Can a True Christian Sin or Not? – Matt Slick

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Matt Slick from carm.org has an excellent overview on what the Bible says about how sin can infrequently be in a Christian’s life, but how a Christian does not habitually abide in sin. It is really important to understand the distinction between the two.


  • Yes, he can sin
    • 1 John 1:8-10
      • “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (NASB)
      • “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (NKJV)
  • No, he cannot sin
    • 1 John 3:9,
      • “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (NASB)
      •  “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (NKJV)
    • 1 John 5:18,
      • “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.” (NASB)
      • “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.” (NKJV)

Is John contradicting himself when he says in one verse that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8), and yet he also says the one who is a Christian cannot sin (1 John 3:95:18 NKJV)?  There is no contradiction, but to see why we will need to look at the original Greek language.

To view the rest of this excellent overview and see what the original Greek language says please click on the direct link below. And don’t forget to check out the associated links available at the bottom of this direct link.

https://carm.org/can-true-christian-sin

5 comments

  1. I’ve read this through, Bruce, but I’m going to look more closely at it when I have some free time later on, as it would be worth looking at the language aspects and following the links.
    I understand the distinction brought out in the verses from John.

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  2. Thanks, Bruce. Believers always have this tension/conflict since we live in a fallen world and still have a sin nature. Whenever I get discouraged, I remind myself (aka the Holy Spirit brings to mind) that ONLY Jesus lived a perfect life.

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  3. Ist John is a different sort of book. Its a hard one to read if you are sinning. Romans and 1st Corinthians has a more complex tone to this subject as did Jesus with the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery and his friend Mary who was previously a prostitute and Peter who was caught red handed denying Jesus and slap happy with a sword.

    With Romans and Hebrews saying the Law is null and void and a new covenant in place and Jesus saying pluck the log out of your eye before looking at specs in others eyes, its shows that there is something called Grace.

    Unmerited Favour suggests that Your actions cant save you but the Cross does. That is a pure act from God. This does not mean people will always be perfect or righteous. If the spirit is then in you you should turn from and stop sinning. If it was always that simple. As Paul points out its not. That said, this is no excuse for sin. Sin depending on how you look at it can be a contempt against God, but a breaking of Law that is no longer law messes with the whole thing. James says, if you know to do good and do it not to you it is sin.

    So every time you walk by a cigarette butt on the street and not pick it up it is sin. Oh boy.

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