Category Archives: New Birth

Born Again – Christ in You (chapter 3)

Chapter 3 – You must be born again!

you must be born againIn the dead of night around two thousand years ago, a healer and radical teacher, Jesus of Nazareth met a Jewish religious leader by the name of Nicodemus. What Jesus privately revealed to Nicodemus was a new and mysterious teaching. This teaching explained the necessity of what Jesus termed ‘new birth’. This meeting is recorded for us in John Chapter 3.

A shocking theology!

Basically, Jesus says to this religious and scholarly man that unless you start again from scratch, like being born as a baby, you can’t even see the kingdom of God because you are spiritually blind. Not only that, but without new birth you can’t enter it either – you remain on the outside. He told Nicodemus that you need not only to be physically born (born of water) but to be spiritually born (born of wind or spirit) as well.

These statements of Jesus must have been totally shocking to a religious man like Nicodemus who had spent his whole life in religious performance and self-righteousness. Yes, he was not a bad man – he went to church (synagogue) and in many ways was a pillar of society and respected by many.

However, Jesus showed in stark clarity that all this knowledge and good works counted for nothing in terms of a relationship with God. What he needed was to be born again. Of course, if this was true of Nicodemus, then it is true of every human being on the planet. You must be born again!

Why are we spiritually dead?

So then, why are we spiritually dead and what exactly does it mean to be spiritually dead? How did we get there, how did this happen? Firstly, we must understand that God did not create the first human beings like this. In fact, Adam was created a living soul. He was created perfect without sin.

Genesis 1:24 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”

Spirit, soul and body

Man, therefore, was created as a tri-part being (reflecting the image of God as trinity): spirit, soul and body.

1Thessalonians 5:23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The body:  is visible and gives us world-consciousness. It is our interface to the physical world. We perceive this world through our five senses.

The soul:  is invisible and gives us self-consciousness. It is made up of mind, will and emotions and includes our memories and personality.

The spirit: is invisible and gives us God-consciousness. It is our interface to the invisible spiritual dimension. We perceive this world through our spiritual senses.

Therefore, what makes us radically different from the animal creation is that, like God, the devil and the angels (who are spirits), we, too, have a spirit.

What is the flesh?

Unfortunately Adam didn’t remain a living soul because sin and death entered the world through his act of disobedience. The moment he disobeyed the commandment spiritual death occurred. Immediately he became self-conscious: he knew he was naked, and he was afraid.

The soul and body now ruled. In the Bible this is called the ‘flesh’. The spirit was now dead (called the ‘old man’) and Adam was now carnal and driven by his five senses, his thoughts and his feelings. Eventually he physically died and every human being born afterwards took on his fallen and sinful nature. This is described in Ephesians 2:1:

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

How do we get born again?

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 20.00.48Now that we understand why we need to be born again, the next important question is how do we get born again?

Firstly, as in the natural, we have nothing to do with the process. We are not the initiators. We can’t be because we are dead. For example, in the natural a baby is conceived by the coming together of two people in love and intimacy. The baby doesn’t decide it is going to be born. In fact, it has no choice in the matter. Similarly, the work of new birth or regeneration is the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

Therefore, we are born again not by our actions but by the action of the Holy Spirit and by the seed or sperm of the Word. This seed of the Word is incorruptible and eternal. It, or rather He, is Jesus.

1 Peter 1:23  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

This is spiritual reproduction. This is how God reproduces Christ in us. This is how we become born-again and a Christian (a little Christ or anointed one).  So, if you are born-again you have a brand new spirit that is alive to God. It’s just like Jesus. Christ is alive in you!

John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

Questions for discussion

1) What does it mean to be ‘spiritually dead’?

2) How would you define ‘spirit, soul and body’?

3) What does the Bible mean by the ‘flesh’?

4) How are we born again?

New Creation Church Gosport – Launches 5th April

Chapter 4 is coming on Monday but  why not sign up to receive email updates? 

Chapter 2

Chapter 1

Or … In the meantime why not read the whole book on Amazon Kindle?  

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon



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Christ in You – book chapter 1


Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 20.00.48God the Father is drawing people to Himself every day awakening in them a hunger to be restored to right relationship with Him. You, dear Reader, are clearly one of those dear people as you hold this book in your hand. You are looking for deeper revelation of God and you’ve come to the right place.

