“We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”
but he who has been born of God keeps himself,
We could translate this phrase like this: “The one [the believer] fathered by God, He [God] protects him [the believer].” This is why the “wicked one” does not touch him – he has a new capacity or nature protected by God. He has the presence of God’s eternal life living in him.
The word “keeps” suggests keeping guard. God sets the new nature in the believer as an eternal guard over his soul. This new nature is a constant monitor of our attitudes, words, and behavior patterns.
God has the responsibility of keeping us saved.
It is misery not to know for sure that you are a Christian. Christians like this live in despair. They never know whether they are in or out, saved, or lost. They do not have the confidence that they will make it to heaven.
Some believe that they can turn salvation on and off: “I accepted Christ five years ago, but now I am lost.” That is like saying, “I was a human being, but now I am a mule!” A human is a human and not anything else. A Christian is a Christian, and he or she can never be anything else. There is no way to become unborn as a human being. There is no way to become unborn believers because the Lord is the Savior of our souls, not us. He does it.
Jn 10:27-29, 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one [neuter –“no thing”] is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
Note the neuter – “Nothing” can pluck us out of the Father’s hand. We cannot do it; others cannot do it; Satan cannot do it; nothing can do it. Some people are out because they were never in.
Ro 5:10, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life [the Son is still saving us by interceding for us].”
Ro 8:38-39, 38 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
He 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost [through any and all sin] those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
He 10:14, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
2 Ti 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
2 Ti 4:18, “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”
Jude 1, “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ…”
1 Pe 1:3-5, 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Jude 24-25, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 “To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
I was confused by the ESV translation that says that he that is born of God keeps him. The old KJV says “keepeth himself” which makes more sense from the standpoint of a believer depending on God to allow home to be strong and overcome as John says. Your commentary makes the most sense if there is confusion about how it was originally written, but I wonder why recent translations don’t make the meaning as clear as you have.
Meant to say "allow him" in previous comment.
Some manuscripts read ‘himself’ (heauton) instead of ‘him’ (auton). A decision between these variants depends to a large extent upon whether ‘the one born of God’ is interpreted as the believer or as Christ. I believe the best justification in the manuscript is "himself," that is, the believer.