John summarized all of his points about sin when he wrote, Little children, keep yourselves from idols [worship of any heathen god; i.e., sin] (1 John 5:21).
 
When John wrote Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him (1 John 3:6), John simply meant that believers in Christ who completely and consistently abide in Christ should not sin. When John also wrote, Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God (1 John 3:9), again, John simply meant that believers should not be committing sin, because they are born of god and have the seed of Christ in their hearts. John was trying to make the same point to the recipients of his letter that parents are making when they say to their children, “good boys and girls do not do bad things.” Just as parents know that all children, including their own, eventually do bad things, parents make such a statement to their children in an effort to encourage them to set a high behavioral standard, just as the apostle John made such a statement in his letter, knowing the subjects of his letter should not be sinning, but also knowing that they eventually would. Echoing John’s point, the apostle Paul wrote Roman believers, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (Rom 6:1-6).
 
All believers in Christ will eventually sin. Praise God, though, as the apostle John pointed out, when believers in Christ sin, we are instructed that If we confess our sins [walk in the light, or truth that we are sinners], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), Christ…is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). Jesus Christ is the believers’ atoning advocate who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  AMEN.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"And whosoever
shall offend
one of these little ones that believe
in me, it is
better for him
that a millstone
were hanged about his neck, and
he were cast
into the sea"
(Mark 9:42)



 
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