- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Sin and Salvation
- Published on Thursday, 19 November 2009 11:11
In his first epistle, John refutes false teaching about the distinction between the spiritual and physical realms. By classifying everything physical as sinful, false teachers dissociated the believer's body from his spirit. This implies that as long as a believer's spirit is enlightened, his bodily behavior is irrelevant. John contends that our relationship to God requires behavior consistent with God's revealed character.
Some have thought that I John 3:9 should read, "Whatsoever is born of God doth not commit sin," meaning that what God has produced in us (a nature?) is incapable of sinning. This interpretation would play into the hands of John's protagonists. That would indicate either that a believer is an enlightened spirit without sin in a body that sins or that his spirit doesn't practice sin, but his body does. John is teaching that the believer is one entity; his spirit and body are not independent parts. The believer is "born of God."
The key word is "commit," meaning a child of God cannot practicing sinning. Sinning cannot characterize one who is born of God because God is light. The epistle teaches that God's family will display likeness to the Father. A believer - not merely his body - still has the capability of sinning (1:8) and commits acts of sin (1:10); sin cannot, however, characterize him internally or externally.