Residing In Christ, We Cannot Go On Sinning

February 12, 2014

Friends,
1 John 3:5 tells us that in Christ there is no sin. It says, “And in Him is no sin.” Many people believe and teach that this refers to the fact that Jesus is sinless. Though sinlessness has always been true about Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21 // Heb. 4:15), the context of this verse, as well as the whole chapter (and book), show that John is referring to the situation of those who are residing “in Christ”. As the beginning of verse 5 says, “You know that He appeared to take away sins.” Verse 6 says, “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning”, while verse 9 tells us that those who are born of God cannot go on sinning. Therefore, when verse 5 says, “And in Him is no sin”, we are to understand this Truth: By being in Christ we do not sin.

The Good News –the True Gospel– informs us that Jesus was manifested on earth in order to take away the sins –and the sinful nature– of everyone who believes His Message. (Mt. 1:21 // John 1:29 // Heb. 9:26,28) The sinful nature is crucified and cut out of a person when that person, through “the obedience that comes through faith” (Rom. 1:5) becomes one with Christ. (Gal. 5:24 // Col. 2:11,12) By being born anew into a new creation, that old nature is gone (Rom. 6:6 // 2 Cor. 5:17) and God’s own divine nature fills the believing person. (Gal. 2:20 // 1 John 3:9) This is the Good News! For what good news it certainly is to be set free from the dominion of darkness (Col. 1:13), from the slavery of Sin (Rom. 6:18), and from the corruption of the world (2 Peter 1:4) so that we can possess God’s own divine power (v. 3) by which to participate in His own perfect nature! (v. 4 // Mt. 5:48) This is glorious news! No wonder God considers those who “reject His purpose for themselves” (see Luke 7:30) to be foolish, wicked rebels, worthy of the condemnation they cling to! (John 3:18-20 // Acts 13:46)

What is it that the sinful nature likes to do and therefore does? Sin! It likes to sin and it thus commits sin. Those who have not been baptized into Christ (born of the Spirit) remain in the sinful nature. They cannot do the good they wish they could do because they choose to remain slaves of Sin. (John 3:20 // Rom. 7:14,18 // Gal. 3:22) Yet Jesus came that we can be freed! (Rom. 7:24,25) He came to enable us to receive forgiveness and cleansing, as well as His own Spirit through whom we are able to obey God. For, by coming in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering, our Lord thereby condemned sin in sinful man so that we would be able to carry out the righteous requirements of God’s law. (8:3,4) And what is our responsibility? We are to fully submit to the Spirit and live controlled by Him (same verse), so that, through Him, we put to death sinful deeds (v. 13) and are thus no longer controlled by the sinful nature (v. 9) but by the Spirit. (same verse) This is how we live in Christ and He in us. (1 John 3:24)

If a person united with Christ sins, that person’s fellowship with God falters. If he heeds the Spirit’s conviction, he will repent and be restored to full fellowship. This is the experience of those who are learning, as obedient children do, to obey their loving and wise Father, and to understand the holy behavior He expects (1 Peter 1:14-16) and why. (Luke 8:10 & 10:21) This they learn by spending time with Him and doing what He says. Some days may display more eager obedience than other days, but deliberate disobedience remains a foreign concept to the one who loves his Father. (John 8:42 & 14:15-24 // Eph. 5:6-10)

What about those who, for one reason or another, begin to drift from fervent love for the Father? Can they be “in Christ” while committing willful sin? They cannot. They have to step away from Him, for “in Him is no sin.” The Lord cannot be united with sin, nor fellowship with anyone who is defiling himself. (1 Cor. 6:15 // 1 John 1:5,6) Sin pollutes God’s sacred temple, the temple each person “in Christ” is. (1 Cor. 3:16,17) If this pollution is not eliminated through repentance, God will destroy that temple into which His Spirit came. (same verses // 1 Kings 9:3-7 // 2 Kings 24:3,4,20 // Jer. 7:14,15 // Ezek. 5:11)

A person who has united himself with Christ through the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17) has been given God’s own divine nature (1 John 3:9) so that he will not, and cannot, go on sinning. (v. 4-10) For if anyone is “in Christ”, that person behaves as Jesus did (2:6), this being the case since it is actually Christ Himself living through the cleansed person. (Gal. 2:20)

Therefore, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25), let us walk in the Spirit (v. 16), let us be controlled by the Spirit. (Rom. 8:9) If the Spirit is indeed in us, we will do so. (same verse) Otherwise we will be cut off. (John 15:2 // Rom. 11:22) For truly, by residing in Christ, a person will not keep sinning (1 John 3:6), because “anyone born of God does not continue to sin.” (5:18)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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