11:37; Lev. Following are the major interpretative options (excluding the suggestion of some that John simply contradicts himself): (1) To avoid the difficulty some have narrowed the definition of "sin" to notorious crimes or offences against love (this was the view of both Augustine and Luther). And still he says, "what I hate," the sin that is so abhorrent to me—"that I do." Sin dwells in him, but does not govern—it has power, but does not rule—it torments, but does not reign with a continued, unbroken supremacy; in accordance with the promise, "sin shall not have dominion over you." Birth of God is a deep, radical, inward transformation. (Signs of the New Birth), THE NEW BIRTH: ITS EVIDENCES AND RESULTS  1 JOHN. principle of all grace; and where he once is, he always abides; 23:10; Num. V. Kept. It is the abiding influence of God’s seed within everyone who is born of God, which enables John to affirm without fear of contradiction that he cannot go on sinning (cf. (Revelation 12:17)  So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. 20:7; 2 Chr. Christians see it, hate it, confess it and fight it. Scripture: 1 John 3:14. 54:3; Isa. ( H) 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, ( I) just as he is pure. The answer one gives to this question significantly reflects how one conceives of the motivation of love in 1 Peter. The present active infinitive hamartanein can only mean "and he cannot go on sinning," as is true of hamartanei in 1Jn 3:8 and hamartanon in 1Jn 3:6. 22:30; Ps. ", Practices (poieo) sin - present tense = as the general direction of their life. It simply is not in the realm of reality. But it may be inquired, is not all sin an act of the will? 34:4; Jos. 33:1; Lev. intend any particular single sin, which cannot be committed; I’m sure that my experience is like yours: I feel quite capable of sinning and years of walking with the Lord have not lessened my ability! A second option is the Holy Spirit. IV. What is John explaining? it refers to the seed of plants (cf. (Acts 7:5)  "But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. 17:10; Isa. Churlishness of Diotrephes. 22:51; 1 Ki. 14:22; Isa. it is a good work, and well pleasing: in the sight of God, who is antidote against it, and a preservative from it: nor the Holy 69:36; Ps. 22:23; Ps. "WHOEVER IS BORN OF GOD." (a) The ideal is that in the new age sin is gone for ever. God’s seed remains in the believer, and this is … 1:11; 1 Sam. If the Christian "does not" practice sin, indeed, "cannot" practice sin, wherein lies this "impossibility"? ", Wuest on practices - Poieo (is) in the present tense which always speaks of continuous action unless the context limits it to punctiliar action, namely, the mere mention of the fact of the action, without the mentioning of details. In 1John 3:6 John says that the believer who abides in Christ "sins not" (present tense). 28:59; Deut. (1 John 3 Commentary). 19:20; Lev. The growth of a living seed may be checked temporarily; if there be no growth, there is no life. This explains the other most common use of sperma in the Septuagint in reference to the seed of Abraham (Isaiah 41:8), seed of Aaron, seed of David, seed of Jacob (Isaiah 45:19), etc. In Gal 6:15 Paul again refers to "a new creation." 11:37; Lev. His point is that those who are truly born of God practice righteousness; those who are of the devil (the only other category) do not practice righteousness. How then do we understand the statement in 1John 3:9 that the one who is begotten of God "does not do sin" (lit.) Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?" Robertson considers "cannot sin" a wrong translation because it means the believer cannot commit sin "as if it were Kai ou dunatai harmartein or hamartesai (second aorist or first aorist active infinitive). calls us to notice "again how he says this: “No one who is born of God practices sin.” The child of God bears the marks of whose child he is in his life… The one who practices sin shows that he is not of the heavenly Father; he is not born of God. (2 Corinthians 9:10)  Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; (Galatians 3:16)  Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. 9:27; Job 5:25; Ps. Please help. 1 John 3. 23:3; Isa. 11:18; Rev. The one who goes on doing sin (in other words, lives in sin), has never become a child of God. (Mark 4:31)  "It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, 126:6; Prov. 61:9; Isa. Ro 8:29-30)! 37:31; Isa. The translation reads, “Every one who has been born out of God, with the present result that he is a born-one (of God), does not habitually do sin.”, MacDonald feels that John "is contrasting the regenerate man with the unregenerate, and is speaking of constant or habitual behavior. 15:18; Lev. First John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin; it means that if we obey the life of God in us, we need not sin. 54:3; Isa. 10:15; Deut. 1 John 3:9 Context. (d) In spite of that, no Christian can possibly be a deliberate and consistent sinner; no Christian can live a life in which sin is dominant in all his actions. 