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Those who say that it is not necessary to cease from sin in order to inherit eternal life often quote the following verse:

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

By quoting that verse they attempt to prove that it is impossible to cease from sin.

In response, I would point out that any attempt to make that verse prove that Christians are unable to cease from sin is to contradict the design of the Epistle - "...that ye sin NOT". It would also contradict John's many decisive statements to the effect that a Christian who is truly born of God does not commit sin.  In fact, John said:  He that committeth sin is of the devil;"  (1 John 3:8)

Please compare the following statements made by John in the very
same Epistle:
COMPARE Group A:  " If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."   1  John 1:8
WITH Group B: "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
COMPARE Group A: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:10
WITH: "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."  1 John 5:18
Do you think the verses in both groups refer to someone who is born of God?  If so, then John is hopelessly contradicting himself. Of course, that cannot be.  Therefore, we may be certain that each group of verses has reference to a different subject.
*  The verses in Group B refer to those who are born of God. They do NOT commit sin.

*  The verses in Group A have to do with exposing false teachers who were teaching Gnostic concepts about the nature of sin.

When John said:  "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." he was pointing out the error of Gnosticism which said that those who committed sin were held to be not guilty in the eyes of God.

"Gnostics alleged that by reason of the spiritual seed in them, and of their superior spiritual knowledge and communion with the light they  were free to act as they chose and were not polluted thereby." (Lange Commentary)

Daniel Steele said this about Gnosticism:
"The moral effects of this doctrine were indeed deplorable.  Sin existed only in the body while the soul was perfectly HOLY, hence all kinds of sin could be committed with impunity. The golden jewel in the dunghill was not defiled.  Thus was it with the soul of the glutton, the drunkard, and the adulterer.  None of these needed cleansing, for the spirit,  the real personality was SINLESS." (Half hours with John's Epistles 1901)

In the first chapter of John's Epistle, he was comparing what he and the apostles taught with the doctrines of false teachers.  For example, John exposes a different lie in each of the following verses that begin with the phrase "If we say.."

(1:6)  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie, and DO NOT THE TRUTH. (Thy law is the truth.  Psalms 119:142)

*  The false teachers say that wilful sin does not break fellowship with God.

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

* The false teachers say that we have no sin charged to our spirit;  the body is guilty, but the soul is under the blood of Jesus and therefore has no guilt.

(1:10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

* The false teachers say that we have not sinned in our spirit, it remains sinless no matter how many times the body sins.

Look closely, the above verse does not refer to those who say "I do
not commit sin", it refers to those who say:  I have NOT sinned.

All men have sinned, but those who are born of God stop committing sin.  The false teaching of modern Christianity is that we have dual natures (one sinful and the other sinless) They say something like this:

"The Old nature is born of fallen man, and is evil.
"The New nature is born of God and is Holy.

"The New nature does not commit sin, because it comes from God's seed."
"The Old nature does sin any time you agree to let it."

"Seed from God is incorruptible and produces in us an incorruptible nature.  Therefore, the NEW nature cannot be corrupted at any time or any way."

"Man is corruptible so man's nature is sinful."
"God is incorruptible, so the New nature is SINLESS."
Therefore, they say, "even if you are a 'defeated Christian' (a willful sinner) you will still be saved because of God's new nature which dwells in you."  "Praise God, in the NEW nature WE HAVE NO SIN."

After reading the explanations of Gnosticism, it is easy to see that modern Christianity has come up with a new form of Gnostic teaching which says that we have dual natures; one sinful, the other sin-free.  They say that because of the the blood of Jesus, even if we commit deliberate willful sin,  we are held to be not guilty in the eyes of God.

The truth is that Jesus makes His people free FROM sin, -  not free TO sin without fear of eternal destruction.

When we are born of God, we have committed to obey God and surrender ourselves completely to His will.  At that stage, we probably do not know much about sin or the sin nature buried deep within our souls.  We may do things that break God's law without
knowing it.  If the sin is done in ignorance then the atoning death of Jesus covers it.  But, once we recognize that what we are doing is sin, we must stop doing it - or be guilty of rebellion. If we continue to commit sin, we will eventually be lost because we are refusing to accept Jesus as our Lord. Think about it - if we do not obey Him, he is not our Lord.

John said:  Whosoever is born of God sinneth NOT.  As sin is revealed by the Holy Spirit those who are born of God do not continue doing it.  Eventually all sin is revealed and thus they quit doing all sin.  The Christian who continues to disobey even one of God's Ten Commandments will be lost.

Harold and Donna Kupp

Creation date: Apr 12, 2009 6:51am     Last modified date: Jul 22, 2017 1:59pm   Last visit date: Apr 19, 2024 12:26pm
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