I believe what St John say’d when he say’d, “The one who is born of God does not sin.” I mean, that’s what he say’d. “The one who has God’s seed in him will do no sin.” Who are we to unsay what John say’d? Now, the one who unsays what the Bible says really does not understand what is being say’d.
Notice what John says in chapter one, “If we say we have no sin, we lie and are still in the dark.” Well, John, which is it? Do you have sin or no? Ch 1 says yes; ch 3, no. What we need to consider here is the echo of Jeremiah. John is channeling Jeremiah’s prophecy from many, many years ago:
“O generation, heed the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
Or a land of thick darkness?
Why do My people say, ‘We are free to roam;
We will no longer come to You’?
32 “Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me
Days without number.
33 “How well you prepare your way
To seek love!
Therefore even the wicked women
You have taught your ways.
34 “Also on your skirts is found
The lifeblood of the innocent poor;
You did not find them breaking in.
But in spite of all these things,
35 Yet you said, ‘I am innocent;
Surely His anger is turned away from me.’
Behold, I will enter into judgment with you
Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
Here we see Israel is denying she has any sin to confess
Next, in Jer 3
And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say,
‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord;
‘I will not look upon you in anger.
For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord;
‘I will not be angry forever.
13 ‘Only acknowledge your iniquity,
That you have transgressed against the Lord your God
And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the Lord.
14 ‘Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the Lord;
‘For I am a master to you,
And I will take you one from a city and two from a family,
And I will bring you to Zion.’
So, here, God wants his people to confess their sins and God says, he is gracious to forgive.
Sounds a lot like I John. Now, to sin or not to sin? In I Jn 1 the sin to confess is to agree with God’s indictment reminiscent of Jer 2. Yes, this is who we are. Jeremiah has shown the people to be idolaters and fornicators. So, when John says, “The one who is born of God doesn’t sin,” he is showing what faith in Jesus does: it overrules the indictment. The “sin” is idolatry and fornication (ala Jeremiah); the way out is faith in Jesus. No having faith in Jesus is to keep “sinning” as a fornicator and idolater. So, the one who has faith in Jesus is no longer committing this categorical “sin.” Before I am misunderstood, let me reiterate: Jeremiah says Israel has “sinned” by going after other gods and this is what is meant by “sin.” If you believe in Jesus it is impossible to say to you, “You are ‘sinning,’ ” because by virtue of your faith you have taken the true husband and have turned to the true God which is what John is calling for. This also helps to set us up for the very last words of his epistle.