Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3: 4-6
I struggle with this line of thinking – especially in light of 1 John 1:8-10 which says if we say we are not sinners, we are calling Him a liar. But, according to this verse, if we keep on sinning, we can’t know Him. Ah, but, that’s the cool part about interpreting scripture with scripture. Because John starts by telling us that, without a doubt, we are sinners, and to deny that, is to deny Him, and if we we believe that scripture is infallible, then it stands to reason there must be a slightly different thinking in this verse. Rather than digging into my own concordance and researching a detailed commentary, I turned to my study bible notes. The authors there put it this way (and I’m paraphrasing here), John is not asserting that we are to attain sinless perfection, only that our lives should not be characterized by sin.
The fact of the matter is, one of the hardest things to understand, especially for non-believers, is that because of the Original sin, we are all sinners. The key to living a life not characterized by sin is to accept that even though I sin, it doesn’t own me. I’m aware of my sin and am able to make choices (not always good ones) that move me away from my sinful nature. I worship Him, not the world!
I heard once that guilt is the devil’s work. I’m not sure I entirely believe that. I think it is when it’s used as a tool by people who have an agenda, but guilt is what makes me realize I have sinned. It’s what drives me to my knees. The beauty of being saved, though, is that I know I am forgiven.
Father, I know I don’t have to beg for your forgiveness. You give it freely. I know, though, that I need to acknowledge my sin and I thank you for teaching me how to repent. In Jesus name. Amen