Guided by the Holy Spirit in compiling this excellent short book, Paul Noble unpacks scripture with clarity and ease that will lift the veil of mystery surrounding what it really means to have Christ on the inside of you. Prepare to be challenged and enlightened! He ably illustrates the impact new life in Christ has on our spirit, our mind, will and emotions and points to the freedom believers should and can experience in their everyday lives. This book will comfort, clarify and edify and will be a treasure to share with your fellow believers and loved ones.

In my work as a missionary based in Italy, I need clear, impactful materials for new believers and others seeking the freedom the true gospel offers. Soon ‘Christ in you’ will be available in Italian, too, and no doubt other languages will follow.

I congratulate Paul, the Lord’s ‘good and faithful servant’, on ‘Christ in you’ and pray more inspiration for additional titles to equip the Body of Christ.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  (Colossians 1:27 (KJV))

Sally Davis MBE

Missionary in Italy

Chapter 1
How did this book begin?

In August 2013 I reached the ripe old age of 50. Reaching this momentous point – please don’t laugh if you haven’t yet arrived – it caused me to reflect on over 43 years as a seasoned born-again Christian. I asked myself the question: how much progress have I actually made? Well, for the most part, like many believers I was doing OK, trundling along, doing church, reading my Bible, preaching, leading worship, praying, witnessing and even seeing the sick healed occasionally. So, using a modern-day analogy, my Christian life was a bit like the Star Trek Enterprise on its impulse engines – I was getting there slowly on 0.5 warp!

Of course, there have been times when my spiritual experience has definitely been on steroids and I have felt the turbo kicking in! When I was 25, for instance, and a member of the strict Christian sect the Exclusive Brethren, God arranged for my ordered and controlled world to be rudely overturned!

Firstly, I bumped into a fervent Pentecostal believer (I had never met these strange creatures before, in fact I had hardly met any Christian outside my narrow religious confines!)  Boldly, he told me to my face that I was a theoretical Christian and that I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit! He told me that I didn’t even have a warp drive and that I was using rocket fuel! What a cheek!

What he said, though, was like someone plunging a dagger into my heart and, after much soul-searching, I came to the realisation that he was right! So, ditching my pride, I simply knelt down one night and asked Jesus to fill me with His Holy Spirit. Immediately I started speaking in tongues in a language I didn’t understand – totally freaking me out and overturning my neat theology!

Of course, as I awoke to the truth I continued asking questions. This eventually led to both my wife and I being ejected from the Exclusive Brethren and joining a local lively charismatic church.

In this church, we soon experienced our first taste of prophets and the prophetic and in 1992 my wife Fran and I were given several prophecies by well-known prophets. Part of one of those prophecies spoken 25 years ago I reproduce here, as I believe this my first book is part of its fulfilment:

“Its just marvellous how he’s going to write, not only songs, but he’s going to write music that, even if it doesn’t sound musical, just the sweetness of heaven will come through. Stories, articles that are written against injustice. Father, he’s a good researcher. When he does his homework he does it very thoroughly. I see him astounding teachers when they tried on him. Good grief! He sounds like [hes at]college when he’s only at high school. So, Father, I thank you there is going to be something that he’s going to be released [into] with his ready writing pen or word-processor, that’s going to burst chains asunder, where people have been illegally treated by legal systems, where oppression has continued in a spirit of hypocrisy. He’s going to be a clear voice that cuts through the crap of this world: the light of Jesus.

Several years later, as I approached my fifties, I again began to hunger spiritually and as an elder of a Pentecostal church I increasingly began to preach grace and what some today disparagingly label ‘hyper-grace’. Eventually this message resulted in my being asked to step down from eldership. That was a painful time but looking back I can see how God used it to totally revolutionise and reformulate my thinking. The fruit of that process is this book “Christ in You” which I pray will bless and equip you to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 13:43 “Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”

Anyway, to answer my original question! On my 50th birthday I started writing articles for my blog and a year later this book is the fruit of my labour!

Chapter 2 is coming next week – why not sign up to receive email updates? 

Or … In the meantime why not read the whole book on Amazon Kindle?  

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

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A short story!

Short story – based on Luke 19

short story

Illustration -Carol Winkler (c) 2015

What possessed a wealthy, chief tax-gather like myself to scramble up a sycamore tree, tearing my expensive clothes and looking like a complete idiot into the bargain? I mean, what lunacy had driven me to perch precariously on this overhanging branch, straining just to get a glimpse of this travelling so-called miracle worker from Galilee called Jesus of Nazareth.

