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“Do Christians Sin?” by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II

Author admin, Written May 5, 2017

Do Christians Sin? by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II

1 John 3:9 (KJV) “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.” 

What does this Scripture mean?

One of the main “Rules for Reading” and studying Scripture is – Keep every verse in its context.  John is addressing division in the church relative to the concept of sin.

One faction believed that Jesus was not the Incarnate Son of God.  This means they believed that Jesus was NOT “God in the Flesh;” but, rather He was solely a Spiritual Being.


“Another faction adopted beliefs that produced what became known as Gnosticism – a system of belief in which salvation is based in knowledge or enlightenment and in which the physical world is depreciated, while the spiritual world is held in honor.

With respect to sin, there are two directions that Gnosticism took. One direction was to deny sin. On the basis of ascetic practices and inner enlightenment the Gnostics believed that they were beyond sin. Naturally such beliefs were underpinned by a good dose of denial. John addresses such people in 1 John 1:7-9. Rather than think that we are beyond sin and deny that what we do is sinful, Christians should confess their sin and get it removed.

Another direction that Gnosticism took with respect to sin was to claim that sin was irrelevant. They believed that sin was something done in the body, and the body, in their view, was simply the outside shell of a person. The real person was the spiritual being who, through enlightenment, was living in communion with God. So, a person’s body might be sleeping with a prostitute, but a person’s spirit was not involved in the act. In this passage, John is addressing such people in no uncertain terms.” –Hard Sayings of the Bible, p. 737.


So, what is John saying?  He is saying…

  1. 1 John 3:6 (KJV) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” (Emphasis Mine)

If believers remain intimately connected to Christ, they will not sin. Christ is not the One producing the carelessness about sin they are evidencing.  Quite the contrary, the one who sins is showing that their level of obedience is in direct relation to the extent he or she knows Christ.

So, what is John saying?  He is saying…

  1. 1 John 3:7-8 (KJV) “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (Emphasis Mine).

It is the one who does right who is righteous, for that is what Christ is – The Righteousness of God. If a person really knows Christ, he will live like him. On the other hand, sin shows a person’s inheritance in the devil, so acceptance of sinful living shows where such people are from. Christ came to destroy these works of the devil.

So, what is John saying?  He is saying…

  1. 1 John 3:9 (KJV) “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” (Emphasis Mine).

Being born of God puts a new nature in a person, and that new nature will not sin.  John made it clear that Christians do sin: 1 John 1:7-9 (KJV)“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 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,” (Emphasis Mine).

But he also made it clear that a Christian’s sin in NOT due to the new nature!  When John said, “for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God,” he was saying just as assuredly that the sperm of the earthly father determines what his children will be like, the seed (spiritual sperm) of God will determine what His children will be like.  God’s children have a “non-sinning” nature.

This is very different from the teaching of indifference to sin that was taking place in John’s day.  And, it is different than the tendency of indifference to sin that is becoming prevalent in our day as well!

So, what is John saying?  He is saying…

  1. There is hope!

 Is John teaching that a true Christian will never sin? No, for he has already admitted that true Christians do sin and will be liars if they deny this truth (1 John 1:7-9). What he is saying is that a true Christian has within himself, or herself, in their new birth, a power not to sin.

God within them is causing righteous living. He is not causing sin. In fact, the secret to not sinning is intimate fellowship with Christ, or “abideth in him,” as John states. If a person does not experience this new life, if they can be indifferent to sin, then they are likely not born of God. Paul also teaches this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21.

If a person is struggling with temptation, and at times falls prey to it, he can still have the assurance that he is in fact one of God’s children, and God’s new life in him will win out in the end. This is because he knows that the power of God within himself is urging him away from sin and toward the love for God and the love of God’s family. The real proof is because he is struggling and cannot be content with simply sinning.