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DesiJr
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Joined: 2006/1/6
Posts: 113


 1st John Contradicts Itself

Does 1st John contradict itself?

Please don't reply if you don't read it all the way through.

1John 3:9
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God.

1John 1:10
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1John has always been difficult for me to grasp because I know that even as a born again Christian I transgress the law every day of my life. Yet, I also know that I have an unquenchable desire to please God. I fall short of pleasing Him every day concerning the law. And transgression of the law is sin.

Now as I read 1John and I read these two scriptures that seem so blatantly to contradict themselves and my life as a born-again believer. I know then that there was a severe lack of understanding of what the Spirit of God is attempting to teach me through 1John.

My understanding of the Kingdom of God was basically like a large fenced yard. The 10 commandments and the writings of the prophets constituted the pillars that fenced me in and kept me in the kingdom of God. And if I broke any of these commandments, my right standing with God had ended and I needed to repent and then repair the fence post I broke and try and keep from breaking it again. Yet, I find it is an impossibility to keep from sinning against this law.

This is where my understanding of 1John breaks down. I break these laws every day. Forget about all the ceremonial and health laws, for the sake of my limited knowledge of all the ceremonial laws lets focus just on the 10 commandments.

If I take one of the most obvious of breakable commandments like the 4th commandment:

Exodus 20:8-11 (King James Version)
8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

This was the fault of my understanding. I had been looking at the law of Moses and my need to justify myself and prove my salvation to others and most of all to God. So now I see that this fenced in mentality was wrong concerning the Kingdom of God. Instead a more accurate description would be Jesus fulfilling the law and all the writings of the prophets and Him being the solid rock of salvation. The posts are the standards of God that and built IN HIM. And on the solid rock and my faith on HIM accomplishing the law and the writings of the prophets. Now His children are raised on top of a new understanding of the law: Love God and Love others.

Picture this new illustration: A solid block of rock and in the rock are pillars of the laws and the writing of the prophets that Jesus fulfilled. On top of this solid rock you will see the meaning of the standards of the law and the writings of the prophets that we used to see from the bottom. On the top of the rock we see a phrase written….Love God and Love Others. This is the meaning of everything concerning God and a relationship with Him and His people.
Because of the revelation of God we see what Jesus accomplished. He accomplished what I could not. And by faith in what He accomplished for me, He gracefully placed me on top of the Rock where I could see what was hidden from me before.

Jesus fulfilled the 10 commandments the ceremonial laws and all the fulfillments for being right with God. This is why he’s the rock of our salvation. He is the chief cornerstone.
Because of the revelation of God we see what Jesus accomplished. He accomplished my shortcomings. We see how while we were still sinners he chose to pour out His grace and mercy and love on us. Even while we hated him.

When we see the value of Christ, the glory of God, and repent of our selfishness and our hardness of heart towards His kindness, we are then converted. Converted by love.

So the revelation of His love towards us, produces in us love towards Him, and not only love to Him but to love others the way He loved us. Not in condemnation, or judgment but in grace and mercy.

Our only obligation is to believe. This is not a work that we can boast of. He is good and salvation is there for the world whether we believe it or not. Salvation towards my neighbor is not dependant on me believing for him. If someone else believes God he partakes of the grace, whether or not I believe. I, myself, have to have faith that he accomplished what I could not and this produces love towards Him and love towards others by the Spirit of God.

Now concerning 1John it reads:
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:10 If we say we have not sinned we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Again, then the Word seems to contradict itself when it reads:
1John 3:5-6
5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
1John 3:8-9
8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

This verse in particular seemed to condemn me and made me question if I was truly even a Christian. Yet, what was my definition of Christianity? It was proving to God and to the world that I was saved by the works and righteousness that I maintained. And this is NOT Christianity.

Let’s continue:
1John 3:10
10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

So, now I begin to see where I had been mistaken. My definition of sin, and of righteousness was skewed,
1 John 3:4 Defines sin as transgression of the law.

