There are those object the gospel of grace because their concept of certain verses in the scriptures. One of such is 1 John 3:9
“Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
A better translation of 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:8 and 1 John 3:8 would be ‘practice sin’ as translated in the ASV. This is because the tense of the verb ‘sin’ is not ‘aorist’ (sinning in a moment of time, even once, but ‘present active’ or sinning continually.
He also talks about practicing righteousness in the following scriptures:
The Apostle John is describing who we are in the spirit. In other words our spirit man (Christ in us) practices righteousness and cannot sin.
If he was saying that it is impossible for a believer to sin then why did he say;
“My little children, these things I write to you, that ye may not sin: and if any one may sin, an advocate we have with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one,”
The believer has born of the incorruptible seed that cannot sin. His Spirit is same with Christ in nature. That is why he says that “his seed remains in him”. The question many cannot answer is if we have Christ in us and we have a brand new nature inside of us as believers, why do we still want to sin?
That is why some believe that we have two natures now, a sinful nature and a Christ like nature that are locked in the same vessel involved in some sort of tug of war?
The truth is that we don’t have two natures. A believer only has one new nature. However, the scripture does tell us that there are two opposing forces – the flesh and the spirit at war inside you.
Paul narrated a similar conflict of desire which many Christians can relate to in Romans 7:
The summary: Even though he doesn’t want to do bad things, he has no power to actually stop doing bad things – even if he wants to. Hiding away from all temptation to sin will not change the fact.
Why is this so?
When you got born again, your Spirit was born out of the very nature of Christ. The issue is that you have the same mortal flesh and soul that has “cased” your memories, will, sexual drive and so on. It already runs on a program that is contrary to that of the Spirit.
It takes feeding on the word for the nature of Christ in you to gain the ascendancy over the soul and body. This is why renewing the mind is essential as it reprograms your mind to the grace of God which is your victory over bad habits and addictions.
Paul made some important realizations which is good for us to consider;
Firstly, there is no good in his sinful flesh (note he is intentionally says in his flesh because he knows that his spirit man is good and desires good)
Also he points out that if he doesn’t want to do it, then it’s not really him doing it. In other words, it’s sin in the flesh. His true identity therefore, is not in the sinful behaviour but in the new man.
This doesn’t not mean that he has a sinful nature in him. He is saying that the flesh that responds to sin is the one responsible. He also links the response based on being subject to the law.
Paul states in Romans 8 that being in Christ is the foundation for victory. Grace at work through the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which is in US. This is the revelation of the identity of the believer which frees from any form of condemnation. Paul has a clear revelation of who he is in Christ (I MYSELF). He understands now beyond a doubt, that his sinful flesh is not his identity even though its his responsibility.
Romans 7:25 “
So the question again, “Can a believer sin? and why does he sin? We still sin because we have the sinful flesh!
The sacrifice of Jesus has taken care of it. There is no single reason why any believer should live under condemnation for it. He should look to his true identity in Him. He should let that life find expression through his decisions.
If Christ is indeed in you, then outwardly you may not look like Jesus but your spirit is identical. You are like Christ! His seed in you cannot sin.