Today, we are going to look at six verses. That is a significant block of Scripture. It all ties together, and it’s exceptionally difficult and pointed. I believe it will speak to us in a very direct way.
I John 3:4-10
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 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. 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. 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.
Truth is contained in the Bible, truth that can change lives. But this truth must be acted upon. May I encourage you to ask God to give you the ability to act upon this truth.
We will answer this question this morning: Why did God come as a baby, die as a man, and resurrect Himself from the dead? We will endeavor to answer this as we work our way through verses four through ten. So let’s look back at verse four.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: sin is the transgression of the law.
What is sin? The transgression of the law. This is not limited to the Mosaic Law. Don’t think of this in terms of the Mosaic Law because there was sin in the Garden of Eden, and the Mosaic Law had not been delivered yet. What was the sin in the Garden of Eden? God said, Eat of any tree you want, but not this one. It was really simple. This tree is off limits. Have as much as you want of any other tree. Enjoy it; take care of it, but don’t eat of this one. Why did God do that? He doesn’t tell us. He does not reveal to us what was so special about that tree other by calling it by a particular name. He doesn’t give us the reason behind it. Does He have to? No, He does not. He is able to communicate an expectation and then let it go at that, and it is our responsibility as mortal beings to obey Him. Just obey Him because He said it. You say, Pastor what about those people who do not have a law? God has a law and those who violate, ignore, or rebel against that law are living in a state of lawlessness.
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;
Right and wrong is embedded in their very conscience. So when they do what is right or they do what is wrong, they communicate that they know what is right because God put it there. Either your conscience is working to get you right with God or your conscience is being used to justify your sin. The Bible says the heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it? We can easily be led astray and justified in our own sin, but the law brings us back on course. The law gets us straight.
The Bible says we need to hide God’s Word in our heart. Why? So that we do not sin. Let me ask you a very pointed question. Do you find yourself more victorious over sin on the days in which you find time to open the Word of God? When you start the day off in the Word of God, do you find that you do not sin as quickly? Do you find that you are more victorious in your walk with Christ when you take the law of God, open it up, and say “Speak to me, O God. Give me a truth to apply to my life. I want to be victorious today.” The Bible is teaching us that this law helps us and encourages us.
Psalm 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
He came as a baby, was born of a Virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified by the Romans under the petition of the Jews, was buried, and 3 days later rose from the grave. He spent the next 40 days appearing unto a multitude of people with the express purpose of demonstrating that He rose from the grave. Why did He do all that? What was His express purpose? What was His intent behind doing that? The Bible tells us in 1 John 3:6 that the answer is: to take away sins. God desired an end to sin, so much so, that He sent His only begotten Son to the earth to make it possible to be victorious over sin.
1 John 3:6a Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not:
What does “sinneth not” mean?
What Christian does not sin? You might say, “I don’t understand this verse. How long can a Christian go without sinning? Certainly you are not suggesting that I have to receive a state of sinless perfection. That can’t be what that verse is communicating because I sin every day.” I do too. It’s a battle. So maybe this is talking to us about our attitude toward personal sin.