Well, for one thing, I was a little curious about all the fuss and attention and unbelievable stories of miraculous cures. In addition, friends had recently told me that Matthew – a colleague and friend of mine in the Jerusalem tax office -had quit his job just to follow this man full-time! Then, just this afternoon, a blind beggar had been completely healed!

This tree, then, was a great spot to see this healer from afar and keep a ‘low profile’ at the same time. Indeed, it was probably the safest place for a man of my short height. For one thing, people hated me. In their eyes I was a traitor and a thief and I suppose they were right. Of course, there was also the very real danger of being trampled to death by the milling and jostling crowds! No, this was the safest place; I had a front seat view!

As I thought about it, though, I wasn’t sure I would want to meet him face-to-face anyway. I’d heard that he wasn’t only a healer but a prophet who reads minds. And, to be honest, I didn’t want my mind read. I wasn’t very proud of the way I intimidated people. In Jericho everyone feared a knock on the door from Zacchaeus the tax collector! That was perhaps my way of compensating for my lack of height but then again, that hardly justified stealing!

At that moment Jesus and his entourage drew close to where I was and I could see him plainly. He wasn’t how I had imagined. He looked pretty ordinary and a bit tired. He stopped right under my tree and looked up to where I was hiding. I kept still, hoping that he wouldn’t see me. His eyes locked on to mine and he said: “Zacchaeus, come down from that tree. Id like to come to supper at your house today.

For a moment, I froze. How did he know my name? Why did he want to come to my house? As I looked at the crowd I could see a few people I knew. They certainly didn’t look very happy at my ‘good fortune’ – that’s probably because they knew who I was and how much I had cheated them in their last tax return!

After a few short moments, though, I scrambled down the tree – fortunately without breaking my neck – and stood right in front of him. I looked up at him. He was tall with a commanding presence and piercing dark eyes. I felt a little intimidated – it’s as if I knew that he knew everything I’d ever done, everyone I had cheated. He didn’t look angry though and I didn’t feel any condemnation. No, strangely, I only felt acceptance and love.

short storyAt that moment, I heard the murmuring of a few more disapproving voices around me saying: “Hes going to have supper with this sinner!” Quickly, I came to me senses. I knew what I must do. I said: “Lord, I give half my goods to the poor and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation I will restore him four times over!” Around me there were a few shocked intakes of breath but a grin crossed the face of Jesus. He said: “This day salvation has come to this house. This man is a son of Abraham.

What a supper we had that day! I wish it could have gone on forever. Half of Jericho was there, along with a few making sure I kept my promises, of course! I was happy though. A burden of guilt had lifted off my life. I felt free. Like the former blind beggar who was now sitting at the top table next to Jesus, I had been blind but now I could see!

Extract by Paul Noble (c) 2015 from Kindle book Christ the End of Law

Further reading:

Above the Law

The woman with the flux of blood

God is not counting sins!



Awake to righteousness

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon


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FREE ebook Christ in You – updates

Free ebook: Christ in you the hope of glory – updates!

What’s in Version 1.6?

Includes discussion points at the end of  each chapter and a brand new chapter on New Birth to better explain the thesis. If you want an, ePub file so you can view on your iPad or Apple device, please eMail me and I’ll send it to you. Kindle coming soon!

Click on the image below or the following link to download as a PDFchrist in you

Colossians 1:27 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

free ebook

Please feel free to comment and if you spot any errors please email me! If you enjoyed the book please consider making a donation as writing books is a labour of love and I have more books in the pipe-line!

The book is free but please respect the copyright and ask for permission if you wish to reproduce or use as part of a group.

Thanks Paul Noble

Audio Christ in you

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FREE Ebook! Christ in You

My first Free ebook: Christ in you the hope of glory! 

I’ve updated the book to 1.5, added discussion points and two chapters on new birth to better explain the thesis. 23/12/2014

Click on the image below or the following link to download as a PDF. christ in you

Colossians 1:27 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

free ebook

If you enjoyed this short book please comment and if you spot any errors please email me the corrections! Please also consider making a donation as writing books is a labour of love and I have more books in the pipe-line!

Thanks Paul Noble

Audio Christ in you

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Christ in you (Part 1)

Colossians 1:27 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

christ in youGod lived in a box

Where does God live, where does he reside?

