Is there a difference between sinning and PRACTICING sin? 1 John 3:9

Some people suggest that christians are safe and will not lose their souls as long as they don’t PRACTICE sin – as in ”habitually”. They might also suggest that true born-again christians do not practice sin but they do sin occasionally and they can never stop sinning. This is just another attempt to excuse sinning.

How many sins must a person commit to be considered ”practicing” sin? One single murder or bank robbery in a life time would not be considered to sin habitually, but we know that one single sin made a huge difference for Adam and Eve. Perhaps being unfaithful every other year wouldn’t be considered practicing sin either? Where do we draw the line? The Bible says that nothing impure shall enter the new Jerusalem:

Rev. 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

True repentance (along with our faith) is the only thing that can save us.

The Greek word used for ”to commit” is in itself proof that ”commit” does not mean ”practice”.  In the Greek NT there are two words that are commonly used to express the idea of doing something. The first is ”poieo”, the second is ”prasso”, according to Blueletter Bible.

4160 poieo, appear. to make or do (in a very wide application)

4238 prasso, to ”practice”, i.e. perform repeatedly or habitually (thus differing from poieo which refers to a single act); to execute, accomplish, fare, commit, deeds, do, keep, require, use arts.

When the Apostle John wrote ”Whosoever is born of God doth not COMMIT sin” he used the word ”poieo” (to make or do sin with the idea of a single act), and if he wanted to communicate the concept of ”practicing” sin he could have used ”prasso”.

John Wesley says:

”But some men will say, ‘True: whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin habitually.’ Habitually! Whence is that? I read it not. It is not written in the Book. God plainly saith, ‘He doth not commit sin’; and thou addest, habitually! Who art thou that mendest the oracles of God?-that ‘addest to the words of this book’? Beware I beseech thee, lest God ”add to thee all the plagues that are written therein’!” / John Wesley’s Fifty Three Sermons ”The Marks of the New Birth” April 3, 1741

1 John 3:9 mostly applies to Jesus because he is certainly ”born of God” and his seed remains in God (the Father), but in a way it also applies to us who are in the son. Jesus actually had the capacity to sin or else he would not be tempted in all things just like us, like the Bible says he was. He rather chose to live a sinless life for our sake. We too obviously have the capacity to sin, but if we are led by the holy Spirit, we do not sin. The term ”seed” above is generally understood to mean ”God’s word” and seed is often typical of the Word of God (for example, Luke 8:11; 1 Peter 1:23) but we know that believers are also referred to as ”seed” (Rom 9:8; Gal 3:16, 19, 29)

”Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed (the believer) remaineth in him (Jesus): and he (the believer) cannot sin, because he is born of God (which is to abide in Jesus).” 1 John 3:9

This is confirmed in 1 John 3:6

”Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” 1 John 3:6

It is not impossible for a believer to sin but rather, it is impossible for a believer to sin as long as he abides in Jesus (which is a condition to remain a believer). The chapter does not teach that it is impossible for a christian to sin but that it is possible that he, through God’s grace, avoids it. No believer has to sin (Titus 2:11-12, 1 Cor 10:13) and the Bible does not say that we are off the hook if we only transgress the law just once in a while instead of several times. Repentance is the only cure. If we mix sin and ”sorries” on a daily basis, we have not truly repented.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

1 Joh. 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.—10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

We are told to not hate anyone because hating is like being a murderer. If we are to believe that our souls are not in danger as long as we do not habitually sin, does this mean we can perhaps get away with hating one single brother? Of course not, because no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 Joh. 3.15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

We can also see that the condition for having confidence toward God is that our heart does not condemn us. If the case is that our conscience tells us that we have acted wickedly (our heart condemns us) then God is merciful and will forgive us IF we confess our sins and truly repent. If we harden our hearts and pursue in the sin we know is wrong, then our souls are in danger. If you have a chance, do read the article about our faith as ”filthy rags”.

1 Joh. 3:19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

Other mentions of ”committing”  sin outside of 1 John 3

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

2 Corinthians 12:21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

James 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

8 tankar om “Is there a difference between sinning and PRACTICING sin? 1 John 3:9

    • Tack Emmy, och det stämmer nog att det är jobbigt att bläddra så mycket. Har tyvärr inte hittat andra teman med skära bloggar som möjliggör bredare textmassa 🙂 GVD

      Gilla

  1. There is a difference in sinning and living in sin. Yes its true that we all sin. However one that lives in sin tries to justify the sin and amend Gods eternal law. For example a man of God may have lied. However he recognize his flaw, repents, and vows not to commit this sin again. Where as the liar (living in sin) the sin defines them as a person. They try to justify their sin with a comparison to a sin that
    they consider worse than the lie. For example they may say everybody lies, but a murderer should go to hell. Instead of taking accountability for their own sins they make light of it as if God doesn’t frown on it. The LGBT community as a whole also tries to justify their sin as not being sin by comparing it to other sins of the world. If a man is lays with another mans wife does God accept accept that sin? Absolutely not. However he does accept your repentance and will forgive. But how can you be forgiven if you don’t even acknowledge what you are doing as sin? A person who has laid with a man can be forgiven how ever God expects you to sin no more and if you do you should at least have a feel of conviction in your heart as to I am betraying the father. The bible speaks of the world accepting sin and this has been the new normal for the world. God loves the sinner he hates the sin. He created you the world created the sin. You have to choose whom you will serve. Repent and do your best to sin no more otherwise you cannot worship the lord in truth. You worship the flesh and you love your own desires and a rebel against Gods law.

    Gilla

    • Hey there and thanks for your input

      << Yes its true that we all sin.

      Sinning is not the normal condition in a christian person's life. Sinning is abnormal for a christian.

      << However he recognize his flaw, repents, and vows not to commit this sin again.

      Yes, and he is able to be successful.

      << For example they may say everybody lies, but a murderer should go to hell.

      Could be, but there are also atheists/agnostics who avoid all sins because they feel it's morally wrong.

      << The LGBT community as a whole also tries to justify their sin as not being sin by comparing it to other sins of the world.

      Right, they also try to reinterpret the Bible in order to condone their sins.

      << You have to choose whom you will serve.

      Amen, sinning which leads to death, or righteousness which leads to life.

      God bless you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m saddened by the literalness of this interpretation. It makes a cursory mention of repentance but avoids what this really means. God who knows and searches the heart and has sealed the believer with the Spirit is not confounded by our sin nor condemning us of our sin but instead atones for our sins continually with the blood of Christ on the cross. Romans 7 makes a clear distinction between the flesh and the Spirit within us. So ”practicing sin” is not an instance by instance test but a condition of the heart that reflects no repentance. We are not asked to repeatedly repent but to repeatedly confess 1 Jn 1:9. You present the idea (maybe not intentionally) that any sin is too much sin; that is a yoke unbearable but with Christ’s constant intercession, advocacy and atonement one need only have a heart that has repented and been sealed by God… once! Until the flesh is no more sin will occur in the believer. Christ is not sufficient if keeping our salvation (which we could not accomplish) is dependent on our subsequent actions. There is no peace; only trouble and fear if keeping our salvation is dependent on us being perfectly obedient; Jn 14:27. The only true test is to believe and only God Himself knows if the heart has truly changed.

    Gilla

    • Hello Bruce

      Thanks for your post.

      << It makes a cursory mention of repentance but avoids what this really means.

      It means a change of heart. Leaving the old man behind.

      Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

      Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

      <<God who knows and searches the heart and has sealed the believer with the Spirit is not confounded by our sin nor condemning us of our sin but instead atones for our sins continually with the blood of Christ on the cross.

      That is not what the Bible says. The cross that we must carry is not light as a feather. Do you rather agree with Satan who claims "Surely you shalt not die"?

      <<Romans 7 makes a clear distinction between the flesh and the Spirit within us

      Paul, who wrote Rom. 7 also wrote Rom. 6 and 8 and he said "”IF YE LIVE AFTER THE FLESH YE SHALL DIE”. Paul himself called himself righteous, and unblameable and:.

      " I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day" (Acts 23:1).

      <<. So "practicing sin" is not an instance by instance test but a condition of the heart that reflects no repentance.

      Right, if you have a clean heart, you will show this by your actions.

      << We are not asked to repeatedly repent but to repeatedly confess 1 Jn 1:9.

      If we repeatedly repent, we have not truly repented. Repenting means to leave the old sinful life style and live a holy life. Read also 1 John 1:6:

      "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth"

      <<You present the idea (maybe not intentionally) that any sin is too much sin; that is a yoke unbearable but with Christ's constant intercession, advocacy and atonement one need only have a heart that has repented and been sealed by God… once!

      I'm afraid you're teaching the idea that we cannot obey Jesus, and that we are in big trouble if we teach that we can. The Bible on the other hand say that sinning continues to separate us from God. We are told that we can be faithful to Jesus, but you say this is wrong?

      Joh 14:If ye love me, keep my commandments.

      <<Until the flesh is no more sin will occur in the believer.

      OK, so sinning Christians is the normal? If Christians refrain from sins, that is abnormal?

      <<Christ is not sufficient if keeping our salvation (which we could not accomplish) is dependent on our subsequent actions.

      Christ did not die so that we could sin in peace. We are justified by works, and not faith alone (Ja. 2:24).

      <<There is no peace; only trouble and fear if keeping our salvation is dependent on us being perfectly obedient; Jn 14:27. The only true test is to believe and only God Himself knows if the heart has truly changed.

      "Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling", is a verse in the Bible. And:

      Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall EXCEED the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

      1Jn 3:7 Little children, LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU: he that DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS IS RIGHTEOUS, even as he is righteous.

      Gilla

  3. So you have no sin in your life? You are sinless eh? I highly doubt that, clearly it says if anyone sins they are not born of God. So if you’ve sinned after believing in Jesus you must not be saved. You are taking holiness works salvation to an impossible level. Yes we are not to live in sin, but John also said if we do sin we have an advocate with Jesus Christ the righteous.

    Gilla

    • Yes, the blood of Jesus has cleansed me so that I have no sin in my life. 🙂 A person is not saved if there is sin involved. Think about the prodigal son. He was alive while living with his father but decided to live in sin. He was lost and dead while doing so. (You can’t have both life and sin.) Then he truly repented and left his sins behind him while returning to his Father. He came back to life. This option is available to all of us.

      Yes, IF we sin we have an advocate, but that is only IF we do as the prodigal son and repent. If we mix sinning and repenting, we have not truly repented and we are lost. It’s not impossible to be faithful to our Lord, and it’s rather Satan who teaches ”Surely you shall not die”.

      Gilla

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