Last week we looked at love as the greatest commandment. If you missed it, you can read about it here.
Finishing up this month’s study on love, I want to look at a set of verses that is very often misunderstood. I can remember being in high school and first really paying attention to these scriptures. And if we aren’t careful we can read things like this and allow the devil to get in and pervert the words we read.
Pretty soon we allow fear to step in because we aren’t watching what voices we are listening to.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.1 John 4:18 NKJV
God never uses His word to bring about fear to cause change. God is always working in love because He is love. So now without further ado, let’s look at today’s scripture verses.
9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,1 John 3:9-11 NKJV
These are some harsh statements! And any one of us today can sit here and think of the times we have sinned against God before and after becoming Christians and think then, “How can I be saved?”. How many times have we gotten angry with someone or something in our lives?
But I want to break down what these verses are really saying because – remember – perfect love drives out fear and perfect love is the Word – God himself. So if the Word of God drives out fear then it can’t be God pushing us into fear as we read these verses.
“He cannot sin”
9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.1 John 3:9 NKJV
It says here that “he – talking about you and I as Christians – cannot sin”. But there is a stipulation on this. It says, “Whoever has been BORN OF GOD.” This is talking about the Christian alive unto God in his spirit.
The next part of this verse, “for His seed remains in him” is literally talking about Jesus being alive in our hearts.
Remember we ARE a spirit. HAVE a soul (mind, will and emotions), and LIVE in a body.
But the only part of this equation that is alive unto God is the spirit when we first get born again. It’s up to us to renew the mind. How do we do that?
- Romans 12:2 – Renew the mind
- Joshua 1:8-9 – Talk the word consistently
- Philippians 4:8 – Think on pure things
This is how we keep ourselves from sinning, but then what is 1 John talking about when it says he cannot sin.
The true you, your spirit, is not able to sin. Oh, your mind and body can want to sin, get mad at someone, spirit hurtful words, or do any number of things that go against God’s Word.
But pretty soon when you’re a Christian you’ll feel the dull ache in the pit of your stomach telling you to repent. Your spirit can’t take it. It doesn’t want to participate in the actions you’ve been doing.
“Doesn’t love his brother”
This is the same case with one who doesn’t love his brother. It is impossible to be a christian and not love people. Because God is love and you are now alive to God’s nature. So if God so loved the world, then you’ll so love the world to give as well.
The key is that our spirits are in subjection to our soul just as our body is in subjection to our soul. They both have voices. It is up to us to force feed our mind the word of God to keep our spirit on the winning side of that mental battle.
Our soul gets to choose which way we are traveling. Do we listen to our spirit who is alive unto God, loves people, and wants to walk uprightly before the Lord, or do we listen to our flesh?