Acts 7:48  clearly says: “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

However, under the Old Covenant God graciously dwelt or tabernacled with man. In fact, for a while he came to live in a box (the ark), hidden in a tent (the tabernacle), in the desert. Unfortunately, to go in and meet God, you had to be an Israelite, a Levite and also the high-priest that year. The chances of meeting God and even surviving therefore were pretty slim! Moses, who saw the back-side of God was a very privileged individual!

Under the Old Covenant therefore, God’s presence was external. It was as Graham Cooke calls it: a ‘visitation mentality’. In other words, God came and he went. King David could say in Psalm 51:11:

“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”  

Therefore, the Holy Spirit came upon people, indeed he filled them but he didn’t indwell them. In other words, he didn’t reside there, he just came to stay for a bit and one day he was gone. His presence was always temporary. By the way, the prayer above is not appropriate for believes today because his presence in the believer is permanent – but we will get to that later!

God lived in Jesus

God’s ultimate plan and desire though, was always ‘habitation’. In other words, he desired to live with man permanently. The title of the Messiah, Emanuel, or God with us expresses this perfectly. Through the event of incarnation, 2000 years ago, God came to dwell amongst us in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Access was limited

The problem was, that even though God was manifest in the flesh, access was still limited: you actually had to be living in Israel, the crowds were big and technically salvation was available only to the Jewish people – Gentiles were excluded. So, even though Jesus was the temple of God, the access was not universal and was limited to the brief time that he was actually alive and walking the earth – a mere 33 years before being brutally murdered!

The Holy Spirit’s coming!

Jesus himself though, hinted  privately to his disciples shortly before his crucifixion, that a mystery was going to be unveiled. He revealed, that he was leaving and his replacement was soon coming – the Holy Spirit. This meant that the presence of God was coming and it would be personal and permanent to his followers. Not just a visitation but a habitation.  Indeed, they would literally carry the presence of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit everywhere they went and worship would no longer be in a physical temple but by the spirit.

John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode with him”

The disciples get born again

However, it awaited the resurrection though, before the disciples could be born again and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. This event is recorded in John 20:22,  when the living Christ Jesus breathed into them his own spirit (the spirit of christ), mirroring Genesis 2:7 when God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul.

John 20:22 “and when he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them Receive the Holy Spirit”

Why Jesus had to leave

In order for the Holy Spirit to be sent from heaven however, Jesus had to ascend back into heaven to his Father – that is why Jesus tells Mary not to touch him in John 20:17 because he no longer wanted her to relate to him in the flesh but by the spirit.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

Jesus had to leave in order for the Holy Spirit to come.

John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”


On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came, he came to indwell the church, the body of Christ and tongues of fire settled on each of the 120 believers gathered there in that upper room.

Many years before, when King Solomon dedicated the temple (2 Chron 5:13), 120 priests sounded trumpets and the priests were unable to stand to minister because of the glory cloud of the Lord.

At Pentecost however, believers individually and collectively became the temple of the Holy Spirit – and that permanently.

1 Cor 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

So, each believer, a member of the body of christ, is a little christ, an anointed one or Christian  – a nightmare for the devil because everywhere we go, the presence of God goes – a moving temple!

Ephesians 2:21 “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

The revelation of the Apostle Paul

The full extent of the revelation of this magnificent truth though, awaited the conversion of the devil’s righthand man – the Apostle Paul. Paul, unlike the other Apostles, had never met Jesus in the flesh (as far as we know), only meeting him dramatically in a ‘heavenly vision’ at midday on the Damascus road.

What the Holy Spirit revealed to Paul, was that even though you might have known Jesus in the flesh and even touched and talked with him, now by the spirit every believer had far greater access to God the Father by the Holy Spirit.

2 Cor 5:16 “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

Really close to God!

In fact, now you as a believer, are so close to Jesus that there is not a hairs breath between you and God!  

1 Cor 6:17: “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit!”

Christ’s Spirit is in you

Not only that, the truth is, that a christian is no longer in the flesh with a dead human spirit your born again spirit is the spirit of Christ.

Romans 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. “

Christ now dwells in the heart through faith. We have the Spirit of Christ.

“….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:17)

Our spirit is alive and righteous

And, because it is Christ’s Spirit that lives in us, even though our bodies and souls are still affected and damaged by sin and death, our spirit is alive and is righteous and holy just like Jesus!