What should our attitude be about personal sin? Should we be defeated? Should we conclude that it’s just the way I am? Should we conclude that I am just addicted? I am just rude. I am just short-tempered. That is just the way I am. Should we just give up the victory over sin? Should I decide that it is just the way I am, and I’m never going to have victory, or are we able to be victorious? How should we see sin? We should see that our sin is a sin against God. Psalm 51 is the Psalm in which we have the tremendous privilege of eavesdropping on David’s time of confession with God. We go into David’s private prayer closet, and we listen to him journal before God. We get to see the fight within him. We get to go back in time 4,000 years, and we see how David responded to sin in his own life. See if you can relate to what David says:
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of they tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
When was the last time you can recall going before God and saying something like “Wash me from top to bottom, God.” When was the last time you can recall going before God and saying, “My sin is right there. God, I am convicted to the core of my being, and I need to be cleansed.” Such misperception of God’s plan of sanctification is that we confess sin one time at the beginning of our Christian walk and then we are good to go. That is it. We pray a prayer of confession for our sin; we receive Jesus into our life, and now we are good to go. I am here to tell you that the Christian battles sin all the days of his life. Confession needs to be a regular part of your spiritual disciplines. I am here to tell you that the idea that you and I can achieve some state that we no longer need to confess sin is not theoretical. Notice verse number four please:
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Do you see that your sin and my sin is first and foremost a sin against God? We are so quick to justify our sin. David did not attempt to justify his sin. He said God, I sinned against you, first and foremost. My rudeness, my inconsiderateness, my selfishness, and my self-righteous attitude, first and foremost God, are sins before You. My incessant profanity at work, my inability to get righteousness into my work life, my ability to have this “double life” in which I look this way on Sunday but Monday through Friday at Ft. Bragg I am a different person is a sin first and foremost before a Holy and Righteous God. The only way you and I are going to begin to get victory over sin is if we see that we have sinned first and foremost against God. And I am here to tell you that if you do not immerse yourself in a Bible believing church, you are never going to have the victory because the culture that we live in does not encourage you to see yourself as a sinner. The culture that we live in encourages you to see yourself as a morally decent person. And so there is not hope. Let’s continue in the text as we look at David as he calls out:
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
The inward part: You don’t ever see my inward part; I don’t ever see your inward part. Inside, I’m not talking about what you can see; I’m not talking about the white shirt; I’m talking about behind that. Your inside: God knows our hearts and David says, “I want truth in my inward parts.” You know we can play the part and fake it while we are at church, but God knows our heart. God knows our attitude. We cannot hide from Him. Look at verses number seven through nine.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou has broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out mine iniquities.
David is concerned about the sin that is in his life. He wants that sin eradicated. It bothers him that God is seeing sin in his life. He wants to be holy. He wants to be righteous. He is not content with having a habit that he cannot get victory over. He is not content with saying, “Well, I just have a foul mouth.”, or “Well, I’m just addicted”, or you fill in the blank. He is saying, I want the victory in these areas! Please continue with verse ten through eleven.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Are you able, as we look at this passage, to get a sense of what it must have been like when he penned these words? Do you get a sense of how broken he must have been? This is not something that you write out and have a nonchalant attitude about. When you are writing something like this, when you are saying “create in me a clean heart” you are down on your knees, and you are bawling. You want this sin removed from in front of you; you want the victory.
Please turn back to 1 John 3:6 as we continue in our text.
1 John 3:6a
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:
Other English Renderings
What did the Apostle John mean in vs. 6?
• Does not sin
• Sinneth not
• Keeps on sinning
• does not continue to sin
• does not sin
• not habitually sinning
When we are sinning, we are not abiding in Jesus! Let’s go back and let a dead man talk. Let’s listen to what Matthew Henry has to tell us.
Matthew Henry Commentary
“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:” v. 6. To sin here is the same as to commit sin (v. 8, 9), and to commit sin is to practice sin. He that abideth in Christ continues not in the practice of sin. As a vital union with the Lord Jesus broke the power of sin in the heart and nature, so continuance therein prevents the regency and prevalence thereof in the life and conduct.” And so Jesus Christ came to break the power and bond that sin has in your life. Why am I so passionate about this? I am so passionate about this because I am so tired of Gospel presentations revolving around eternal life, a box, and a Christmas gift. Jesus came and died the most miserable death on a bloody cross so that we can get victory over sin right now. This day. This minute. Right now. Not when I die and go to heaven. Right now. Christians are supposed to be living victorious lives over sin. When? Now. Present tense. Gospel presentations that make no mention of sin, talk all about what you get some day as if it’s a car salesman trying to convince you to buy an SUV.
