Abide in Christ to Avoid Sin
28 April 2019 PM – 1 John 3:4-9 – 1Jn2019 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Can a Christian live without ever sinning? Some seem to think so. However, the Apostle Paul did not believe that. He said in Romans 7:19, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Others say that a true Christian will not live in habitual sin. They support this idea with the use of the Greek present tense. However, the present tense does not always imply continual action (Trench). God does promise to chasten all true Christians who sin. (Hebrews 12:7) “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” However, God does not classify sin as habitual and non-habitual. That is a manmade concept. What then does John means when he says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin”? I believe there is a consistent answer found in our text.
Transition: Consider with me four truths from this passage that I believe point us to a consistent answer.
1. Our problem is sin, v.4-5
a. Sin is breaking God’s law, v.4
1) Sin is the opposite of the purity commended in verse 3.
2) The word translated “committeth” is the common word for “do”. Most of the 372 times it is used in the Bible it is translated as some form of “do” or “did”.
3) Doing sin is doing transgression or lawlessness.
b. Christ became incarnated to take away sin, v.5
1) We know factually that Christ was manifested or made visible at His incarnation. Jesus, God the Son, became visible to man in order to take away man’s sin.
2) Because He was God, Jesus never sinned. He is completely sinless. God has a sinless nature.
2. We must abide in Christ to avoid sin, v.6
a. When we abide in Christ, we cannot sin.
1) To abide in Christ is to reside in close fellowship with Him. Abiding in Christ cannot be a synonym for salvation. It is a duty or command to continue to depend on Him (John 15).
2) Here John states that when we abide in Christ we do not sin. This is precisely what John said in 1Jn 1:6-7.
3) Zane Hodges states, “It follows logically from this that a person who is (“abides”) in a sinless Person must himself be sinless, for he has a sinless, regenerate nature.”
4) Every Christian who is walking in the light is fellowshipping with God and is abiding in Christ. While in that close communion, he is confessing any sin and God is cleansing him. The moment he refuses to deal with a sin, his abiding fellowship is broken until he confesses (1Jn 1:8-10).
b. Sinning identifies a lack of abiding in Christ.
1) When John states in the last of verse six that the one who sins has not seen Christ nor known Him experientially, he cannot be referring to salvation. If he was referring to salvation, no Christian could be sure of salvation because we all sin.
2) Go back to John’s words in chapter one where he describes seeing and knowing Christ experientially as the basis for fellowship with God.
a) If John was speaking literally of seeing and knowing Christ in the flesh, few if any of his readers and none of us have ever seen or known the incarnate Christ.
b) He was speaking figuratively of knowing Christ in fellowship.
3) When a Christian sins, he is not abiding in Christ. He has not lost his salvation or relationship with God. He just lost his fellowship with God. Since this verse states that abiding in Him is the opposite of sinning, and the sinning one has not seen nor known Christ, then abiding in Christ is the same as seeing and knowing Christ.
4) Paul wrote in Galatians 5:16 that Christians can have victory over sin by walking in the Spirit, which is a synonym for abiding in Christ. If we do not walk in the Spirit and abide in Christ, we will not live in victory over sin.
3. We have two natures within us, v.7-8
a. Righteousness comes through Christ, v.7
1) Again, John addresses his readers as “little children” a term of endearment. He believed they were children of God.
2) Righteousness is characteristic of God. Doing righteousness makes a person righteous like God is righteous. All human righteousness falls short (Is 64:6).
3) Christians who abide in Christ are able to do righteousness because of their fellowship with Christ. The same is true of walking in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
b. Sin comes through the devil, v.8
1) Sin is characteristic of the devil. Doing sin is the product of obeying the devil and walking in the darkness, outside of fellowship with God (1Jn 1:6-7).
a) The devil tempted Christ and he tempts us (Mat 4:1).
b) The devil is full of tricks to deceive us and we must wear God’s armour for protection. (Ephesians 6:11) “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
c) We must resist the devil’s temptations. (James 4:7) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
d) The devil constantly seeks to devour Christians, (1 Peter 5:8) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
2) Christ became a man to destroy the works of the devil. Through Christ and His Holy Spirit, we can have victory.
4. Our new nature cannot sin, v.9
a. God’s seed abides in true believers
1) God’s seed abides in those who are born of God. God has given true Christians new birth and a new nature. That new nature is God’s nature, is sinless, and cannot sin.
2) A child has the nature of his parent. A Christian does not sin because God’s nature abides in him.
3) Hodges points out, “The thought of a sinless Parent [God] who begets a child who only sins a little is far from the author’s mind.” John is not speaking of habitual sin.
4) My new nature does not sin and neither does your new nature. When we sin, it is our old nature that sins.
b. Believers abiding in Christ cannot sin
1) In verse 6, John said that abiding in Christ prevents sin. He is saying the same thing here.
2) God’s new nature that is within every true believer cannot sin at all. That nature cannot sin because it is God’s nature. Therefore, when a Christian is walking in the light (i.e., abiding in Christ or walking in the Spirit) he is yielding to his new nature and cannot sin.
3) Any time a Christian sins, he is not walking in the light, abiding in Christ or walking in the Spirit. He is yielding to his old nature that is still governed by the devil.
Conclusion: Every Christian faces temptations on a daily basis. Yielding to temptation is sin. Sin is a real problem. However, if you know Christ, you now have two natures. The devil governs your old nature. The Lord and the Holy Spirit govern your new nature. It is God’s nature. When we are abiding in Christ, which is the same as walking in the Spirit, walking in the light, drawing nigh to God, and fellowshipping with God, we are yielding to our new nature and we cannot sin. Anytime we sin, we are yielding to our old nature. We are not abiding in Christ and the devil is in control.
God wants us to be abiding constantly in Christ so that we will not sin.
Song: Victory in Jesus – 496