Do Believers Sin Or Not?

Q. I have someone who struggles understanding scripture about being a born again Believer and still wrestling with sin! They have read 1 John 3:9-10 and according to the verses it sounds like a born again believer cannot sin and if someone does sin they are not born again! Can you clarify these scripture and the sin issues people wrestle with as believers!

A. Because the Bible is the word of God and His Spirit inspired all its writers, conflicts in doctrine between its writers cannot exist. 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” But earlier in the same letter John said, “If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Also, Paul confessed he was unable to stop sinning and still wrestled with sin (Romans 7:15-20). How could all these statements have come from the same Holy Spirit?

I believe Paul gave us the answer that makes the two positions compatible. He said from God’s perspective, when born again believers sin it’s not us (the new creation in Christ) that sins, but the sin nature that still dwells within us (Romans 7:20). So, even though from our earthly perspective we’re still struggling with sin, God only sees that part of us that’s born again, the part that cannot go on sinning. Both positions are accurate.

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