1 John 3:6b
Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
If no check against habitual sin in your life exists, John’s pronouncement is absolutely clear: salvation never took place. (J.M. Study Bible) If you can sin and sin and sin, and there is nothing in you that says “Get it right. Get it right.” If you can go day after day and be rude; if you can go day after day and be selfish, or go or week after week without giving, or you can go week after week without serving; if there is nothing in your life saying “Get it right. Get it right,” then how do you know you are in Christ? If you can remain in that adulterous relationship and the Holy Spirit is not beating you up and saying “Get out of that sin.” If you can night after night creep into the family room while the entire house is asleep and turn on the computer ever so quietly. If you can do that night after night and the Holy Spirit is not beating you up over that, and you are not falling on your knees confessing that sin, John says, “Don’t kid yourself.” Your eternity might be in the balance. You say, Pastor, you have preached on this several times. Let me tell you why I have preached on this several times: Because the text has preached on it several times. Do you understand that we are not still in Chapter 1, we are in Chapter 3, and John has repeated himself. Why is he doing that? For emphasis. Because he knows God’s people do not get it right away. We need to hear it again and again. I need to hear it again and again.
“Sinneth.” Every Christian sins. Sinless perfection is a heretical doctrine invented by man. This must be the idea of “keeps on sinning.”
“God sent his Son to take away the sins of the world, NOT to allow “Christians” to remain in a state of lawlessness and then be granted eternal life, as though the continual presence of sin, without restraint, was of little or no concern to the Holiness of God. God delivers people OUT of sin.” Sean Harris
Look at verse number seven.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
Pastors, we are living in a day and time where people want assurance of their salvation as they stay in sin. They want to be assured that they are going to heaven. And let me tell you something in no uncertain terms, God does not permit assurance of salvation if someone is in sin. You will not have assurance of your salvation if you live in sin. Consider Psalm 51. What was David saying? “Take not the holy spirit from me.” Why? Because he was concerned that the sin with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder was enough to end his relationship with God. And so he had no assurance at that point because his sin was ever before him. When our sin is ever before us and we are not making progress in holy living, we will not have assurance of our salvation. Who then has the assurance of salvation? Those who practice righteousness. When we leave this corporate body and we are kind, considerate, compassionate, worshipful, obedient, giving people demonstrating the fruit of the spirit, we then will have assurance. But the person who has abandoned God and is not participating in worship living in sin will not have assurance. They may be saved. They very well may be saved, but they will not experience assurance. Look back at verse number seven and I want to compare it with 1 John 2:29.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (1 John 3:7)
If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (1 John 2:29)
So you see, it is not that Pastor Sean is repeating himself Sunday after Sunday. It’s that the Word of God is repeating itself. Verse number seven is very similar to verse number twenty-nine.
Look at 1 John 3:8a
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
Please notice this second part of this verse. I would encourage you to underline it.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Don’t miss that sentence. That is a powerful sentence. Someone asks you, “Why did the Son of God come?” You need a purpose statement. Your purpose statement is: to destroy the works of the devil. That means when the work of the devil is in my life, I need Him to destroy it. Lying, cheating, adultery, rudeness—these are all works of the devil. So then what should my thoughts and reasoning be? I should take a hold of that verse, and say ‘You came to destroy the works of the devil.” I should be willing to fall down in my private prayer closet and I should get down on my knees and say, “God Almighty, destroy the works of the devil in my life. I don’t want the devil working in my life, God. God, examine every aspect of my life, look at every area in my life and I want you to God, to pierce into the depths of my inward parts and I want you do destroy that work. I’m selfish. Destroy my selfishness. I’m rude. Destroy my rudeness.” And let me tell you something, I am preaching to myself first and foremost because I do not have anything wrapped up. I can get foul so quickly it is unbelievable. I had to tell my best friend yesterday that we should stop talking because I was foul, and I was just going to sin if I kept talking. That is just me. I know myself. I am a sinner. I am not going to try to present myself as some self-righteous person, because I’m not. I can get foul that quick. And foulness is a sin. It is not a work of God. It is a work of the devil. So what then should the preacher’s attitude be? The preacher’s attitude should be “God cleanse me in my inward parts. You know me God, come and destroy my foul spirit.” Let’s forget about heaven for a few minutes and let’s concentrate on living righteous lives on this earth. Right here and right now. Sometimes the Bible is encouraging us to look for His coming. But sometimes the Bible is encouraging us to get to work and get focused on working. We have this paradoxical presentation sometimes. Sometimes we are supposed to be focused on thinking about Heaven all the time. Other times, it is telling us to get focused and get working and doing labor. And do you know what, when you are doing labor, you need to do it right.
