Summary: Those who know God must remain pure, as He is pure.
I. Definition of Sin (3:4)
A. Lawlessness – without or against the law
B. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) will oppose God” (paraphrase)
II. Manifestation for Sin (3:5)
A. Jesus became the sacrifice for our sin
B. Only He could deal with our sin, because He has no sin of His own
III. Conception of Sin (3:6-8a, 9)
A. Sin originated with the Devil (see Isaiah 14:12-14)
B. Interpretations of Verses 6 & 9
1. The Willful-Sin Position – This statement is referring to willful, deliberate sins, as opposed to involuntary, unintentional sins and errors. This raises 3 problems:
a. Even saintly people can commit major, premeditated sins (David)
b. Distinguishing between voluntary and involuntary sins is very difficult
c. The text gives no indication that such a limited definition of sin is meant. The text clearly talks about all sin.
2. The Habitual-Sin Position – We cannot adopt a lifestyle of willful, unrepentant sin. We will sin; but we will never settle down into a lifestyle that is characterized by sin. No one who practices the litany of evil deeds in Galatians 5:19-21 will inherit the kingdom of God. Any of these individual acts may be forgiven. But a lifestyle characterized by these and other sins cannot be maintained by a true child of God.
C. Our relation to sin
1. Because the inner man is regenerate, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), in spite of the fact that sin might occur. It remains for our adoption to be completed by receiving a new body (Romans 8:22-23), so that the power of sin will be completely removed from us. Until then, we battle – the regenerate inner self with the flesh.
2. The inner man, the regenerate self, does not sin. Yet, “the filthy coat of remaining humanness in which the new creation dwells continues to hinder and contaminate our living.” (Dr. John MacArthur).
IV. Destruction of Sin (3:8b)
A. Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil – Sin
B. Jesus came to deliver us from the power, penalty, and presence of sin