John says anyone who has been born of God cannot sin. (I John 3) He even says, if you sin you’ve neither seen God nor know Him.
As one who is born again, born of God, I am confused because I sin. Just the other day I told a story that was half-truth, half-lie (I almost called it “creative license” but that wouldn’t be the truth)
Even Paul said he struggled with doing what he shouldn’t, and not doing what he knew he should. Jesus pointed out sin in his own disciples, even calling Peter Satan moments after telling Peter he would be the Rock.
I know some dear people who believe they lose their salvation every time they sin, because this verse says a Christian can’t sin. I’m not sure about that interpretation. But because this verse is in the Bible, it’s clear that God wants us to know His children can’t sin. So…?
If you read the whole section, and not just this one verse, it makes sense. There is an “if” there. IF we abide in Him, sin can’t exist in our lives because there is no sin in God. I believe that when we sin, it’s an indication that we have stepped away from Him. And all sin – even my embellished story – is of Satan.
If I abide in the Father by spending time with Him in His Word and prayer, if my walk with Him is intentional, if I pay attention to the warning signs He so lovingly puts in my way, and if I purposefully acknowledge His Presence with every breath I take – I cannot sin. Sin and God cannot exist together.
So this verse is true… and it’s a challenge. As I consider this portion of Scripture and the story I told the other day, I realize that during my telling God whispered in my ear, “you know that’s not what happened.” But I continued telling my tale. The thought again came to me… “why are you’re lying?” but that, too didn’t stop me. It was an entertaining story. I wanted to see how it ended.
As I look back on the decades since I accepted Jesus as my Savior and was born into God’s family, I see that there have been times when my walk with the Lord was my first priority. And I see that during those times, the temptation to sin was more easily ignored. I recognize that God was actively helping me to win the battle with my enemy, and we won time and time again.
But it was at those times that I held the Lord at arms length, those times when I didn’t want to turn my back on Him exactly, but I also didn’t want to include Him in every detail of my life, that I was weak to resist temptation. It was at those time I sinned, I rationalized my sin, and I ignored the One who loves me to death.
I am challenged today to abide in God. I want Him to be such a part of my life that sin has no control over me, that I am incapable of sinning because God and I exist together. The ability to live a sinless life is available.