1 John 3:8a
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
This cannot be one sin; for all have sinned and Christians sin and receive forgiveness according to 1 John 1:9 and especially vs. 10. So this has to be talking about the habitual sin. It has to be talking about the inability to get victory.
1 John 1:10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Here’s John’s Point:
No Christian is without sin, but if a person’s life is characterized by an inability to be victorious over sin, their father is the devil. You say that is awfully harsh. These are not my words. I am not the one who inserted “devil” into the text. John did under the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit. We call it inspiration.
Look at 1 John 3:6 again
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Look back at 1 John 1:6
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not walk in the truth.
You say, Pastor, I have it right. I have been a Christian for 20 years. Don’t kid yourself. What is a major sin that we could battle with? Self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is a sin that Christ went after more than any other sin if you read your Gospels. Pharisee-tical vipers. You are not going to make any friends calling them vipers. Jesus went after self-righteousness with a passion and I need to constantly be keeping self-righteousness in check in my life.
Why did He Come?
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Vs. 6: to take away sins
Vs. 8: to destroy the works of the devil
Knowing Christ means becoming involved in an all-out war against the “works of the devil,” that is, the practice of sinning.
Is the American church still involved in a corporate battle against SIN? I don’t think so. I think we are assembling together on Sunday mornings to check the block most of the time. We feel good about ourselves. We tell ourselves that God loves us and we go out the door and keep on sinning. And the reason we can’t overturn Roe versus Wade is because the church is not in a corporate battle against sin. We are more concerned with the redistribution of wealth. Watch how the election goes on November 4th, and you’ll see what I mean.
Look at 1 John 3:9
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 “seed” represents that which cannot be seen, but is implanted by God into Christians, making them new creatures in Christ. As a Parent, have you ever told your child that they can’t do something that they were fully capable of doing, but you used the word “cannot” as a prohibition? Christians are prohibited from sinning! You say, but I do. Then confess it and get about not sinning again. We cannot give up the battle against sin, church. The very name “Jesus” reminds me why He came to this earth.
Why Did He Come?
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
When is He going to save them from their sins? Right now. Jesus came to save (deliver or rescue) me from sin RIGHT NOW—present tense verb. Today. This very moment. Whatever the sin is. What is the first step in being rescued from SIN? Repentance. That is the very first step. How do I get rid of sin in my life, Pastor? Repent. Whatever the sin is? Yes. How do I know how serious repentance should be? What ever the sin is repent. For the momentary moment of rudeness, stop and confess that sin and get on. Falling into adultery? You might need to get down on your knees and fall before God and really get right with Him. But it is going to start with repentance. What is repentance? It is the turning away from sin as we turn towards God. Whatever the sin is. How does this work? I find myself in sin, “God you know I sinned again. You know I lost it, please, I confess my sin before You, cleanse me from all unrighteousness” and then I believe the Gospel. What is the Gospel? It’s the good news that Christ came to take away sins. And so I believe that He gives me the power to be victorious. Stop smoking for two hours. Stop smoking for one day. Stop smoking for three days. I’ll change the subject. Stop over eating for one day. Stop over eating for two days. Whatever your sin is. What happens when I fail? Repent and believe the Gospel. Stop being rude. Stop being lazy. Stop being inconsiderate. It does not matter what it is, church. The solution is always the same: Repent and believe the Gospel. What does that mean? Turn from your sin and turn toward the One that can give you the power to have victory. I can’t do that for you, only Christ has the power to do that because He is the One that came to take away the sins of the world and to destroy the works of the devil.