Summary: We believers will still sin as long as we are earthly mortals. But some sins do not characterize us, and one sin we cannot commit.
Sin Comes in Varieties
1. A tourist stops at our church and says, “What is the quickest way to get to the Sieberling Mansion?”
2. “By foot or by car?” I asked.
3. “By car,” he answered.
4. “Yes,” I replied, “That is the quickest way.”
5. There are different ways to travel – foot, car, bus, bicycle, segue, roller skates.
6. But there are also different ways to sin, different kinds of sin, and different levels of severity of sin.
7. Many evangelicals can be heard to say, “All sin is alike?” I wonder how anyone can read the Bible and come to that conclusion. God did not destroy Sodom or dispossess the Canaanites because they told white lies. The Bible speaks of the unpardonable sin, so great a sin, and even lists the types of sins that require church discipline.
8. Today’s text makes a whole lot more sense if we understand that sins has many gradients levels and distinctions.
Main idea: We believers will still sin as long as we are earthly mortals. But some sins do not characterize us, and one sin we cannot commit.
I. A Genuinely Converted Person Does Not Live in Habitual LAWLESS Sin (4-8).
A. John told us earlier that all believers still SIN (I John 1:7-10).
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
B. True believers are not CHARACTERIZED by LAWLESS sin, although they can commit such sins.
I Timothy 1:9-11 partly defines what it means to be lawless: “…understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”
Believers can commit a pretty broad spectrum of sin. David, adultery & murder. Peter denied Christ and later caved into peer pressure from fellow Jewish believers. John Mark deserted Pau & Barnabas on a missionary journey.
C. We have UNREALISTIC assessments about the holiness of the early church.
Philippians 2:19-21, “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
D. Jesus did not just come to earth only to save us from the consequences of our sin, He also came to save us from PRACTICING sin.
Our sins often have a way of finding us out. Consider this blog post:
“Today, I had an interview for a job I really wanted. On my resume, I wrote that I speak conversational Spanish, although I don't. When I arrived for the interview, my interviewer decided to conduct it in Spanish.”
II. A Genuinely Converted Person Cannot Sin the Sin Unto DEATH, Apostasy (9)
A. Some translators have chosen a possible but LESS common way to translate this verse, while others have done the opposite.
Christian Standard Bible, “Everyone who has been born of God does not sin.
New King James Version, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin.”
This corresponds to I John 2:19, “…for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us…”
B. John is talking about THREE types of sin, and I believe verse 9 is the third type.
I John 5:16-18 makes it clear that John is talking about three concepts pertaining to sin:
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
1. Sin in GENERAL, often internal, and of which we may be unaware