“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)
This verse has posed a seeming problem for people who are converted, or Born of God, because they have sinned after their conversion.
The question that comes to the mind is, “If I am truly Born of God; have received the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit; have received the knowledge of adoption (or son-placing) by the Holy Spirit, whereby I cry ‘Abba, Father’; know without a doubt that I am a Child of God and He is my Father – then, why do at times I sin?”
The answer lies in understanding your “position” in Christ as one Born of God. Your position in Christ is:
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
You have been made “free” from the law of sin and death. This means that sin is not your ruler, or master; you are no longer under the dominion (or power) of sin and spiritual death (Romans 6:4-14), for you have been raised from being dead in sins and trespasses to walk in newness of life (the Life of Christ; Who is Eternal Life Himself; 1 John 5:20). You now have the power not to sin (Romans 8:1-13).
The problem that John is identifying is not the Practice of Sin. But instead, why do you practice sin? The answer is Revelation without Regeneration.
The Apostle Paul explains this in Romans 7:15-24; and then gives the answer in 7:25 and 8:1-16: when a person is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, he is then made “free” from the law of sin and death, and he no longer has to sin. He now has the “power” to not sin. In fact, John said, you now have no power to sin, you cannot sin (1 John 3:9c). The Greek construction here is, “ou (not) dunamai (power).” Why not? Because you are Born of God.
Therefore, if you do practice sin, you have not been Born of the Holy Spirit, and you are still being ruled by the flesh (wherein dwells sin; Romans 7:15-24).
This series of devotions explains this seeming problem in detail.
The Child of God, as long as he is on this earth, is housed in a body that contains the spirit of man and the soul of man. Paul called the soul of man (or the seat of emotions, the center of lust, desire, etc.) where sin dwells. The spirit of man is where the Holy Spirit dwells in a man who has been Born of God.
Hebrews 4:12 reveals the dividing of the soul and the spirit in Regeneration.
Even though a man is regenerated, and the old man (or the old nature, the flesh) has been crucified (Romans 6:6-10); that old man is still in man and the old nature is still bent toward sin. The difference is that the old man has lost its power to rule and reign in the regenerated man; yet he can still sin.
It is my prayer that these devotions will help the saved man understand that he may yet sin and why.