How we can have confidence in overcoming sin. (v18)
1Jn 5:18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
1Jn 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (ESV)
If you are truly a Christian and are trusting Jesus, and believing the gospel, then you will not “keep on sinning.” This is because Jesus “he who was born of God” protects you, to the extent where Satan “the evil one” does not touch you. A few thoughts:
- John is not saying that it is possible to become sinless in this life. If he were, then he would be denying what he wrote in 1 John 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” While we live in this world, we will never be without sin.
- John is saying that it is possible to see success in defeating areas of sin. In fact he is saying that it is normal for the Christian to see sin defeated.
- This verse is to be the basis of confidence, but never of apathy. The Bible reminds us that while the defeat of sin is the Spirit’s work in us, he works as we work. Sin is not defeated in our passivity, but as we act to put it to death. Paul writes in Romans 8:13Rom 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” It our duty and responsibility to be putting to death the deeds of the body. (For more information on how this happens see here.)
- The basis of our confidence is not rooted inside of ourselves, but outside of ourselves. In other words, my confidence that I will continue to overcome the power of sin does not come from my determination to do battle with it, or from techniques that I have acquired to apply against it. The basis or my confidence is Christ’s work for me. The one who was born of God protects me. I have confidence as I exercise my faith in Christ for him to do what his word says he will do.
- Believers gain the greatest confidence in their salvation as they observe the defeat of sin in their own lives. The death of areas of sin is one of the most powerful ways for a Christian to know that they are born of God. Gifting or anointing are frankly inconclusive as either may be counterfeit. Consistent and ongoing sanctification is conclusive evidence of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
- Believers must not love the world, but should have confidence and not fear the world. We must not love the world or anything in the world (1 John 2:15-16) We are no longer citizens of the world, because we are from God. This world is in the grip of the Devil, but as God’s children we are protected by him and the Devil cannot touch us (v18)