WHAT LAW?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart all your soul all your mind and all your strength and love each other as you would yourselves.

If we truly have been born of God we come to surrender. A surrender to the thought of trying to achieve righteousness by works of Moses’ Law.

Jesus satisfied Moses’ law in His life on earth as a man. Yet dying as a sinner – tasting death for every man, not just death of the physical but eternal death. However, PRAISE GOD, the punishment due Him since He bore our sins, could not destroy Him. He overcame death. He was victorious over it and it could not contain Him.

So now that we have someone who both satisfied the works of Moses’ Law and took the punishment for us who were unable to keep Moses’ Law, we are now free to come to God and receive His love and mercy and grace that He originally intended for His creation.

This love that is poured out for us manifests in us through faith in His will to do this great work of grace: the heart of flesh converted from a heart of stone, the new birth, brought from death to life.

In addition, this grace produces in us a great love and reverence for God in the hearts of those willing to partake of the saving grace of our Lord only through faith in Him.

This grace produces Love towards God and love towards others. Thereby we are able to stand before God and share in the description of other great men of faith in the word such as King David, Paul, Abraham etc. -- that we are pure before His sight …sinless concerning our keeping of the law---Loving Him and Loving others…not the law of Moses. Look at the description the word uses when it speaks of Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father in the beginning of Luke. Whenever I read of men like these I couldn’t understand how they could describe them as blameless. Yet now I see that the law of Moses is not our responsibility. This is the greatness of God’s glory….our only responsibility is to believe that Jesus is enough to complete what we are unable to complete. This produces in us an ability through the rebirth to fulfill the 2 greatest commandments that all the law and the prophets hang on.

And that is why John can say… 1John 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
He’s not talking about the sin against the Law of Moses…because that was taken away because Jesus fulfilled it. But he is talking about the sin of not loving God and not loving others.
We are still sinners in need of a Savior because for the rest of our lives we will be completely dependant on Him to have kept all the Law. This was God’s righteous standard. We need Jesus everyday to fulfill this requirement for us. We must still confess our sins (concerning Moses’ Law) one to another and to God. This shows our dependency on Him.

Through faith in Him to fill this requirement he gives us this new heart to experience the love with Him and with each other in fullness that is only manifest out of a genuine conversion.

Finally through glorification when Jesus returns for His spotless church we will be stripped of this hindering flesh and the limitations it confines us to concerning understanding and love, and we will be eternally able to experience the complete fullness of God’s glorious love for us through Christ.


 2007/4/14 22:24Profile
JennRich
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Joined: 2006/7/17
Posts: 140
Alabama

 Re: 1st John Contradicts Itself

Quote:

DesiJr wrote:
Does 1st John contradict itself?
Please don't reply if you don't read it all the way through.
1John 3:9
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God.
1John 1:10
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1John has always been difficult for me to grasp because I know that even as a born again Christian I transgress the law every day of my life. Yet, I also know that I have an unquenchable desire to please God. I fall short of pleasing Him every day concerning the law. And transgression of the law is sin.



Sorry, Desi, I'm replying even though I didn't have time to read it all the way through. . . (I have 2 children in the tub right now). . . I just thought this might help: many times the word translated "sin" in the N.T. has a deeper original meaning -- a lot of times the verb means "remains in sin," or "ongoing, habitual sin." That would be different than an isolated "slip" into sin. You might want to look at Matthew Henry's commentary on I John:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc6.xxiii.i.html


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Jennifer Richardson

 2007/4/14 22:42Profile
BENOTLEH
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Joined: 2007/2/9
Posts: 14
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 Re: 1st John Contradicts Itself

When John is speaking of the true children of God not sinning or not being able to sin, the original greek word for sin there is in the greek tense of being continous and habitual, while the true child of God will repent when he is convicted of his sin.


