I have had several people tell me over the years that they are sinless and sin no more. Their argument is that born again believers are a new creation and thus they cannot sin and they have overcome sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. They quote 1 John 3 which says that a believer can no longer sin.
“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.” 1John 3:9.
Sounds pretty convincing and convicting doesn’t it? Is John saying that a believer cannot sin and if he or she does they are of the Devil?
Let’s go back a few verses: “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.” 1John 3:3-6.
They following contains a few exerts from commentary by John Stott and David Guzik. I ‘m gonna put some closing thoughts at the end.
Sin is lawlessness: John defines sin at its most basic root. It is a disregard for the law of God, which is inherently a disregard for God Himself.
We often fail in the battle against sin because we won’t call it for what it is: lawlessness, an offense against the Great Law Maker, God. Instead, we say things like “If I’ve done anything wrong . . .” or “Mistakes were made . . .” and so forth. Call it for what it is: sin and lawlessness. “The first step towards holy living is to recognize the true nature and wickedness of sin.” (Stott)
You know that He was manifested to take away our sins: John here defined the mission of Jesus Christ at its most basic root – to take away our sins. The angel Gabriel promised Joseph regarding the ministry of Jesus: “you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin.” Luke 1:21
Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the penalty of our sin. This is immediately accomplished when one comes by faith to Jesus.
Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the power of sin away. This is an ongoing work in the lives of those who walk after Jesus.
Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the presence of sin away. This is a work that will be completed when we pass into eternity and are glorified with Jesus.
He was manifested to take away our sins: This is the work of Jesus in our life. It is a work we must respond to, but it is His work in us.
We cannot take away the penalty of our own sin. It is impossible to cleanse ourselves in this way. We must instead receive the work of Jesus in taking away our sin.
We cannot take away the power of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, and we respond to that work. Someone who comes to Jesus does not have to clean themselves up first, but they must be willing to have Him take away their sin.
We cannot take away the presence of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, ultimately accomplished when we will be glorified with Him.
In Him there is no sin: Jesus had no sin to take away; therefore He could take away our sin, taking it upon Himself.
Abiding in sin or abiding in God.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin: Since sin is lawlessness, a disregard for God ( 1 John 3:4) and since Jesus came to take away our sins (1 John 3:5), and since in Jesus there is no sin, then to abide in Him means to not sin.
It is very important to understand what the Bible means – and when it does not mean – when it says does not sin. According to the verb tense John uses, does not sin means does not live a life style of habitual sin. John has already told us in 1 John 1:8. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. In 1 John 1:8, the grammar indicates John is speaking about occasional acts of sin. The grammar of 1 John 1:6 indicates that John is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. John is not teaching here the possibility of sinless perfection.
“The present tense in the Greek verb implied habit, continuity, unbroken sequence” (Stott); the NIV has the right idea when it translates these verbs with phrases such as keeps on sinning, continues to sin, and he cannot go on sinning.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin: John’s message is plain and consistent with the rest of the Scriptures. It tells us that a life style of habitual sin is inconsistent with a life of abiding in Jesus Christ. A true Christian can only be temporarily in a life style of sin.
Paul’s teaching in Romans 6 is a great example of this principle. He shows us that when a person comes to Jesus, when their sins are forgiven and God’s grace is extended to them, they are radically changed – the old man is dead, and the new man lives. So it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Christ to be comfortable in habitual sin; such a place can only be temporary for the Christian.
In some ways, the question is not “do you sin or not?” We all sin. The question is, “How do you react when you sin? Do you give into the pattern of sin, and let it dominate your lifestyle? Or do you humbly confess your sin, and do battle against it with the power Jesus can give?”
This is why it is so grieving to see Christians make excuses for their sin, and not humbly confess them. Unless the sin is dealt with squarely, it will contribute to a pattern of sin that may soon become their lifestyle – perhaps a secret lifestyle, but a lifestyle nonetheless.
What is important is that we never sign a “peace treaty” with sin. We never wink at its presence or excuse it by saying, “Everybody has their own sinful areas, and this is mine. Jesus understands.” This completely goes against everything we are in Jesus, and the work He has done in our life.
Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him: To live a lifestyle of habitual sin is to demonstrate that you have not seen Him (in a present sense of the ultimate “seeing Him mentioned in 1 John 3:2), and that you have not known Him. There are some people so great and so wonderful that seeing them or knowing them will change your life forever. Jesus is that kind of person. (David Guzik)
So, if some claim that they are sinless, are they deceiving themselves? I strongly believe so. As long as we live on this earth in our earthly bodies we cannot and will not be perfect. They only sinless and perfect One is our Lord Jesus Christ. If people could be perfect and sinless on their own, than Christ did in vain. Why do we pray the Lord’s prayer where it says “forgive us our trespasses?” Why did Jesus in His letters to the seven churches ask them to repent? What about the passage in Revelation?