Romans 8:10 “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

Eph 4:28 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Hebrews 12:23 “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect”

A new nature

In fact, new birth means your nature has been completely changed. Before, it was natural to sin because you were of Adam’s fallen spirit – the old man. Now you have the new man Christ Jesus inside and you have a new nature, a divine nature just like Jesus. What is God’s nature? It is love.

2 Peter 1:4 “Wherebye are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Laws written on the heart

This new nature therefore wants to do what’s right. Through new birth, God has written or programmed his laws, (this is not the ten commandments but the commandments of God, his desires on our hearts.) This means, that new birth also affects the will, mind and emotions – the whole person.

Hebrews 8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people;” Hebrews 10:16

It affects everything

So then, this new creation miracle, is not restricted to just to the spirit. This new life, eternal life, resurrection power, works from the inside out, affecting and transforming both our emotions, mind, heart and even the physical body itself:

Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

The new nature does not sin

In addition, this born again christ like and righteousness nature cannot sin!

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.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t sin but Christ in us cannot sin! There has been an identity change and the I the real I is who your are in Christ:

Romans 7:7 “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

Therefore, you have a new identity. A new name. You are no longer called a sinner. No you are called a holy one or a saint.

A new identity

That is your new identity and like Paul you can identify yourself fully with Jesus in his crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. After all, that’s what baptism is all about!

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I (the old identity) . but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh (the physical existence)  I live by faith in the Son of God; who loved me, and gave himself for me”

Lastly, to finish, the real test of whether you are a christian and you are in the faith is that Christ is in you. If Christ is indeed in you, then outwardly you may not look like Jesus but your spirit is identical. You are like Christ!

2 Cor 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Next article: why do I still sin?

Further articles:

New birth (Audio)

You must be born again

The end of law

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Can a believer sin?

can a believer sinCan a believer sin?

If you have read John’s Epistle recently you may have come across these verses and been puzzled by them:

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.

1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

So, is John saying that if you are born again you cannot sin? Well apparently so. In fact, he also says that if you sin you are of the devil!

1 John 3:8 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.

A contradiction?

The immediate question in most people’s minds is: well I know I’m born again and I sinned a few times this week, so does this mean I’m no longer born again or have lost my salvation?  Even John, in the very same Epistle seems to contradict himself and admit the possibility of sin in a believer’s life as per the following verses:

1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, (aorist tense, one off) we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

So what does he mean? What is the answer to this apparent contradiction?

A believe does not practice sin

Firstly, a better translation of 1 John 3:9,  1 John 5:8 and 1 John 3:8 would be ‘practice sin’ as translated in the ASV. This is because the tense of the verb ‘sin’ is not ‘aorist’ ( ie sinning in a moment of time, even once – see 1 John 2:1), but  ‘present active’ or sinning continually.

Therefore, John is saying that a true believer may sin but doesn’t sin continually or practice sin. In fact, if he or she does sin continually, then probably they never knew Christ in the first place!

1 John 3:6 “No one who sins (present active)  has seen him or known him!”

Incidentally, this verse proves that if your practice sin you have never known the Lord so you can’t become unborn and then born again etc and lose your salvation!

A believer practices righteousness

However, I don’t believe the above explanation, although technically correct, is the complete answer because John not only talks about practicing sin, he talks about practicing righteousness. See the following scriptures:

1 John 2:29 “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of him”

1 John 3:7 “Little children, let no one deceive you, the one who practices righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous”

1 John 3:10 “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious, anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God”

Now this is problematic, because John uses the same present active tense to describe   righteousness! In other words, a believer practices righteousness –  he or she doesn’t just do occasional acts of righteousness, like an unbeliever might. No, they constantly and continually do righteousness.

Now, we can easily cope with the idea that we occasionally sin but can we honestly say that we practice righteousness day in day out? Well, John says if you don’t then you’re not born again! There must be a more complete answer – and there is!

In the flesh

I believe, that in context, the Apostle John is talking about who we are in the spirit because that is where new birth has taken place:

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Theologically, when we are unsaved we are described as being “ in the flesh” and cannot please God. Our spirit man is dead.

Romans 7:5 “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”

Romans 8:8 “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

What is “in the flesh?” It is the body and soul (mind, will and emotions) ruled in the natural man by a dead human spirit.