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Bryan Helton

 2007/4/14 22:52Profile
DesiJr
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Joined: 2006/1/6
Posts: 113


 Re:

Let me ask you a question... do you habitually choose to do manual labor on Saturdays thereby intentionaly choosing to completely ingnore the 4th commandment?

If your answer is yes...then according to your interpretation of what John is trying to say you are of the devil...if in fact this is the sin he is talking about.

Thats my point...he's not talking about sinning against Moses' law.

He's talking about Loving God and Loving others...if we sin against these...we are of the devil.

 2007/4/14 23:00Profile
crsschk
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Posts: 9192
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 Re: 1st John Contradicts Itself

[b]1Jn 3:9 -
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin[/b] - This passage must either mean that they who are born of God, that is, who are true Christians, do not sin habitually and characteristically, or that everyone who is a true Christian is absolutely perfect, and never commits any sin. If it can be used as referring to the doctrine of absolute perfection at all, it proves, not that Christians may be perfect, or that a “portion” of them are, but that all are. But who can maintain this? Who can believe that John meant to affirm this? Nothing can be clearer than that the passage has not this meaning, and that John did not teach a doctrine so contrary to the current strain of the Scriptures, and to fact; and if he did not teach this, then in this whole passage he refers to those who are habitually and characteristically righteous.

[b]For his seed remaineth in him[/b] - There is much obscurity in this expression, though the general sense is clear, which is, that there is something abiding in the heart of the true Christian which the apostle here calls “seed,” which will prevent his sinning. The word “his” in this phrase, “his seed,” may refer either to the individual himself - in the sense that this can now be properly called “his,” inasmuch as it is a part of himself, or a principle abiding in him; or it may refer to God - in the sense that what is here called “seed” is “his,” that is, he has implanted it, or it is a germ of divine origin. Robinson (Lex.) understands it in the latter sense, and so also do Macknight, Doddridge, Lucke, and others, and this is probably the true interpretation. The word “seed” (σπέρμα sperma) means properly seed sown, as of grain, plants, trees; then anything that resembles it, anything which germinates, or which springs up, or is produced.

It is applied in the New Testament to the word of God, or the gospel, as that which produces effects in the heart and life similar to what seed that is sown does. Compare Mat_13:26, Mat_13:37-38. Augustin, Clemens, (Alex.,) Grotius, Rosenmuller, Benson, and Bloomfield, suppose that this is the signification of the word here. The proper idea, according to this, is that the seed referred to is truth, which God has implanted or sown in the heart, from which it may be expected that the fruits of righteousness will grow. But that which abides in the heart of a Christian is not the naked word of God; the mere gospel, or mere truth; it is rather that word as made vital and efficacious by the influence of his Spirit; the germ of the divine life; the principles of true piety in the soul. Compare the words of Virgil: Igneus est illi vigor et coelestis origo semini. The exact idea here, as it seems to me, is not that the “seed” refers to “the word of God,” as Augustin and others suppose, or to “the Spirit of God,” but to the germ of piety which has been produced in the heart “by” the word and Spirit of God, and which may be regarded as having been implanted there by God himself, and which may be expected to produce holiness in the life. There is, probably, as Lucke supposes, an allusion in the word to the fact that we are begotten (Ὁ γεγεννημένος Ho gegennēmenos of God. The word “remaineth” - μένει menei, compare the notes at 1Jo_3:6 - is a favorite expression of John. The expression here used by John, thus explained, would seem to imply two things:

(1) that the germ or seed of religion implanted in the soul abides there as a constant, vital principle, so that he who is born of God cannot become habitually a sinner; and,

(2) that it will so continue to live there that he will not fall away and perish. The idea is clearly that the germ or principle of piety so permanently abides in the soul, that he who is renewed never can become again characteristically a sinner.

