Difficult Texts
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

The key to understanding this text lies in the meaning of the word "seed." There is perfect assurance that the "seed" will provide total victory over sin. Who is this "seed" whose presence in the life can guarantee strength to obey? We find the answer in Revelation 12:17: "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

The seed of the woman was the man child of verse 5 "who was to rule all nations" and "was caught up unto God, and to his throne." Here it is firmly established that Christ is the seed. Further evidence is found in Galatians 3:16, where God said to Abraham, "And to thy seed, which is Christ."

Now we can grasp the beautiful truth in the Scripture before us. Those who are truly born of God do not wilfully sin, because Christ is enthroned in their hearts. The only way they can choose to sin is by separating from Christ. In other words, the abiding presence of Christ and the wilful commission of sin do not operate simultaneously in the same heart at the same time. Deliberate sin always separates us from Christ, and the Holy Spirit does not become a minister of sin. Contrariwise, those who are genuinely converted and have the indwelling of the Spirit will be able to overcome sin in all its forms and approaches.

This text does not mean that Christians are incapable of committing wrong acts (or else there would be no virtue in their being without sin); rather, their love for Christ constrains them from walking contrary to His will. The word "sin" here is in a Greek form that indicates a continuing process. In other words, even if they stumble into a sin, they will not continue such a course; but rather, will repent sincerely, repudiating any wilful violation of God' s revealed will.