Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
— 1 John 3:6
A true child of God cannot continue to habitually live a lifestyle of sin! It is impossible! In fact, if someone claims to be a child of God but continues in a life of sin, it is more than likely that he was never genuinely born again in the first place. You see, the Bible makes it clear that it is simply impossible for a bona fide child of God to continue in a life of sin! Today I want to tell you the reason why this is impossible.
First John 3:6 says, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Do you see the word “sinneth” used two times in this verse? In both cases, the Greek tense indicates continuous action, which means the verse could be more accurately translated, “He who abides in him does not go on continually, habitually sinning as a way of life; he who continually goes on routinely sinning as a way of life has not seen him, neither known him.”
I realize this is a very strong statement, but this is precisely what John said to us in this verse. According to this verse, anyone who continues to live in habitual sin does not know Jesus. It could be that this individual has come close to the Kingdom of God and has even tasted the powers of it. But the fact that he has continued uninterrupted in the practice of sin shows that he has never become a real child of God. The fact that his life never changed demonstrates that his nature was never changed. This is exactly what John wrote in First John 3:6.
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John then goes on to tell us, “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” (1 John 3:9). The tense of the word translated “commit” again indicates continuing action, which means the verse could be translated, “Whosoever is born of God simply cannot go on continually sinning.…” And then John tells us why!
John writes, “…for his [God’s] seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The word “seed” is the Greek word sperma — and yes, it is where we get the word sperm.
According to this phenomenal verse, God injected His own seed into you the day you gave your life to Christ! Just as the sperm of a human father carries the DNA of that father, God’s seed — the Word of God — carries the life and nature of God within it. When that divine seed was implanted on the inside of you, it imparted the very nature of God Himself to your spirit.
Peter referred to this miraculous event when he wrote that you are “…born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). This means the day you got saved, that divine seed came rushing into your spirit, carrying the life and nature of God within it to give you a new nature. Just as a human seed produces a human life, God’s divine seed immediately began to produce the life of God inside you.
In Genesis 1, God declared a spiritual law — that every living thing produces after its own kind (vv. 21,24,25): Humans produce humans; horses produce horses; plants produce plants, and so on. This principle is also true in the spiritual realm. The day that God’s divine seed was planted in you, that seed transported the very nature of God Himself into your spirit, with the full expectation that His very life and nature would be reproduced on the inside of you. This is why your desires suddenly changed after you were born again. This is also why you felt so badly about sin that previously didn’t bother you at all and why you became so driven to possess a holy life. You weren’t the same anymore, because you had a new nature. The nature of God Himself had been planted in you!
This is the reason a genuinely born-again person cannot continue habitually in his past sinful patterns. His new nature will drive him to be different, to be holy, to be like God. His born-again spirit will grieve and sorrow if sins are committed, because such actions violate the new nature that has been implanted in his spirit. If a person continues in sin as though nothing happened inside him, then nothing is probably exactly what did happen! More than likely, he was never really born again, for if he had been born again, that new nature of God within him would not permit him to continue living habitually in sin.
What does this mean for you and me? If a person who claims to be born again continues uninterrupted in habitual sin, we can take it as a strong indicator that he has probably never really been born again. This person may have come close to the Kingdom of God; he may have even learned the lingo of the saints. But the fact that his actions are unchanged indicates that his nature has never been changed. If he had really been infused with the divine seed of God, that life-giving seed would have so changed him that he wouldn’t be able to continue living as he had lived in the past.
This is why I say that people who claim to know the Lord but whose lives never reflect a change should question if they have ever really been born again. The great preacher, Charles Finney, once remarked that most people who attend church are probably not born again. When asked why he believed this, Finney remarked that it was impossible for true children of God to live in blatant sin as many believers do. Finney made this statement over 100 years ago. As I contemplate the amount of sin that is so prevalent in the Church today, it makes me wonder, How many people who attend church in our own day are not genuinely born again?
- Could it be that many who claim to know the Lord really aren’t born again but instead have only been “enlightened” by coming closer to the Kingdom of God?
- If someone is really born of God, could he continue to blatantly live in sin, completely unchanged in his actions or attitudes?
- Doesn’t John tell us that it is impossible for a person to continue in habitual sin if God’s nature genuinely resides in his heart?
- Don’t you think it is tragic that many people who come to church week after week, assuming they are saved, may not really be saved at all?
First John 3:9 plainly declares that an authentic child of God cannot routinely commit and live in uninterrupted sin. Because he has been “born of God,” he is so inwardly changed that it affects him outwardly. He acts differently because he is different. Now God’s seed resides in his spirit, and that seed is producing the life of God in him; therefore, he thinks, behaves, and acts like God’s child.
On the other hand, if a person’s life does not emulate God, perhaps it is an indication that he has never really received God’s divine seed into his spirit. If he had been implanted with God’s seed, that seed would have caused clear and visible changes in his life.
You must remember that in regard to the works of the flesh, Paul said, “…They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). The word “do” is the Greek word prasso, which means to practice. The Greek expresses the idea of a person who performs these things as a matter of routine. These actions are his ritual, his norm, his pattern of life. It means the verse could be translated, “…Those who put these things into practice and who do these things routinely shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
This is not the story of someone who has lost his salvation; rather, this is the story of someone who thought he was saved but who never really possessed genuine salvation in the first place. If he had truly been saved, he wouldn’t have been able to continue living a consistent life of sin. The apostle John made this point emphatically clear in First John 3:9.
There is nothing more important than your salvation, friend. If you make a mistake about your spiritual condition, it is a mistake you will regret for all of eternity. Because this is such a vital, eternal issue, I advise you to carefully examine your own life to see if you reflect the life and nature of God.
- Does your life reveal that your nature has been changed?
- Or have you continued uninterrupted in your old attitudes and sinful actions since the time you thought you were saved?
- Does your daily life demonstrate clear evidence of your salvation, or have you just learned the lingo of Christians and how to behave among believers?
This question is too serious for you to make a mistake. If these questions disturb you, take the time to let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and tell you the truth. If your life gives proof that you are saved, then rejoice! But if an honest evaluation reveals that you have only become more religious but have never really changed, perhaps you need to reconsider whether or not you have ever really been saved.
If you find that this last statement best describes you, it’s time for you to make your heart right with God. Don’t let pride hold you back from doing what is right. Many people will have an eternal destiny in hell because they couldn’t bear the thought of publicly admitting they weren’t saved. Don’t let pride stop you from doing what is right. The question of where you will spend your eternity is too important to ignore! Determine to put aside your pride so you can do what God’s Spirit is urging you to do!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I thank You for placing Your divine life inside me! You have changed my whole view of life and given me new desires. I am so grateful to You for bringing about such change in me. I am truly a new creature with new desires, new longings, and new aspirations. I am so thankful that when I look at my life, I can see Your life and Your nature working in me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I have a new nature with new desires! I am not the person I used to be. By looking at me, it is evident that God’s new nature is alive and working inside me. His divine seed is reproducing God’s life in me so that every day I am thinking more like God, acting more like God, and possessing less tolerance for any sin that might still be active in my life. I don’t have to wonder if I’m really saved, for my life gives proof that I have received a brand-new nature!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Have you ever known someone who claimed to be born again, but you never witnessed any changes in his lifestyle, behavior, attitudes, or actions? Did it make you wonder if that person was really saved?
2. If you know someone who claims to be a child of God but whose life continues uninterrupted in a lifestyle of sin, what does this person’s unchanged life indicate to you now?
3. What changes occurred in you when you received Jesus Christ into your heart? Why don’t you write down some of the biggest changes that have taken place since you were born again? It might be interesting for you to see how much your life has changed!