[b]And he cannot sin[/b] - Not merely he will not, but he cannot; that is, in the sense referred to. This cannot mean that one who is renewed has not physical ability to do wrong, for every moral agent has; nor can it mean that no one who is a true Christian never does, in fact, do wrong in thought, word, or deed, for no one could seriously maintain that: but it must mean that there is somehow a certainty as absolute “as if” it were physically impossible, that those who are born of God will not be characteristically and habitually sinners; that they will not sin in such a sense as to lose all true religion and be numbered with transgressors; that they will not fall away and perish. Unless this passage teaches that no one who is renewed ever can sin in any sense; or that everyone who becomes a Christian is, and must be, absolutely and always perfect, no words could more clearly prove that true Christians will never fall from grace and perish. How can what the apostle here says be true, if a real Christian can fall away and become again a sinner?

[b]Because he is born of God[/b] - Or begotten of God. God has given him, by the new birth, real, spiritual life, and that life can never become extinct.

Albert Barnes

[b]1Jn 3:9 -
Whosoever is born of God[/b] - Γεγεννημενος, Begotten of God, doth not commit sin: “that is,” say some, “as he used to do, he does not sin habitually as he formerly did.” This is bringing the influence and privileges of the heavenly birth very low indeed. We have the most indubitable evidence that many of the heathen philosophers had acquired, by mental discipline and cultivation, an entire ascendency over all their wonted vicious habits. Perhaps my reader will recollect the story of the physiognomist, who, coming into the place where Socrates was delivering a lecture, his pupils, wishing to put the principles of the man’s science to proof, desired him to examine the face of their master, and say what his moral character was. After a full contemplation of the philosopher’s visage, he pronounced him “the most gluttonous, drunken, brutal, and libidinous old man that he had ever met.” As the character of Socrates was the reverse of all this, his disciples began to insult the physiognomist. Socrates interfered, and said, “The principles of his science may he very correct, for such I was, but I have conquered it by my philosophy.” O ye Christian divines! ye real or pretended Gospel ministers! will ye allow the influence of the grace of Christ a sway not even so extensive as that of the philosophy of a heathen who never heard of the true God?

Adam Clarke


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Mike Balog

 2007/4/14 23:10Profile
BENOTLEH
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 Re:

Quote: "He's talking about Loving God and Loving others...if we sin against these...we are of the devil."

If we continually and habitually sin against these
with [u]NO[/u] conviction that we are sinning then we are of the devil and have not known God

And please read Acts 15, gentiles were never reqired to keep the law of moses


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Bryan Helton

 2007/4/14 23:11Profile
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 Re: 1st John Contradicts Itself

REPLY
Does 1st John contradict itself?

Think of yourself as dying and waking up with out a body.

Why did you die?
You and the whole world transgressed God’s Holy Law and the penalty never changes, death.

Can mortality be over come?
mortal> Liable or subject to death
mortality> the state of being mortal

Yes, in a new body from Heaven.
(2 Corinthians 5:1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.)

What are the new rules?
Romans 13
10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Eddie


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Eddie

 2007/4/15 3:06Profile
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 Re: 1st John Contradicts Itself

DesiJr wrote:




Quote:
This grace produces Love towards God and love towards others. Thereby we are able to stand before God and share in the description of other great men of faith in the word such as King David, Paul, Abraham etc. -- that we are pure before His sight …sinless concerning our keeping of the law---Loving Him and Loving others…



This is true...I have often heard preachers say that David was in error when he spoke of what he owned...righteousness that finds it source in God.


This is also true...many look to and quote other men and their thoughts on habitual sin...yet they never speak of the sin of ignorance that is declared in the book of Leviticus. Jesus through the Spirit must continually minister to us to show us what we do not yet know about Him and His ways.


Quote:
We are still sinners in need of a Savior because for the rest of our lives we will be completely dependant on Him to have kept all the Law. This was God’s righteous standard. We need Jesus everyday to fulfill this requirement for us. We must still confess our sins (concerning Moses’ Law) one to another and to God. This shows our dependency on Him.



As we grow in Him, we will all have a "story of how He has loved us." The contents of this story will show others how He delivers us continually from the ways we once lived according to our former father, the devil. He will show us how to put to death the old man. If we try in our ignorance, we seek to be self-righteous.

