1John 3:9 What does it mean?

Discussion in 'Theology' started by bcbsr, May 25, 2015.

  1. OzSpen

    OzSpen Member

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    The translators of the NIV have tried to convey the meaning of the Greek tenses in this verse, 1 John 3:9 (NIV): 'No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God'.

    There is a similar message to this in 1 John 3:6 (NIV), 'No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him'.

    The issues from 1 John 3:9 (NIV) are:
    1. We are talking about those who are born again (favourite language of John), those who are 'born of God'. We are talking about Christians who have been changed from the inside by God.
    2. These Christians will not continue to sin as a lifestyle. They cannot go on sinning in that way. The Greek present tense verb indicates continuous action, so the NIV presents an acceptable translation. The thought in this verse is NOT that Christians will never commit acts of sin. It is not saying that born again believers will not sin but that they will not persist in sin.
    3. So, the born again believer cannot live in habitual sin.
    4. BUT, there is the possibility of committing occasional acts of sin - as I can testify. If we commit those acts of sin, 1 John 1:9 (NIV) tells us what we are to do: 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness'.
    That's my understanding of 1 John 3:9 and the Greek verb used. Also, it makes practical sense. We know from the preceding verse, 1 John 3:8 (ESV) that 'whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil'. In other words, they have not been born of God.

    Oz
     
  2. childeye

    childeye Member

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    For what it's worth, this was a concise and thorough analysis. I also believe that this change from within happens through a quickening of that which is already there to begin with. Galatians 1:15. Galatians 1:16. 2 Timothy 2:25.
     
  3. OzSpen

    OzSpen Member

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    Thanks childeye for your affirmation.

    John Piper deals with this topic in his sermon, 'No one born of God makes a practice of sinning'.

    Oz
     

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