“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.”
and he cannot sin,
This inability of the Christian sinning is from the source of his divine capacity, not his human capacity or “flesh.” God’s nature that resides in the believer cannot sin one iota. That is, our new nature cannot sin.
because he has been born of God
The child shares the nature of his parent. The child of God shares the nature of God. That nature cannot sin even a little. The idea of “not practicing sin” is completely alien to John’s thought in this verse.
2 Co 5: 17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things [not most things] have become new.”
John loves stark contrasts. All sin finds its origin in the Devil (1 Jn 3:8) and not from the new nature. The child of God cannot sin from his divine nature. His Parent is sinless so the divine nature is sinless. The old nature or capacity is nothing but satanic. It springs from his unregenerate nature, the sin capacity.
Ro 7: 17 “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin [the sin nature or capacity] that dwells in me.”
Spirituality is an absolute.
Spirituality is an absolute. The filling of the Holy Spirit or control of the Holy Spirit over our lives is an absolute. The carnal Christian walks in darkness but the spiritual Christian walks in the light [God’s absolute perfection (1:5-7)].
The flesh can do nothing but sin. It cannot profit the Christian in any way. The flesh is a dynamic entity. It will not lay dormant.
Ro 13: 14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
The new nature loves, forgives, is full of compassion and mercy and is kind. The old nature may be refined and cultured but nevertheless it is full of self. It cannot be converted, cured or saved. All of us have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in us.
If we can label the differences between the sin capacity and the divine capacity, we are on our way to conquest in the Christian life. Our desire to stick up for ourselves or to have our own way is the operation of the flesh. It is not easy to lead these things to the cross because we want to be the center of things.
A spiritual Christian labels these things as sin. He keeps his spiritual sensibilities tender toward the Lord. He can detect right and wrong, black and white. When we step out of fellowship with the Lord and allow our sin capacity to dominate us, our spiritual sensibilities become calloused.
Both a pig and a sheep can fall into a mud hole. The pig remains perfectly content in the mud because it is his nature to roll in the mud. The sheep is not content to roll in the mud because it is contrary to her nature. She wants out as quickly as possible because living in mud is contrary to her nature. If a believer truly possesses a divine nature, she will be uncomfortable in sin because it is contrary to her nature.
Sin can enslave a genuine Christian but he will never be comfortable under the domination of sin. In principle, Jesus defeated the reign of sin. That is the believer’s privilege and power. He has a new ruling principle that motivates and inspires him. The needle in the compass may turn from its magnetic pole for a moment but it always comes back to the pole.
Ge 39: 9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?””
No Christian is sinlessly perfect. He does have a perfect nature given to him at his spiritual birth but he cannot sin with that nature. While he abides in Christ through his divine nature he cannot sin. The moment he sins, it is from his old nature.
A fish has the nature of a fish and a bird the nature of a bird. The fish does not fly in the air and the bird does not swim in the water. The problem with the believer is that he has two natures, a fish/bird nature. All the time he sins he lives according to his fallen nature, he is out of fellowship with the Lord.
Whenever he allows the Holy Spirit to control his life, his divine nature is in the ascendancy. He cannot commit sin while controlled by the Spirit. Each Christian possesses a nature that can sin and a nature that cannot sin. It all revolves around his choice. In principle, the believer cannot sin with his divine nature. In practice, he can sin with his sin capacity. There is no such thing as “partial” spirituality. Either we are spiritual or we are not. Spirituality is an either/or issue.