In Christ
Jeff

I had to edit this, I made a typo error earlier this morning...


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Jeff Marshalek

 2007/4/15 10:03Profile
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 Re:

The book of 1 John shows us both the vision of where He has placed us and also the path so that we might recognize if we have the truth in us. If we do not recognize the daily path, then we are not part of His vision.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2007/4/15 10:05Profile
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 Re: 1st John Contradicts Itself

Quote:

DesiJr wrote:

1John 3:9
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God.



Okay, I read the whole thread, and now I'm exhausted. Firstly, I'd like to know how, in light of Matt 5:17-19, you ever got the idea that Christ's fulfilling of the Law, equates to his removal of it? It is quite sad when people get the idea that the Law is now irrelevant to the believer. My understanding is that people get the idea that the Law is there to be obeyed, when in fact it is more of a description of a life rightly lived in Christ. Note that the Commandments say "Thou [b]shall not[/b]..." and not "[b]Do not[/b]..." The Law is not so much "removed", as much as that now the higher Law of Grace takes precedence over it. Without Grace, the Law appears to be [b]forced obligation[/b], while with Grace it become [b]empowered obedience[/b].

The issue raised in 1 John, is one of righteousness vs unrighteousness, which are complete antitheses to each other. It is a heart issue, that is demonstrated by outward actions. For example, I do not particularly like the taste of mint flavoured chocolate. this becomes quite evident when I am offered one and say "No, thanks. I don't like them." However, I have a taste for Turkish Delight. This is also evident in the fact that it is hard to leave a bowl full of them after offering me one. The is no point me claiming to like mint flavoured chocolate, if I won't eat it, neither is it rational to refuse to Turkish Delight, after claiming it to be my favourite. My actions betray my true intentions.

Keith Daniel has a two part teaching on 1 John, where he explains this verse by telling the following story, which I'll paraphrase:-):

Imagine if I stand on the balcony of a building, holding a baby, and someone cries out, "Come on, throw the baby down to me!" I would, of course reply, "I [b]can't[/b]!" not because I'm not [b]capable[/b] of doing it, but because doing so would be so [b]unthinkable[/b], that doing so would become impossible.

The problem of sinfulness in a "Christian", is that of a failure to involve God in our moment by moment considerations. It is a denial, by lack of emphasis, of "his seed remain(ing) in" us.

Oswald Chambers often spoke of "concentration on God". His point in using such a term, is to highlight the fact that success in our walk with God is neither a random thing, nor the product of our own exertion. Notice that in Paul's list of things that will not "separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"(Rom 8:38-39), ignorance is not mentioned? The point is that the "love of God" is "[b]in[/b] "Christ Jesus our Lord". Christ spoke of the Ephesian church that they had "left their first love"(Rev 2:4). It would appear that God who "dwelleth not in temples made with hands" can be hidden from us in the misty haze of ignorance.

When we fail to focus our attention on God, we are only a heart beat away from committing sin. Essentially, the ignorance of God is a silent claim of sinlessness. And this because it implies a lack of our need of the keeping and sustaining power of God, to keep us from sin. This is where 1 John 1:8 comes in. However, this verse makes no sense apart from vv9-10. The overall point is that of forgiveness of sin and cleansing of unrighteousness. John seems to be pointing the way to being "free indeed" of sin, and then how and why to stay their. Note that it is "he" that is "faithful and just to forgive... and cleanse...", thereby emphasising the "Son" who "sets free", making John's statements compatible with Christs.

All is Christ. All things a of him, through him, and to him, not just salvation, but obedinece also. Any life that is lived by anything else but 100% reliance upon "the faith [b]of[/b] the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me"(Gal 2:20), is substandard. All else is sin.

So, no. There is no contradiction in 1 John. I hope this helps. :-)


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Aaron Ireland

 2007/4/15 10:55Profile





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