Holiness of life or sanctification entails substantial growth in Christ-likeness, but never reaches the point of absolute sinless perfection in this life. In this regard, we should closely examine 1 John 3:6 and 9. Continue reading . . .
Holiness of life or sanctification entails substantial growth in Christ-likeness, but never reaches the point of absolute sinless perfection in this life. In this regard, we should closely examine 1 John 3:6 and 9. My own translation of both verses from the Greek text is as follows:
“No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him” (1 John 3:6).
“No one who has been born of God does sin, because his seed abides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9).
One thing the Apostle John emphasizes is the reality and gravity of sin. In 1 John 1:8 he forcefully labels those who say they have no sin as self-deceived and void of the truth. In 1:10 the claim not to have committed sin is tantamount to calling God a liar, and in 2:1 John clearly implies that Christians will sin (although he writes to help them avoid it). How then do we understand the statement in 1 John 3:9 that the one who is begotten of God “does not do sin” (lit.) and in fact “is not able to sin”? The ESV renders this: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”
Following are 10 major interpretative options (excluding the suggestion of some that John simply contradicts himself).
(1) To avoid the difficulty, some have narrowed the definition of “sin” to notorious crimes or offences against love (this was the view of both Augustine and