We must read Scripture without the biases of the beliefs systems we’ve been entrenched in. If we say we believe the Bible, then that is what we must believe… not what we’ve been told the Bible says. We are all going to stand before God at Judgment Day by ourselves –responsible for ourselves. Therefore, we must seek the truth for ourselves. We must read carefully, compare verses carefully, read the whole context, pray for enlightenment, set aside time for meditating on the Scriptures… ALL the Scriptures…
So… –let’s discuss a verse that most denominations seem to avoid.
Here is 1 John 3:6 –as taken from my Interlinear Greek-English NT –the English words as they are found directly under the Greek words: “Everyone in Him remaining sins not; everyone sinning has not seen Him nor has known Him.”
Here it is in the RSV: “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has either seen Him or known Him.”
Here it is in the NKJV: “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.”
Here it is in the “New Testament TransLine: A Literal Translation in Outline Format” by Michael Magill: “Everyone abiding in Him is not sinning. Everyone sinning has not seen Him, nor known Him.”
Here it is in the Good News NT: “So everyone who lives in union with Christ does not continue to sin; but whoever continues to sin has never seen Him or known Him.”
Here it is in the NASB: “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.”
Here it is in the NIV (–the version I use most, though sometimes NOT the best translation from the Greek; thus the need to compare versions, and thus beneficial to look at the Greek): “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.”
I could go on, as there are many versions. Be careful if the one you use waters down this clear message. In fact, some versions change the meaning entirely. However, even the NIV, which seems to soften the punch just a tad more than some others by using the words “keeps on” and “continues” –does give the clear message: “IF WE REMAIN IN CHRIST, WE WILL NOT SIN.”
Now we can have a discussion about “remaining in Christ”. Fine. But let’s finish the first issue –that if we do remain in Christ, abide in Christ, live in Christ, –we will not sin.
Remember, theologians always tell us, “Context Rules.” So, we are discussing 1 John 3:6. The context, from verse 5 –the verse directly before this verse –verse 6– is that Christ has no sin in Him (–nor did He ever)… and that He came to earth “so that He might TAKE AWAY our sins.” Many versions say, “…so that He might take away sin.” Either way, the context supports what is previously being taught, such as in chapter 2, verse 6 –“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” (NIV) Or as the NKJV says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk JUST AS HE WALKED.”
Therefore, the context does not support, as many say, –that, “Yes, though it says that in Jesus is NO sin, for us –well, we can have SOME sin, or we can sin SOMETIMES.” No. It neither says that, nor does the context imply that.
Instead, the whole context supports the doctrine I am trying to make clear. Again, that doctrine being: “THAT IF WE ABIDE IN CHRIST, WE WILL NOT SIN.” Look at the context for yourselves. Look at 1:5,6. Look at 2:3,4. Look at 2:28,29. Look at all of chapter 3.
Now look at verses 7-9 in chapter 3, and I’ll use the RSV because of the word “abides” instead of “lives”: “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as He is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned (has been sinning –NIV) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. [What “works of the devil”? The context is: “The sinning of the devil and the causing to sin for those who are OF the devil.”] No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” Or another says, “…because he is the offspring of God.” Another –“…because he is begotten of God.” Now verse 10: “By this it may be seen who are the children of God [–again, those BORN of God], and who are the children of the devil: Anyone who does not DO what is right is not a child of God…”
Can anyone deny what this is saying? Sin –and you are the devil’s child. Don’t sin –and you prove to be God’s child.
Now, for those who say, “Whoa –NO way! This couldn’t mean what it’s saying.” Well, let’s “forget” these verses then for now and go back to this: “Remaining in Christ –THEN we won’t sin.” Let’s remember what Jesus says in John 15:4,6 –“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you… If anyone does NOT remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” Let’s remember too, that to “wither” implies it was once a green branch.
So did that soften the blow? Not much, I should think.
Either way one tries to excuse sin… well, it just doesn’t work. “If you remain / abide in Christ, you won’t sin.” (Read that verse again –1 John 3:6.) Therefore: You sin, you wither. –You get thrown out… –You get burned… WHY does one sin? Because he is not abiding in Christ. Can someone abide in Christ if he doesn’t belong to Christ? Of course not. Can he “be of the devil” (v. 8 ) or “a child of the devil” (v. 10) and ALSO belong to Christ? No, he cannot. (See v. 10 again.) So, HOW do we know he does not belong to Christ? –He sins. (How many ways does this need to be said?)
Why does the vast majority of evangelicalism not want to accept this truth?
I suggest these reasons… 1)–Because many, including the preachers of God’s Word, like to sin, and to feel less wretched about it, they teach others that they too must be bound in sin. 2)–Because they are not abiding. 3)–Because it is so far from their reality, that they don’t believe it is possible, even for a day. 4)–Because they cannot walk as Jesus did (sinless), because they’ve allowed their sins to morph their souls into sickly, withered branches… branches destined for the fire.
If you disagree with this conclusion, you may spout your commentary… but first do so to the Lord. Also, please don’t do so until you have set aside your biases and very honestly and very thoroughly studied as any “noble Berean” should. (See Acts 17:11) Because the loving thing is to remind each other that unrighteous lifestyles flow from unregenerate hearts –which often become entombed because of the constant indoctrination of none other than: FALSE teachings.
With this in mind, may we always diligently search for truth, and never be careless in what we teach. For it could cause another soul to be damned. Maybe even our own.