“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” I John 3:5-6. This is the uniform gospel standard, as we shall see.
1. Christ taught it. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin…If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Jn. 8:34-36. Here is promised a perfect freedom from the bondage of sin.
In the fifth chapter of John we read of a certain impotent man lying at the pool of Bethesda, whose infirmity was of thirty-eight years’ duration. Jesus came along and healed him. “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (Verse 14). Now, it is preposterous to suppose that Christ was unjust, giving a commandment that could not be obeyed–a commandment whose violation was to bring upon the poor man a sorer punishment than he had endured during those thirty-eight long years. It could be obeyed. This man received power from the Lord to go and live without sin.
Again, in John 8:3-11 we read of a certain woman who was brought to Christ accused of great sin. After a short conversation, during which time the scribes and Pharisees, becoming condemned by their consciences because of their own sins, went away, Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: GO AND SIN NO MORE.”
2. Peter taught it. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19. “…Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” I Pet. 2:21, 22.
3. Paul taught it. “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” I Cor. 15: 34. Almost the whole of the sixth chapter of Romans is devoted to the subject of the Christians’ deliverance from sin. I will notice just a few verses wherein it is stated.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein” (verses 1, 2)? “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (verses 11, 12). “…Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (verse 14). “…Ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (verses 17, 18). “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (verse 22).
Some people attempt to prove that Paul himself was a sinner and a defender of sin; but this chapter alone is sufficient to forever settle his attitude as a Christian toward the subject of sin.
4. John taught it. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin [to be cleansed from], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:7-9. Here a perfect cleansing from sin is taught, upon condition that we do not cover our sins up and deny them, but “walk in the light” and “confess our sins.” And the same writer also shows that we must live before Christ in this sinless state, for he says, “He that sayeth he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I John 2:6. How did Christ walk? Peter affirms he “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:22). Hence we must do no sin. This is the Christian standard.
So John writes again, “My little children, these things write I unto you, THAT YE SIN NOT.” I John 2:1. In the same verse he goes on to show that “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” This shows that, even if men should by some means depart from the Christian standard by falling into sin, it is possible for them to be recovered, because Christ would be willing to forgive again. This, however, does not in the least weaken the standard here set forth that “he that sayeth he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (verse 6). But the apostle goes a step further; he shows not only that Christians “ought” to walk this way, but that they really do. “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” I John 3:6. “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.” I John 5:18.
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 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.” I John 3:7, 9.
Reader, mark this fact–John does not say that God’s people confess their sins every day or repent of them frequently, but says that they “DO NOT COMMIT SIN.” Professed Christians have asked the question, “Who are those ‘just persons which need no repentance,’ of which Christ speaks” (Luke 15:7)? The answer is very clear: They are the Christians; those who have been born of God, for “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.”
F. G. Smith