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Can a true Christian sin or not?

Discussion in 'Bible Chat' started by Chad, Jul 5, 2018.

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  1. Can a true Christian sin or not?

    Yes, he can sin
    • 1 John 1:8-10
      • "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (NASB)
      • "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (NKJV)
    No, he cannot sin
    • 1 John 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." (NASB)
      • "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God." (NKJV)
    • 1 John 5:18,
      • "We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him." (NASB)
      • "We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him." (NKJV)
    Is John contradicting himself when he says in one verse that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8), and yet he also says the one who is a Christian cannot sin (1 John 3:9; 5:18 NKJV)? There is no contradiction, but to see why we will need to look at the original Greek language.



    I have bolded the words above on which I would like to focus. In 1 John 3:9, the Greek word ποιεῖ (poiei) means to do, to practice. The V3SPAI is shorthand for Verb, 3rd Person Singular, Present, Active, Indicative. Likewise, VPAN means, Verb, Present, Active, Indicative.

    ποιέωa: a marker of an agent relation with a numerable event—‘to do, to perform, to practice, to make.’ διδάσκων καὶ πορείαν ποιούμενος εἰς Ιεροσόλυμα ‘teaching as he made a journey to Jerusalem’ Lk 13:22; οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάννου νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray’ Lk 5:33; τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν ‘in your name we did many miracles’ Mt 7:22; πίστει πεποίηκεν τὸ πάσχα ‘by faith he performed the Passover’ Heb 11:28.3​

    So we see that the word means to do, to practice. But that isn't all. In Greek, like English, there are verb tenses: past, present, future. But in Greek, the present tense is not quite the same as the English. Instead, it is more a continuous action.

    Present tense: "The verb tense where the writer portrays an action in process or a state of being with no assessment of the action’s completion."4

    Finally, in 1 John 3:9 we see an infinitive form of a verb. The infinitive is "to go," "to see," "to eat," etc. This is important.

    "And he cannot sin (και οὐ δυναται ἁμαρτανειν [kai ou dunatai hamartanein]). This is a wrong translation, for this English naturally means “and he cannot commit sin” as if it were και οὐ δυναται ἁμαρτειν [kai ou dunatai hamartein] or ἁμαρτησαι [hamartēsai] (second aorist or first aorist active infinitive). The present active infinitive ἁμαρτανειν [hamartanein] can only mean “and he cannot go on sinning,” as is true of ἁμαρτανει [hamartanei] in verse 8 and ἁμαρτανων [hamartanōn] in verse 6.5​


    There is no contradiction. What is happening is that John is saying that the one who is born again does not habitually abide in sin. He may fall into it, but he does not practice it as a lifestyle. The nuances of the Greek language are not carried over to the English, but when we understand what is happening, we then see there is no problem.
    Finally, any Christian who would say that he does not sin anymore fails to agree with 1 John 1:8 which says, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us." He would then be self-deceived.

    Article source: Can a true Christian sin or not? |
  2. Good point -- a person who is born again does not Habitually abide in sin. And when we Do get into a rut of some sort , the Holy Spirit Does convict us and works with us showing us in various ways that what we're doing or thinking about Is wrong. We receive a new nature but don't loose the old one.
  3. thanks @Chad for addressing this many are very confused on the subject.
    Christ4Ever likes this.
  4. A good write. Perfection and a sinless existence is a promise of Heaven and yet to come for the believer in this physical life. Jesus died for the sins of the living!
  5. I give you a thumbs up on this one Chad. It's good to see someone put effort into their studies to understand God's Word. You do good on all your post and always a pleasure to read.

    What interlinear are you using? It looks like the Textus Receptus but it's not worded like the one I use, I'm wondering on what web site you get it from. I like the way its formatted.
  6. Right on Chad!
  7. There is no contradiction, You say the same as most...maybe you just say it better!
    Dave M likes this.
  8. The last test of it all is how a supposed Christian hears this as his or her last applied sermon:
    Matthew 7:15-29 (KJV)
    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
    28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
    29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

    A simple note to this...There are expectations for Christians beyond merely believing Jesus was and is. There are traits to expect of us. Attitudes. Signs, such as love for the brethren. Doing His commandments rather than mostly just memorizing them then practicing a few now and then. I had to memorize 11 general military orders in boot camp. Then came a series of tests while on guard duty. They took it all very seriously, and so does Jesus concerning his commandments. All who are dedicated to that principle are immune to charges of sin, seeing God has separated His disciples from our sins and failures as far as the east is from the west.
  9. Greetings,

    smells like Calvanism, which would be OK with the author. Total depravity has it's purpose when you treat (love) others as Calvin did.

    Bless you ....><>
  10. Yes, a true Christian can and does sin. Sinless perfection is only obtained in heaven.

    Since Calvanism has been brought up by the moderator, I'll admit that I was recently bumped off what turned out to be a 5-point Calvinist forum. That particular forum was equating True salvation with acceptance Of Calvanism. I'd pointed out that amongst their topics of discussion were 'controvercial beliefs' ' and under That heading were 5 topics -- one of which was Calvanism. I also tried to suggest that both Mr. Calvan and Mr. Arminian were men just like any other man.

    My husband graduated many decades ago from a 5-pt. Calvanist Bible college and 1 yr of seminary. Reality is that he's about a 4 pointer.

    A true Christian will Not be continuously committing the same sin -- the Holy Spirit Will be 'talking to them'. There are lots of people who struggle with temptations in particular areas of their lives. And there Are those who say that Because God knows their heart and understand them, that they are free to do that particular sin and not be punished for it. But some of those sins need to have partners and That is where you'd be aiding another person in doing something they should not be doing. And I wouldn't want to held accountable for purposefully hurting someone because of my 'selfish' actions.

    It's more living a life-style of a certain thing that will be the downfall.
    Born Again 2004 likes this.

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