Part 1 of this 4 part series can be found here.
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“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And ye 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.” I John 3:4-6
But yet, I John 1:8-10 says “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.”
In Romans 6, Paul states that the person that has been born again has died to sin. The old man was crucified with Christ and is dead, no longer a slave to sin.
Do these contradict each other? I don’t think so.
My Nelson New King James Study Bible says that the sin in I John 3:4-6 is not occasional sin of weakness, but a habitual, consistent lifestyle of sin. Lawlessness does not refer to the absence of law but deliberate acts of rebellion against the law. It goes on to say that a lifestyle of habitual sin indicates an absence of fellowship with Christ.
Those that live a life of continual, willful sin, live in darkness and do not have fellowship with God.
The Nelson Study Bible explains I John 1:8-10 saying that some may admit to having a sin nature, but still deny that we have any personal sin that needs confessing.
“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.” Romans 6:4 [emphasis mine]
The Nelson Study Bible explains Romans 6 like this:
Believers have a new nature that is no longer slave to the old sinful nature, we are free to resist that sinful nature. Not only must we accept that we have died to sin, we must believe that we have died to sin. But it also states that even though believers in Christ have died to sin, sin will still be a problem because the sinful nature can still be expressed through the mortal body that is subject to death. It points out that the difference is that sin now has no right to reign in the believer. Paul admonishes the believer not to obey the old nature.
Halley’s Bible Handbook explains Christ’s forgiveness is for the purpose of making us hate our sins. This doesn’t mean that we can entirely overcome all of our sins, and place ourselves beyond the need of His mercy. But it does mean that there are two ways of life: the way of Christ and the way of sin. The heart has to belong to one or the other, but not both.
I John 2:1-3 “1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
My Study Bible explains that, according to Greek grammar, the “if” before “anyone sins” in 2:1 carries the added sense of “and it is assumed that we all do”.
If our ability to sin ceased when we accept Jesus as Savior, John would not have told us that we would have an advocate with the Father when we do sin. We would not need to be told that we are not supposed to sin when we are followers of Christ. Romans 6:4 would not tell us that we should walk in newness of life because we would be incapable of anything else.
Halley’s Bible Handbook says that it is not because or our sinlessness that we have companionship with God, but because of Christ’s Death for our sin. There is a difference between the occasional sins of weakness and willful, habitual sin. It is a matter of the inner nature. It uses the example that an eagle may dip it’s wings into the mud, but it would still be an eagle; then points out that a righteous man may have sins of weakness, and yet be a righteous man.
The believer should know that the moment we are conscious of any sinful act, we are to go to God in genuine repentance and humility and seek forgiveness.
Psalm 32:5, 38:18 and 51:3&4 all say that we are to acknowledge, confess and be sorry for the sins that we commit against God. Hebrews 12:1 says that we are to lay aside the sin which so easily besets us.
This is to be taken as a warning to all Christians to be on guard against sinful tendencies, not as encouragement to sin.
Next Wednesday’s post … part 3
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Part 3 can be found here.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012