53:10, as referring to the Coming One. 19:32,34) and the seriousness of a judgment that “cut off” one’s seed (1 Samuel 24:21 [ LXX 1 Kings 24:22]). 2Cor. 14:29; Isa. “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not, but He that was begotten of God (i.e., the Lord Jesus) keepeth him” (1 John 5:18+, R.V.). 20:42; 1 Sam. Born (begotten, father of, conceived) (1080)(gennao) figuratively refers to the spiritual new birth. They say that if you learn the secret of abiding in Christ, you will live without sin. new nature, or new man formed in the soul, is meant; which John 1:13; 2Peter 1:4-note). The specific question which this essay tries to answer came from 1 Peter 3:9, 'Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called that you may obtain a blessing' (RSV). Thus, Rom. Why? We are comforted to know sin cannot and will not win, ultimately, in our lives. 1 John 3:9 (Continued Study) Difficult Scriptures Explained by Pastor Ralph Arnold . 45:19; Isa. Sperma appears over 200 times in the Septuagint with a similar variety of meanings including (occasionally) the male “sperm” (semen), as in Leviticus 15:16 for humans and Jeremiah 31:27 (LXX 38:27) for animals. 11:7; Num. The meaning of 1 John 3:9—“his seed remaineth in him”—is debatable. 26:16; Lev. Those who are born of God through Christ the Son will never revert back to the old man. Also, the one who "does sin" (present tense) shows that he has neither seen nor known Him. 18:21; Lev. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life. 57:4; Isa. The moment you receive Christ, the blood of Jesus keeps on cleansing you. What does the word "this" refer to? No man can possibly hate sin, unless he is "born of the Spirit." 1:3; Dan. In 3:16 Paul cited the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 13:15; 17:7,8) to make a point that Jesus, in the truest sense, is the (singular) “seed”—posterity— promised to Abraham. (2) John’s main concern is not to delve into some deep theological discourse, but rather to be pastorally practical. In this way the two parts of verse 9 become exactly parallel, each part consisting of a statement that the Christian does not or cannot sin, to which is added the reason for such an assertion. 34:4; Jos. (Collected Writings). And the Doctrine of Perseverance. The translation therefore is, “He is not able to habitually sin.” The Greek text here holds no warrant for the erroneous teaching of sinless perfection. John Piper - Now anybody can sin who wants to sin. 43:5; Isa. Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for 1 John 3:9 ← Back to Chuck Smith's Bio & Resources. He focuses on the habitual character of the activity in view. The “seed’ could be the Word of God itself (James 1:18). 112:2; Ps. unpardonable sin; neither of which can be committed by a 31:9; Isa. Don’t they sometimes bear oranges with seeds?” “Oh no,” he would say; “A budded tree does not produce seeded oranges.” But even as he speaks I stoop down and see a little shoot under the branches coming out of the trunk of the tree, and say, “Look, what is that shoot?” He would snip it off, or taking his knife out of his pocket would cut it away, saying, “That’s from below the graft. (John 8:33)  They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free '?" 28:43; Exod. Our Lord will pick us up and get us moving again in the right direction. It's like a birth; something new has come into existence. 2:33; 1 Ki. 89:36; Ps. Seed (04690)(sperma from speiro = to sow) means literal seed (source from which something is propagated) as of plants or of humans (sperm) (Mt 13:24, 27, 37f; Mk 4:31; Jn 7:42; 1 Cor 15:38; 2 Cor 9:10; Lxx - Ge 1:11, 12, 29). 21:15; Lev. 22:13; Lev. Are they descendants of Abraham? (Acts 13:23 = "From the descendants of this man" that is David, cf Ro 1:3, 2 Ti 2:8). But how do we isolate a "nature" from the "individual" himself/herself? 1 John 1:9-note: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us.” No, sin in the Christian life is not the issue that he is addressing; he is addressing fundamentally the issue of a person who claims to be a Christian but the bent or habit or characteristic of his or her life is one which is not in accordance with God’s word. Born of God - Regenerated. On some days we are much. 14:30; Isa. 57:3; Isa. 31:27; Jer. I do what I want to do, but in regeneration Christ did something to my ‘wanter.’ I just don’t want to do the things that you are talking about.” (1-3 John- Fellowship in God's Family Preaching the Word). be rooted out; where it powerfully teaches to avoid sin, is an 89:4; Ps. 2:20; 1 Sam. 24:3; Ruth 4:12; 1 Sam. This refers to the new life that God imparts to those He begets as His children. 16:13; 1 Chr. 21:21; Lev. The first appears in 3:9 in the second part of the scripture. In other Greek literature sperma has breadth of usage similar to that of the classical period. 