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Sin and the Christian

Submitted: 7/29/2005
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Question: I John 3:9 states, 'Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.' The very purpose that Christ came to this earth was to save people 'from' (not 'in')their sins.(Matt.1:21) But we have a world full of 'confessing' Christians today calling themselves 'Born Again' children of God, 'New Creatures in Christ', 'Saved' etc. and yet...still call themselves sinners, and confess that they sin, and excuse themselves by saying that 'WE ALL sin', and 'NOBODY'S perfect'. I don't believe that God has any sinning sons, but they will have the very same sinless nature of Christ WHEN they are 'Born Again'. I have two questions.. (1)What does the Apostolics believe in light of I John 3:9? (2) What is their belief or teaching on 'How' a person is Born Again, or 'What it means' to be Born Again?

Answer: We agree that when a person is born again, the 'sinless Spirit' of Jesus Christ fills that person. This makes the person potentially sinless, but he will only experience this sinlessness to the degree that he submits himself to the Spirit and allows the Spirit to lead him.

Keep in mind that in addition to the statement you quoted from 1 John 3:9, the apostle also wrote, 'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us' (1:8). How are these two ideas reconciled? In the first reference John is saying that the born again person does not continually sin. This is because when he does sin, he confesses it and the blood of Jesus cleanses him of all unrighteousness (1:7-9).

It is true that Jesus came to save His people FROM their sins. But this is a process. The moment a person is filled with the Spirit, he has the potential to overcome sin, but must learn how to do this, which takes time.

We believe that on the one hand we must preach against sin and continually encourage one another to live godly, soberly, and righteously in this present age. There are no excuses for sinning. But on the other hand, we must not be judgmental toward people as they stumble along, trying to walk according to the Spirit. Instead, we must bear up the weak until they are able to stand on their own, perfect and complete in Jesus Christ.