1John 3:4-6 Continuing to Sin?

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  • 1John 3:4-6 Continuing to Sin?

    Continuing to Sin?

    1John 3:4-6 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

    John is clear here that sin is associated with a certain behavior - namely lawlessness. And as Jesus appeared to take away our sins, those who live in him purify themselves from sin. If a person does continue to sin, that indicates they had never come to know Christ. This is an indicator of whether one has been born of God.

    But realize also that the sense in which John is speaking is that of overall lifestyle or the general characteristic of the person. He's using the Greek Present Tense here, which as I mentioned previously he uses in this sense, as opposed to the aorist which would speak of individual events of sin. He's not speaking of what a person might do uncharacteristically from time to time. Nor is he speaking of sinless perfection here. Nonetheless, as we will see throughout this chapter, this characteristic is measurable. It is something which can be seen and determined to a relative degree, which is his point of mentioning this.

  • #2
    I believe that bible says that whosoever says that there is no sin in him is a liar, and that the truth is not in him. We have an advocate with God for forgiveness of our sins. What I think John 1 3:4-6 means is that a person must turn from a sinful lifestyle and follow that advocate. A person cannot continue to live in sin and also be a Christian. Its the act of turning from the pleasures of the world that shows that the believer is also a doer. I believe the bible requires this.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by AnnaBanana View Post
      I believe that bible says that whosoever says that there is no sin in him is a liar, and that the truth is not in him. We have an advocate with God for forgiveness of our sins. What I think John 1 3:4-6 means is that a person must turn from a sinful lifestyle and follow that advocate. A person cannot continue to live in sin and also be a Christian. Its the act of turning from the pleasures of the world that shows that the believer is also a doer. I believe the bible requires this.
      A couple of problems I see with that interpretation is first of all is that John uses the past tense saying, "No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him" So it's not possible to know Christ and then at some point in the future to live a lifestyle of sin. For if that were the case then there would be people who continue to sin but who had known him, which is contrary to the doctrine John is teaching here

      Secondly, and by "require" I take it that you mean require to be saved, you would be advocating the idea that one's salvation is contingent upon one's on going performance, which is inherently contrary to the gospel promise of salvation by faith apart from works.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by bcbsr View Post

        A couple of problems I see with that interpretation is first of all is that John uses the past tense saying, "No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him" So it's not possible to know Christ and then at some point in the future to live a lifestyle of sin. For if that were the case then there would be people who continue to sin but who had known him, which is contrary to the doctrine John is teaching here

        Secondly, and by "require" I take it that you mean require to be saved, you would be advocating the idea that one's salvation is contingent upon one's on going performance, which is inherently contrary to the gospel promise of salvation by faith apart from works.
        This is precisely what I am saying, a person cannot continue in a sinful lifestyle and be right with God, to put it plainly. And God absolutely 'requires' us to perform certain steps to become a christian, and therefore saved by the blood of the Lamb. The bible says that once a person returns to sin, its as if Christ is begin crucified again. Saying that a person who says there is no sin in him is a liar, is the truth. The bible says this. Christ's blood being able to wash us from this sin, and that sin to be remembered no more, is also true. These two statements do not contradict each other. The bible says who is a believer is a doer. This is also fact. (At least if you believe the bible.) Faith without works is dead. Paul says this, too. So our performance, or our actions as if we turn from sin, which is part of our performance, does determine where we spend the afterlife. I don't think the bible says at any place, that a person can behave as they wish after being baptized.
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        • #5
          Isn't have sinful thoughts or ideas in your heart or mind a sin as well? Or is it only sin in action? This verse speaks to action, but what of thoughts or aspirations?
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          • #6
            Originally posted by nytegeek View Post
            Isn't have sinful thoughts or ideas in your heart or mind a sin as well? Or is it only sin in action? This verse speaks to action, but what of thoughts or aspirations?
            Jesus said that anyone who hates his brother has already committed murder and anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery. Thoughts as well as acts can be sinful.
            Clyde Herrin's Blog
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            • #7
              Originally posted by bcbsr
              The person who said, "Faith without works is dead" was not an apostle and opposed Paul's gospel.
              theophilus RevT

              Would love to hear your takes on this, especially yours RevT in consideration of Luther's objections to James.