55:10; Isa. That’s what John is dealing with here. - Ed: See also 1 John 3:9 Special Study on Ways it Has Been Interpreted) (a) Some have said that John means that believers cannot commit terrible sins, such as murder or what the Catholic Church labels “mortal” sins. Explaining John 9:1-3. 23:3; Isa. himself to it; he is not without the being of it in him, or free This is to say, one of the clearest proofs of the new birth is to be found in the fact that a new life is begun. What is here taught is not that the divine nature in man does not sin, and that it is only the old nature, the flesh, that sins; the fact is that the apostle is still distinguishing between the child of God and the unregenerate. 21:10; Ps. He spoke of being born of the Spirit. 1John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God: Greek: Pas o gegennemenos (RPPMSN) ek tou theou hamartian ou poiei (3SPAI) hoti sperma autou en auto menei (3SPAI) kai ou dunatai (3SPPI) hamartanein (PAN) oti ek tou theou gegennetai (3SRPI). (The Son of God Appeared to Destroy the Works of the Devil - December 20, 1998), William Barclay - What John is saying may be put down in four stages. In verse 10 some people in the group were claiming they had not sinned. Again we must emphasize that John does not speak of sinless perfection. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1+). First, … He hates it; he is like a sheep that may fall into the mire, but he will not wallow in it, as the swine do. (John 7:42)  "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" They will not sin habitually, 1 John 3:9 is said to teach. persons cannot sin as unregenerate men do; that is, live in a incorruptible seed, which neither corrupts nor is corrupted; and In Acts 3:25 "IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED," the "Seed" ultimately refers to the Messiah. I might say to the owner, “What kind of oranges are these?” “Washington navel oranges,” he would reply. 2:6,14,15,20 “Nicolaitans”) and from early Christian leaders who knew this situation (Irenaeus) that these false teachers practiced and sexual immorality—and taught that “spiritually enlightened people” were above such ethical restrictions.3 1:8; Deut. 17:5; Ezek. Being born of God is being changed by God so that the dominion of sin is broken. (5) Some say that John, in the heat of controversial circumstances, breaks forth in holy passion and speaks with apparent exaggeration and over-emphasis. 48:19; Isa. (9) Some argue that the "sin" which a believer does not and cannot commit is the "sin that leads to death" in 1 John 5:16, namely, hatred of believers and denial of Jesus. (4) Others say John is speaking about the ideal and not reality. As well, he used sperma of the starting point of the universe. For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. Proud member But 1John 3:9 makes it clear why a Christian doesn't practice sin, indeed, is unable to sin, and it has nothing to do with abiding. reason of the impeccability of the regenerate man, as such, is. John called this new nature God’s “seed.” When a person receives Christ as his Savior, tremendous spiritual changes take place in him. 3:16, 19, 29; in the 16th ver., "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ," quoted from the Sept. of Gen. 13:15; Gen. 17:7, 8, there is especial stress on the word "seed," as referring to an individual (here, Christ) in fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, a unique use of the singular. is in them, lives in them, dwells in them, hinders all the good, And yet he refers to two antagonist principles dwelling in him—the one on the side of holiness, the other on the side of sin. Sperma in the NT 43x in 40 verses - children(7), conceive*(1), descendant(4), descendants(16), posterity(1), seed(10), seeds(4). John Piper - When 1 John 3:6 says, "No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him," and when verse 9 says, "No one who is born of God practices sin," the key is to realize that the present tense verbs used here in Greek for "sins" (verse 6) and "practices" (verse 9) imply ongoing, continuous action. 4:16, 18; Rom. ", Vine on seed - the seed signifies the divine principle of imparted life in the believer, and this, once it is imparted, is unalterable; it remains in the believer. 43:5; Isa. 44:3; Isa. Philo, for example, used the word both literally and metaphorically, the latter sometimes approaching our use of “germ” (as in the germ of life). The noun sperma means “seed”; see the related verb speirō (4540), “to sow.” In classical Greek sperma can refer to the seed of plants or animals, to the basic element of anything, to one’s immediate children or further progeny, and to anything that has life-giving force (Schulz, “sperma,” Kittel, 7:536f.). John is describing a situation in which we have opportunities to sin or not. Feb 15, 2012. Because - Another term of explanation. 