Born of God

1John 5:18-21 We know that whosoever is born of God sin not; but he that is begotten of God keep himself, and that wicked one touches him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. 

‘We know that whosoever is born of God’ for those who accept Christ as their Saviour and live their lives according to His earthly example (1Pet. 2:21-23) as they grow in love, knowledge and judgement (Php. 1:9) and are filled by joy and the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52).

‘Born of God’ many Scriptures say that when one is born again and in Christ, he “receives power to become a son of God” (1:12); he has “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24); “his sins are blotted out” (Acts 3:19); “he is washed, sanctified, and justified” (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 1:5); “he has turned from darkness to light and from the power of satan to the power of God” (Acts 26:18); “he has salvation” (Rom. 1:16; 2 Thess. 2:13); “he is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24); “he is God’s elect” (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:2-4; Col. 3:12); and “he departs from all iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:4, 19-22).

‘Sins not’ does not practice sin (2:29; 3:5-10), live therein (Rom. 6) or give approval thereof (Rom. 1:32).

‘The wicked one touches him not’ the devil has no access to those who are born of God and keep (prevent) themselves from sin. Only by allowing sin can the devil bring destruction (3:8-10; John 8:44; 10:10). We are warned in Scripture to be sober and vigilant because the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, thus he needs access. Therefore we need to resist him and be steadfast in our faith (1Pet 5:8-9) and to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might by putting on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:10-18).

‘Wickedness’ the wicked one. The whole world is embraced in the arms of the devil and is more or less asleep in death in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-9).

‘Come’ has come in the flesh (4:2-3), and has brought redemption by His atoning work (1Pet. 2:24; Col. 1:20-22). ‘Understanding’ it comes before faith and redemption (Rom. 10:17; 1Cor. 1:30).

‘This is the true God, and eternal life’ eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ (John 17:2-3).

‘Little children’ a term used nine times in this epistle (2:1, 12, 13, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4, 21). It is used elsewhere only in John 13:33 and Galatians 4:19. There are four stages of Christian experience: infants; newborn (1Jn. 2:12); little children; those able to walk and talk (1Jn. 2:13); young men; those grown to the prime of life and no longer tossed about like children by fallacies (1Jn. 2:13-14); fathers; those who are matured in the Lord (1Jn. 2:13-14).

‘Keep yourselves from idols’ avoid idolatry, false gods, and have no idols in your hearts and lives. Love God first and last (Matt. 22:37). We read in 2Peter 2:19b what idolatry cost: “…for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” This is the cost of sin, bondage. Whatever you chose to serve, of that you shall be in bondage.

Born of God

1John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

‘Born of God’ when one is born of God he will have the following changes in his nature: A moral and spiritual change, not a physical one (John 3:1-8; Gal. 4:29) and a change of heart, will, motives, desires, life and conduct, and not an organism (2Cor. 5:17-18). There is a change of masters, not of constitutional makeup of body, soul, or spirit (Rom. 6:11-23; 8:1-4). Adoption takes place – one from the satanic family into the family of God (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). There is not a coming into existence of the body, soul, or spirit, as in the natural birth, but a consecration of them to serve God and holiness instead of satan and sin (Rom. 6:16-22; 8:1-13; Col. 3:5-10; Gal. 5:16-26).  Not a begetting by the Holy Spirit in the sense that Jesus became and is the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16), but a renewal in righteousness and true holiness of one who is already in existence (Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10; Ps. 51:10). A change of nature takes place, but not the coming into existence of that nature (Rom. 3:24-25; 2Cor. 5:17; Tit. 3:5) and a change of favour, a new standing before God (3:8-10; Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:1-9; Tit. 2:11-14; 2Pet. 3:18) as well as a change of character, state and service (Rom. 3:24-31; 5:1-11; 1Cor. 13:1-13; Gal. 5:22-23; 2Tim. 2:21; Tit. 2:11-14)

The very moment one is grown enough to recognize he is a sinner and when he repents and believes the gospel a moral and spiritual change takes place (1:9; Mark 1:15; 2Cor. 5:17-18; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9;). The very moment he decides to sin again he has a moral fall, incurs the penalty of the broken law again and comes under the sentence of death again (3:8-10; John 8:34; Rom. 6:11-23; 8:1-13; 2Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:4, 19-21; Heb. 6:4-9; 10:26-29; Jas. 1:13-15; 5:19-20; 2Pet. 2:19-22;; etc.). If a person sins, he must be forgiven and restored or pay the death penalty as in Galatians 6:7-8 and in the noted scriptures.

Many fallacies are regularly based on 1John 3:9: That a born-again person cannot sin or that his sins are not real ones. That God automatically forgives his sins without confession; That God does not see his sins; instead He sees the blood of Christ which he is trusting in. That sins are not imputed [credited] to him and that he does not practice sin, but commits occasional sin. That all his sins – past, present, and future – are already forgiven.

At best, these fallacies are vain attempts to explain this verse and all of them are unscriptural. The secret of a proper understanding of this verse is in the word ‘IN’ which means in harmony with or in union with and not physical entrance into. The seed is the Word of God by which a man is born again (1Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:18). The simple idea is that as long as one remains in union with or in harmony with the seed, or the Word of God, he cannot sin. One who is consecrated to obey the Word and refuses to sin, cannot break the commandments of God. Therefore, he cannot sin, for sin is the transgression of the law (1Jn. 3:4). The reason given here for not being able to sin is that “His” (God’s) seed (the Word of God) remains (abides) in him. That is, the one born again refuses to transgress the commandment of God and commit sin. As long as this consecration remains he will be unable to sin. If he grows cold in his love for God, ceasing to pray and maintain his spiritual life, he then may be overcome again and sin by transgressing the Word of God (1Jn. 2:1; 2Pet. 1:5-10).