“Then “I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” Rev 12:10.
“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 1:8-10.
11 thoughts on “Sinless Christians?”
I for one choose to honor the Lord with all of my mind, heart, and strength. He sent his only son to die for sickness, and sin, to become the new Adam (where in the garden prior to the fall was no sin). To believe that you no longer sin is probably one of the best ways to honor the Lord with your mind. Thank him every day that Jesus took it all, and finished all! Then the only command that Christ gave was this; A new command I give you, LOVE one another as I have loved you. Well, I guess that takes away your license to sin, Also this is the best way to honor the Lord with all your heart! The lawlessness that you were previously quoting, that leads to sin is the lack of following the law of Love. Love is my only LAW! Here is the truth it can be found in Hebrews chapter 8, This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” ( Hebrews 8:10-12 ) ; In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Romans 13:8-10New International Version (NIV)
Love Fulfills the Law
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Also you have got to be seriously diluted if you even think that your good deeds, or actions could win your eternal salvation, if this was the case, then Christ died in vain. If we could ever merit Gods graces through good actions, then it would have been unnecessary for Calvary to take place! If its is true where the bible says as a man thinks in his heart so is he, then what manner of thought should a believer entertain? Well to rightly divide the word of truth perhaps we should view God in an absolute way. Like use Grace, and love to guide your bible studies, remembering that all of us are his good ideas, and our very existence is due to the fact that he felt his creation needed each and every one of us. So love each other as Christ loved us. Remember that it is always the little Levin that spoils the whole lump. Mixing the old, and new Covenants, or adding the Laws of Mosses to Grace, is wrong in every possible way. The Gospel simply means good news, that is what we are all supposed to be talking about!
21″No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 22″No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.” Mark 2;21-22
At some point we as believers have got to stop being a bunch of know it all’s, it causes so much division. If we are to be the perfect bride without spot wrinkle or blemish, then we should believe that we are sinless, because sin would cause spots, wrinkles, and blemishes!
I didn’t say that man is free to continue to sin,; you did, Freedom. I believe that we are on a spiritual JOURNEY and that we will achieve this perfection in Christ Jesus in His time, not ours. In the interim, along this journey, many Christians sin and err, despite themselves. This does not mean that they do not know God or do not have the salvation of Jesus Christ.
We do disagree quite sincerely, Freedom, but you are certainly entitled to your biblical interpretation of the passages you site, as I am to mine. This area is rife with controversy and discord so I will not add to it on Freddy’s blog. If what you believe works for you and you feel you have achieved perfection over sin, here here, sister!
When we are in Christ Jesus warrioress we have the mind of Christ what does this mean ? if you don’t understand the things of God you do not have the Spirit of God when you say that man is free to continue to sin you are calling God a Liar .
1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that Love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with Spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned. But he that is Spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the Mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? but we have the Mind of Christ.
John 15:14-15 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.(KJV)
Matthew 10:26-28 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops (KJV)
Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Christian Love Anne.
Mans fleshy understanding might sound good Freddy and accepted by many itching ears but it is not Truth as the Scriptures clearly show the word Not in Greek means absolutely never .
Many Christians continue to sin and yet claim they are Born again 1 John 3 is only one of many Scriptures that tell us this is a lie when we wear Christ’s Robe of Righteousness it means we are no longer clothed in our evil flesh Nature but have His Godly Nature or seed and we have His mind so do not choose to sin and our words and actions will show we are Righteousness as He is Righteous, when people understand and accept this Truth they will be set free.
1 John3: 1-11 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is Righteous, just as He is Righteous.
Colossians 3:1-17 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Christian Love Anne
Thank you Adrienne, totally agree. Thanks for your encouragement. Some people get offended when I write something critical about our faith. Unfortunately there are too many self-righteous people out there. I’m just a guy who tell it how I see it. I may not always be right, nevertheless I can’t stand legalistic people who have an attitude and think that they have a “higher spiritual” knowledge. A red flag goes off when someone says they are sinless. Impossible. We want to be more like Jesus everyday, but we are by no means Jesus. Blessings, Freddy.
So glad to see that we’re on the same page on this topic, Freddy. I had a visitor to my blog sometime ago when I was talking about this who insisted that real Christians no longer sin. I had to argue with her in regard to that as I disagreed very strongly and felt it was a misleading opinion she was presenting. I don’t believe for a moment there are Christians who never ever sin, who will never sin again. It’s a nice dream they’re having but I seriously doubt their interpretation of what sin is if they actually believe this.
There is another problem with this proposal of being perfect and sinless. Who decides what sin actually is? All we have to go on is what the bible tells us. The bible doesn’t call everything sin. What is sin for one may not be sin for another either.. (Romans chapter 14).
Christians need to strive for greater humility, imo. We really do not know it all. 😉