Is It Possible to Not Sin?

Posted in: Grace, 0662
By Dr. Larry Ollison

When someone hears the statement, “our spirit man cannot sin,” sometimes confusion comes in and causes some people to stay on the milk of the Word their entire lives (Hebrews 5:13). They see a statement like this, but they don’t believe it because they don’t understand the principles of the Word of God.

Someone who doesn’t know the Word of God will see 1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin” (referring to man’s born-again spirit), and 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (referring to the soul and flesh) as a paradox. They think they have found an instance where the Bible is wrong. They think, “One place it says a Christian cannot sin and another place says they can. Which is true? One has to be wrong. If one of these scriptures is wrong, then there is a false statement in the Bible and there is a possibility that John 3:16 is wrong.”

This is how atheists attempt to tear the Bible apart. They don’t understand God’s basic principles and how they work. They don’t understand that we are a three-part being.

Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” You have the ability to not sin.

On the surface, these two scriptures (1 John 1:8 and 1 John 3:9) might seem conflicting. How can these two scriptures both be true? First John 1:8 says if a man says he has no sin, the truth is not in him. But the other scripture, 1 John 3:9, says whoever is born of God does not sin.

First John 3:9 is talking about the spirit of a born-again Christian. Man is a triune being. Man is a spirit, he lives in a body, and he has a soul comprised of his will, his mind and his emotions. The born-again spirit cannot sin. However, the body and soul can.

Until we renew our minds and emotions and exercise our wills, and until we perfect the practice of making right choices all the time, we do occasionally sin. This confirms what 1 John 1:8 says —if a man says he does not sin, he is a liar. Thank God that we have an Advocate who is with the Father. Thank God for 1 John 1:9 that says if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our transgressions and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (in this case, unrighteous acts).

There is no conflict in those two scriptures.

Devotion 0662