1 John 3:9. Whatever it is specifically, God himself is at work in the new birth so powerfully that they cannot keep on practicing sin. This probably means that, in John's mind, what is impossible for the Christian is a life of unchanged continuation in sin the same as when he was not born of God. does not make it his trade and business; it is not the constant 21:21; Lev. He "would do good." (, Exalting Jesus in 1, 2, 3 John Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary, 1 John 2:29-3:10 The Test of Righteousness, New Bible Dictionary- I. Howard Marshall, A.R. 14:24; Num. not free from sin, neither from the being nor actings of it; sin Thus the ancients despaired if they had no “seed” (Genesis 15:3). He’s already addressed in 1 John 1 people who taught that Christians could be sinlessly perfect, and he has contradicted that (false teaching). They are not regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit as indicated by their unholy lives! It is not for the honour of God to suffer a custom and course of sin in a renewed man. We may stumble, even fall on occasion, but we know "the One who is in [us] is greater than the one who is in the world" (1Jn 4:4). 9:10; (b) physiological, Heb. It would be well translated, "No one born of God is content to keep sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot be content to keep on sinning because he is born of God." Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. The statement here again conveys the thought of sinning as a practice, a habit. This is probably not correct because the whole context of the passage involves the here and now—today, during our physical lives. 9:8; Est. It exerts a strong internal pressure towards holiness. Again, implicit in this is the sense of a God-given, life-giving force that is kept alive from one generation to another and represents its progenitor. 28:38; Deut. 37:28; Ps. We reply, not the renewed will. 44:22; Dan. him": this furnishes out a considerable argument for the 22:4; Lev. 1 John 3:9, NLT: "Those who have been born into God's family do not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is in them. (1 Corinthians 15:38)  But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. My question is regarding John 9:1-3, where the disciples ask Jesus whose sin caused the man to be blind, and Jesus answers that it was neither the man nor his parents. (Baptist Faith and Message 2000 ), New Bible Dictionary on regeneration - We may define regeneration as a drastic act on fallen human nature by the Holy Spirit, leading to a change in the person’s whole outlook. 18:30; 2 Ki. 25:13; Deut. Not loving is intensified into hating, and hating into murdering. If the infinitive had been aorist John would be contradicting what he said in 1John 2:1. Figuratively refers to spiritual posterity (Abraham's spiritual offspring in Ro 4:13, 16,18; Ro 9:8 = "children of promise"; Heb 2:16 = "He gives help to the descendant of Abraham", Rev 12:17+ = "the rest of her children"). Note that in 1John 3:9a he says the one begotten of God "does not do sin." 50:16; Ezek. A man having a forty acre orchard and not wanting to be left completely without fruit, would have the tops of one half of the trees cut off. How is it broken? Even you need to be warned against the world’s evil temper of dislike and envy. For the aorist subjunctive to commit a sin see hamartate and hamartei in 1Jn 2:1. 24:7; Num. All rights reserved. (Romans 1:3)  concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 23:8; Jer. However, as a result of the new birth, the Bible says we cannot make "a practice of sinning" and we "cannot keep on sinning because [we have] been born of God" (1Jn 3:9ESV). What is the meaning of spiritual rebirth? The implication will then be this: the new birth involves the acquisition of a new nature through the implanting within us of the very seed or life giving power of God. But, clearly, John does not specify sins, and besides, believers are capable of committing such sins. 37:25; Ps. 57:4; Isa. Hate and not love will fill our hearts. Millard, J. I. Packer, D. J. Wiseman, Regeneration - multiple articles and quotes. 35:9; Jer. perseverance of the saints. Chris Benfield on he cannot sin - This ought to bring great comfort to the heart of every believer. 17:5; Ezek. He has arrived at what he calls sinless perfection. (Mark 12:22)  and so all seven left no children. As soon as possible, he is up again out of the mud and the filth. But John is asking about the bent, the habit, the characteristic of a life, and he’s saying that our lives reveal who we are." God's character is the very opposite of sin, therefore the child of God will be like his Father—he will not be able to sin. Reader, have you ever been made sensible of the inward plague? But it takes nine months before birth, and after that it takes years to grow to maturity. 11:11; (c) metaphorical and by metonymy and for "offspring, posterity," (1) of natural offspring e.g., Matt. 17:5; Isa. 48:14; Isa. 5:27; 2 Ki. 16:40; Num. Birth of God is a deep, radical, inward transformation. 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