I think we have covered this basic principle, but a refresher of the fundamentals is always good. I believe the issue is now, a matter of the fear that if/when we do presently sin, then how can we claim to have Christ? Or to rephrase, the problem is how is it that we could sin if Christ is in us? Wouldn't we then never sin? If so, then none of us would need confess our sins and be cleansed. 1 John 1:9. James 5:16.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- So, the born again believer cannot live in habitual sin.
- 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'.