1 John 1-5 (The Daily Walk Bible).

John ends his letter by reminding us to keep away from anything that might take God’s place in our hearts. One thing that can enslave us and takes God’s place in our hearts is sin, and John has a lot to say about it! Do you find some of what he says confusing? Maybe this discussion from Hard Sayings of the Bible will help!

“Is 1 John saying that a true Christian will never sin? No, for he has already admitted that true Christians do sin and will be liars if they deny this truth (1 Jn 1:7–9). What he is saying is that a true Christian has within him or her by virtue of their new birth a power not to sin. God within them is causing righteous living. He is not causing sin. In fact, the secret to not sinning is intimate fellowship with Christ, or “remaining in Christ,” as John puts it. If a person does not experience this new life in them, if they can be indifferent to sin, then they are likely not born of God, as Paul also says (1 Cor 6:9–10; Gal 5:19–21). On the other hand, even if a person is struggling with temptation and at times falling prey to it—indeed because they are struggling and cannot be content with simply sinning—they can have the assurance that because they know the power of God within them impelling them away from sin and toward the love of their fellow believers, they are in fact one of his children and his new life in them will win out in the end.

Here, then, is the tension. We have the picture of a life totally free from sin which will be ours in the future. We have the reality of that new life already being within us. And we have the realization that that new life is not yet totally victorious, so that we must admit our sins, confess them, and appropriate that new life again each day.”

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