Sin, Righteousness, and the Believer, Pt. 1
1 John 3:4-10
November 17, 2013
I was in college the first time I remember reading 1 John seriously. I’m sure I read the book before my college years; but it was in my freshman year that I really began to grow in Christ in a significant way. I joyfully and excitedly read my Bible on my own. Between classes I would go to my car and listen to J. Vernon McGee and John MacArthur. I was excited about the Word of God.
And then somewhere in that year I read 1 John and I got to chapter three and I read the verses that are before us this morning:
- No one who abides in Him sins (v. 6)
- No one who sins has seen Him or knows Him (v. 6)
- The one who practices sin is of the devil (v. 8)
- No one who is born of God practices sin (v. 9)
- (The believer) cannot sin (v. 9)
In those days, I knew two things — I loved Jesus, but I also sinned. And for too-long a period of time, those two contradictory realities left me conflicted. If I sinned, what did that say about my spiritual condition? I wish I had known then what I know now, because the message of this passage may appear to be discouraging for the believer who is battling against the flesh and remaining sin. Yet in actuality there is great hope in these verses. My problem then was that I didn’t understand what John was saying about sin, and I didn’t understand what God had provided in my battle against sin.
So guiding this passage are two important realities that serve as the theme of these verses:
Sin and the believer are incongruous.
God has given everything we need not to sin.
And because sin and the believer are incongruous and because Christ has given us what we need not to sin, in these seven verses, John provides eight reasons why believers should not (and don’t have to) live in perpetual and habitual sin: