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 don’t 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, and 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, however, says that nothing impure shall enter the kingdom of God. 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”.

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

4238 prasso, to ”practice”, i.e. perform repeatedly or habitually (thus differing from poieo which properly refers to a single act); by implication to execute, accomplish, etc.; specially to collect (dues), fare (personally) :- 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

”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.” 1 John 3:9

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 wouldn’t be tempted in all things just like us, like the Bible says he was, but he 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 don’t 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’s 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), and the chapter is not teaching that it’s impossible for a christian to sin but that it is possible that he, through grace, doesn’t.  Through grace no believer has to sin (Titus 2:11-12, 1 Cor 10:13) and the Bible doesn’t say that we are off the hook if we only transgress the law just once instead of several times. Repentance is the only cure.

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, but if we are to believe that our souls are not in danger as long as we don’t habitually sin, can we get away with hating only one 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 doesn’t 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

4 thoughts on “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


  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.


    • 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


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