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Friday, January 7, 2011

Question of the Week:
Do Christians Sin?

"Good and Evil: The Devil Tempting a Young Woman"
Andre Jacques Victor Orsel 1832
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Is it true that Christians "can't" sin?
~ Hannah Meyer

This question usually arises from 1 John 3:9-10. Here's the Analytical Literal Translation (ALT) text:

Every one having been begotten from God is not practicing sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to be sinning, because he has been begotten from God. By this are revealed [who are] the children of God and the children of the devil: every one not practicing righteousness is not from God, and the one not loving his brother.

Here is why the child of God, born again in Jesus, does not sin.

God's Word reproduces spiritual life in His children, not sin.
To be "begotten from God," is to be born again through the seed of God. Whether seed is of a plant, human, or God Himself, "seed" implants and reproduces life. God's seed is His Word (logos, Greek for "word"), whether manifest as Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 1:14), or as the living sayings of God from the Bible (Hebrews 4:12). If the Word of God is implanted in a person and takes hold, the spiritual life of God is reproduced in His new child.

God's children gain the legal standing of Jesus—"righteous."
Those who receive God's seed—His Word, Jesus—and allow it to reproduce spiritual life are born as immortal, spiritual beings. God does not call us His children as only an affectionate metaphor. We receive a legal status of child and heir. We receive Jesus' life (sinless) in place of our life (sinful). Our standing before God is changed from "sinner" to "righteous." We are no longer guilty of any sin. No matter what we do, it is not counted against us as sin.

God's children grow in likeness to God, hating sin ...
Though we gain a new spiritual status, we continue to live in sinful flesh, which dies. As we grow in likeness to God, sin is something we will become increasingly aware of (see Romans 7:15-20), continue to repent of, and hate enough to not willfully practice. Paul describes the situation of sinning but hating it as "wretched," and comforts us with the words, "Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me."

... while practicing righteousness and love.
Children of the King are royalty, who are not judged by the law, but are instead members of His court, outside the law. However, the King holds His royal children to a higher standard of character than mere duty to obey the law. We are to behave as royalty, like the King Himself, out of love for our Father. And though we are no longer subject to the death penalty of law, we are subject to the discipline of our Father, Who takes a dim view of His children defaming His name with bad behavior.

A shorter explanation might modify the cancer mantra and simply say, "I may have sin, but sin doesn't have me."

For further information on this topic, readers may be interested in
Lie of Hell #2: No More Worry About Sin."

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This post originally appeared at Bullets & Butterflies. To see ongoing dialogue in comments posted there click here.

What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @

© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

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