              God bless,
              William
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              • #8
                Originally posted by bcbsr
                The person who said, "Faith without works is dead" was not an apostle and opposed Paul's gospel.
                Are you saying that the book of James should not be part of the canon? Are you saying the church was wrong to accept the book of James as canonical? Are you saying the book of James was not written by James the brother of the Lord?
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                • #9
                  William informed me that the response I worked on for so long was deleted for some technical reason. Didn't save it and don't have time to repeat myself right now. But as for my view on James you can view the relevant article on my site, which includes Luther's take on it at Intro to James
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by theophilus View Post

                    Jesus said that anyone who hates his brother has already committed murder and anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery. Thoughts as well as acts can be sinful.
                    Thank you. This is what I was thinking I just couldn't quite place it well enough to paraphrase or cite a source.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bcbsr View Post
                      William informed me that the response I worked on for so long was deleted for some technical reason. Didn't save it and don't have time to repeat myself right now. But as for my view on James you can view the relevant article on my site, which includes Luther's take on it at Intro to James
                      Your whole argument falls apart because you do not address the fact that the "brother of Jesus", in Hebraic culture and language is often used to mean cousin (or even fellow believer), as there is no separate word in Aramaic for cousin. Therefore James the brother of Jesus and author of the book of James was an Apostle, James the Less. Also, Luther changed his view on James in his later edition of the commentary on James. However, even if the Apostolic origin is debated and debatable, it could still be inspired scripture just as the Gospel of Luke or Acts is, due to its Apostolic witness (or imprimatur) and agreement with Apostolic dogma. And your accusation of nepotism being the culprit is way out there. Talk about a logic leap.

                      Luther in the end treated the book of James in the same manner in which all of the antilegomena were and should be read- in the light of the homologoumena. IOW, James is read in the light and context of Romans, not vice-versa. But the antilegomena are still canonical. When approached this way there is no contradiction between the books, rather they are complementary and serve to teach the intimate relationship between faith and its fruit.

                      To rightly quote Luther: "Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it a thousand times. This confidence in God's grace and knowledge of it makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and all His creatures; and this is the work of the Holy Ghost in faith. Hence a man is ready and glad, without compulsion, to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, in love and praise to God, who has shown him this grace; and thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light fires. Beware, therefore, of your own false notions and of the idle talkers, who would be wise enough to make decisions about faith and good works, and yet are the greatest fools. Pray God to work faith in you; else you will remain forever without faith, whatever you think or do." (Preface to Romans)

                      What's even more interesting is that you consider Luther an astute scholar of scripture but the odds would suggest that you probably reject much of his teaching, in particular core doctrines he clearly taught. A very common occurrence these days.

                      What amazes me is that after nearly 2000 years of faithful reading and debate, there are still people that find reconciling two simple books of the Bible so difficult. It's a no-brainer for the Church to see these both as complementary scripture- so why is it so hard for the few on the fringe?
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                      • #12
                        RevT,

                        You're wrong and misinformed on many counts there. Luther did not change his opinion of James, but rather changed a few words in his introduction to James. As for Luke and Mark who were not apostles, if you read their accounts they were not writing doctrine but recording history. They did not even interpret Old Testament scripture, unlike Matthew and John. So your argument falls apart. Furthermore you fail to deal with actual content of the epistle of James in its contradiction of Paul as I pointed out, nor the fact that James tinkered with the gospel in Acts 15. Paul opposed James' doctrine not only in Galatians and Romans, but taught contrary to the regulations James imposed on the Gentiles. Thus the "Apostolic witness" is against James.

                        As for your speculation of James being James the less, it already dealt with that in the article I wrote.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bcbsr View Post
                          RevT,

                          You're wrong and misinformed on many counts there. Luther did not change his opinion of James, but rather changed a few words in his introduction to James.
                          No, he changed his mind. He also changed a few words in the introduction. The fact that he put James in his translation shows he regarded it as canonical. Any other argument that says otherwise is just silly. Stop trying to create your own Luther.

                          As for Luke and Mark who were not apostles, if you read their accounts they were not writing doctrine but recording history. They did not even interpret Old Testament scripture, unlike Matthew and John. So your argument falls apart.
                          How does that effect the fact that they wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? How does that somehow establish the idea that James isn't Spirit-breathed?

                          Seems like you are making a number of big logic leaps all too often.

                          Furthermore you fail to deal with actual content of the epistle of James in its contradiction of Paul as I pointed out, nor the fact that James tinkered with the gospel in Acts 15. Paul opposed James' doctrine not only in Galatians and Romans, but taught contrary to the regulations James imposed on the Gentiles. Thus the "Apostolic witness" is against James.
                          I didn't deal with it because no such problem exists. It's all in your head I think. James and Paul agree. James, Paul and the Jerusalem Council agree. What's the problem here? Your private, personal interpretation of scripture. It's clumsy and lazy.

                          As for your speculation of James being James the less, it already dealt with that in the article I wrote.
                          You dealt with it? How? Your article makes assumptions and doesn't back them up.

                          Next!

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                          • #14
                            I didn't log in to see a bunch finger pointing and posturing. Can't people conduct conversations in a polite matter anymore?
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nytegeek View Post
                              I didn't log in to see a bunch finger pointing and posturing. Can't people conduct conversations in a polite matter anymore?
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