Tag Archives: new birth

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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New Birth (Christ in you) – Audio

images-1My audio message on “New Birth” or “Christ in you”

For the conference version of the same message click Christ In You (Conference)

 Notes : NEW BIRTH  Paul Noble © 10th April 2012

WHY THE NEED TO BE BORN AGAIN?

The result of the fall – A sinful nature.

Adam – in the day you eat of it you will die. Natural Birth certificate.

1 Thes 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.”

Ephesians 2: 1-5

” And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2Wherein 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:”

 3″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.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

 Nicodemus

 John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

We are totally corrupt: There is none righteous!

Sinful man is totally corrupt! 1 Cor 15 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

 HOW ARE WE BORN AGAIN?

By the Holy Spirit: a work of grace

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;”

By the SEED or SPERM of the word.

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 seed is like Christ its incorruptible. We would be surprised and a little suspicious if when our children are born they were not like us!

So what is New Birth?

 It’s not a repair job

 Its not about turning over a new leaf making a resolution. Jesus died and rose again not to just forgive your sins but to deal with the whole problem of SIN. That’s why he was crucified!

 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore  if any man [be] in  Christ , [he is] a new creature : old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become  new

 EXAMPLE A house falling apart infested with rats and wood-worm. Only two options repair or rebuild from scratch

You get to be crucified and die – the bad News!

Jesus not only dealt with sins he had to deal with SIN.

Romans 6:6 ” Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Gal 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

You get to LIVE – a brand new spirit (good news!)

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.”

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

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.”

 You spirit is one with Jesus!

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

 You are a partaker of the divine nature

 2 Peter 1:4 “Whereby 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.”

 This new man is righteous and holy!

 Ephesians 24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”.

 The law is now written on your heart

 He’s programmed you to live right!

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: Also Hebrews 10:16

I (the spirit man) 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.”

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

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

 This problem is described for us in Romans 7. Its all a matter of identity. Who are you?

ROMANS 7 :15 “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

16 “If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.”

17 “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”

19 “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”

 20 ” Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

21 ” I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.”

 22 “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. “

23 “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

24 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

“So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

EVEN EAGLES LEARN TO FLY!

ROMANS 8 – even an Eagle has to learn to fly.

EXAMPLE : Can a Ostrich fly? It doesn’t matter how high he jumps that will never be called flying! An Eagle however is made to fly. Because of new birth your spirit man is righteous – you are made to fly. Does this mean you never crash? No even eagles have to learn to fly!

 YOU ARE righteous and holy – so ACT LIKE IT!

EXAMPLE Imagine if you were a pickpocket living on the streets in poverty living in poverty and the king of kings rescued you and made you his son. Wouldn’t it be crazy if you insisted on pick pocketing and living in rags on the streets? That’s how some Christians are living!

2 Peter 3:11 “[Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,”

 2 Cor 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”

OBEY – the Holy Spirit

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

 SOW – To The Spirit

 Gal 6: 8 “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

 KILL –  The deeds of the body

 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 ..”

 PUT OFF – The old man.

 Col 3:8 “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”

 PUT ON – The new man

  23 “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;”

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

 25 “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

 29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

 30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

 31 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”

 32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

 Col 3:12 “Put on therefore , as  the elect  of God, holy  and  beloved , bowels of mercies , kindness , humbleness of mind , meekness , long-suffering 

 Don’t lay the table for the flesh!

 Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].”

SURRENDER –  To God

Romans 6:13 “Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.”

Romans 12 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.”

 Conclusion – The true message of grace

 Titus 2 “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

 Even if you remain a carnal Christian you will be saved:

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.”

 If you haven’t – get baptized

Gal 3:27 “For  as many of you as have been baptized into Christ  have put on Christ”

 2 Cor 4:10 10 “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”

Further related Audio and articles

Christ In You The Hope Of Glory   (Audio)
You must be born again.

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You Must be Born Again

you must be born againIn the dead of night 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 mysterious teaching never heard of before. 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, 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 are on the outside. Nicodemus , you need not only to be physically be born (born of water) but be spiritually born (born of wind or spirit).

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 for all this knowledge and works, it 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 does it mean to mean to be spiritually dead? How did we get there, how did this happen? Firstly, we must understand that God did not create 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 and the trinity):  spirit, soul and body.

1Thess 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 the 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.

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

What is the flesh?

Unfortunately, Adam didn’t stay a living soul, because sin and death entered the world through his act of disobedience. The moment therefore he disobeyed the commandment, spiritual death occurred. Immediately, he was 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 5 senses, his thoughts and his feelings. Eventually, he physically died and every human being born afterwards took on his fallen and sinful nature described in Ephesians 2:1.

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
2 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:
3 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?

Now we understand  why we need to be born again, the next important question is: How  that can happen?

Firstly, like in the natural, we have nothing to do with the process. We are not the initiators as 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 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 “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.”

Further Reading:

Why you need to repent
The enterprise six month review
What is the kingdom of God

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Free Bible Teachings

Have a listen to some free Bible teachings I preached on a variety of subjects:

free-audio-messages

Enjoy and tell me what you think

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