Does Scripture teach that believers cannot help but sin everyday?
1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (6) If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
John teaches us that it’s possible for us to walk in the light just as Jesus is in the light. When we do that, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. According to Greek manuscripts, the blood of Jesus continues to purify (or will purify us) from all sin as we walk in the light. Therefore it is possible for believers to “walk in the light” just as Jesus is in the light.
With this context in mind, we can now properly interpret the next verses.
(8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
According to the earlier context, we cannot interpret this to mean that our sinful nature will force us to continue to sin daily despite our desire to walk in the light. That interpretation is inconsistent with the earlier passage. What would be a more consistent interpretation?
(9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Verses 8 and 9 above should be interpreted in light of Romans 3:23 which teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Such verses refer to someone who does not yet know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But in this epistle John is writing to “my dear children” who of course already know Christ:
1 John 2:1-6 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
This of course means that it is very possible for a saved child of God not to sin.
But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (2) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
This of course we already understand.
(3) We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. (4) Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
John encourages us keep the Lord’s commands. Therefore it is eminently possible to keep the Lord’s commands and walk in the light as He is in the light.
(5) But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: (6) Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
We are encouraged and commanded to live in holiness “as Jesus did.” Therefore it is very possible for a believer not to commit sin every day. We have authority over our sinful nature which though it might tempt us to sin has been crucified (Galatians 5:24) and is therefore now under our authority. We have the power to say “No” to our flesh and sinful nature, and thus continue to walk in obedience and holiness.
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. (12) It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…