In the spirit

When we are born again however, our old man or spirit is put to death in Jesus and we come alive as Christ and the Holy Spirit come to live in us. This state is described as being “in the spirit.”

Romans 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

The old man is crucified.

Therefore, because Christ is in us, our spirit is alive and we (our spirit man) CANNOT sin. Our born again nature therefore, is just like Jesus and is only capable of righteousness continually. This is called the new man. Our old man or dead spirit is crucified with Christ.

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I (the old identity) . but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh (the physical existence)  I live by faith in the Son of God; who loved me, and gave himself for me”

Your spirit is united with christ

1 cor 6:17 “ But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit!”

We are righteous and holy as a gift

Ephesians 2:4 “And that ye put on the new man, which is after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”

Romans 5:17 “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)|”

Gods laws are written on our hearts

Through new birth, God has written or programmed his laws ( this is not the ten commandments but the commandments as John refers to them) on our hearts.

Hebrews 8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people;” Hebrews 10:16

You have a new nature

God has transformed you internally at the centre of your being. Before your nature was sin, now you are a partaker of the divine nature ( love).

2 Peter 1:4 “Wherebye are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Walking or living in the flesh

So you say, if I am born again why do I sin? The biblical terminology for this is “walking or living in the flesh”. ( Unbelievers can only walk in the flesh).  Believers however, though not in the flesh, still have the flesh ( soul and body) and have the possibility of walking either in the flesh or the spirit.

Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Romans 8:13 “for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

Most of us know however, because most of us have tried, that even though we desire to change because we are born again, it still takes us a while to learn that the law, even though holy – cannot help us. We cannot use rules and standards to bring the flesh into line. In fact. it just makes things worse because rather than walk in the spirit we focus on the sinful behaviour!

Galatians 3:3 “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

No, we need someone to help. Who shall deliver me from this body of death (Romans 7:24). Evil is still present in us, even though we are born again we still need a saviour because our flesh is corrupt and we are weak.

No longer I – Romans 7

Romans 7:21 “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:”

Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

Take note: Paul does not say there is no good in him at all because that is not true – he is born again and therefore righteous and holy in his spirit. No, its in his flesh (mind, will, emotions and body) that there isn’t any good thing!

Therefore, sin cannot cause you to lose your salvation but you may get to heaven quicker than you anticipated! For example, Paul doesn’t downgrade sin – he disciplines the church over allowing the gross sin in their midst but he doesn’t say that the individual believer has forfeited their salvation. No, he says if he doesn’t repent (and as we find out later he did) ,he will probably foolishly lose his life as the devil is allowed full reign in his life kill and destroy.

1 Cor 5:5 “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Therefore, Paul in Romans 7 identifies himself twice, not with his flesh and its behaviour but with his spirit man.

Romans 7:17 “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

Romans 7:20 “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

Therefore, Paul has come to the same conclusion as John, that if he sins this behaviour is not coming from who he is in christ but the sinful patterns and habits ingrained in his sinful flesh! We are not therefore schizophrenic: a bad person and a good person in one person with two separate identities. No the old criminal has been put to death in Christ and I am now a saint! That is my true identity.

This of course, doesn’t free us from the responsibility of the action of the flesh – we are to put to death the deeds of the body by the spirit. So, now you are a saint – act like it! You are now a son of the king. You are righteous. That is your identity. When you believe that truth then right behaviour will begin to flow out of this right believing.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Example – under new management

A couple of years ago Fran and I bought a failing ladies gym.  As the new owners we had a completely new vision and plan for the club. Of course, a few of the existing staff were not happy with our plans and standards because they preferred things the way they were. So, we had to try and help them change. Of course, some resisted but eventually most began to realise we were not going to change our plans and continue to run the club like the old owners. Likewise, some of the members didn’t like us turning the music up and actually coaching them but even though some left, most enjoyed the new regime!

Likewise,  if you are born again, this is similar to  what is now going on in your life.  You (your born again spirit man) is the new owner. Your mind, will and emotions prefers things the way they always were but the old owner is no longer in charge! Your business coach, the Holy Spirit  is there to advise and help you get these staff into line and  ‘turn this business around’!

Further  reading:

New birth, Christ in you – Paul Noble audio

You must be born again

What do you do when you sin?

Are all sins forgiven?

Graham Cooke – Our true identity

How to walk after the flesh – Paul Ellis

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