Published on
November 24, 2023

1 John 5

“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the One who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
1 John 5
“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the One who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true One. We are in the true One – that is in His Son Messiah Jesus. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:18-21 (HCSB)

The Biblical ideas of “sinning” are not as clear-cut as one might think. Obviously, followers of the Messiah, Jesus, sin. Otherwise, Jesus would not have needed to teach His disciples to pray:

“And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”  Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)

Also, earlier in 1 John, the apostle exhorted:

“My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Messiah Jesus the Righteous One.”  1 John 2:1 (HCSB)

So, what does John mean when he says, “Everyone born of God does not sin”? He is referring to the Jewish concept of “sinning willfully.”  More than simply sinning on purpose, “sinning willfully” means approaching the Lord without an atoning sacrifice.

“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the World.”  1 John 2:2 (HCSB)

When it comes to approaching the Lord, the follower of Jesus never sins “willfully.”  Although they may sin of their free will, they never approach the Lord without atonement. That is how John can exhort believers in Jesus (like ourselves) who sin, yet later make the statement that believers do not sin. Of course, we sin, but we can stand before the Lord boldly because our sin has been atoned for. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

This is also part of why John is going to such great lengths to make sure people know that a true believer would never abuse God’s grace long term. Instead, true believers live to obey the Lord’s commands out of thankfulness for having their sins atoned for.

Finally, John ends his letter by eluding to the Tri-unity of God. He uses the Hebrew understanding that God is “ONE” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) to describe the Messiah, God the Father, and the One who “has given us understanding,” which is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus sends to all believers at the moment they believe.

Any other concept of God is a lie of the “evil one,” and thus idolatry. We must stay away from any teaching that denies (or adds to) these attributes of God.

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