“Whoever is born of God doesn’t commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can’t sin, because he is born of God.”
The Christian is born again into the family of God. They have experienced two births – natural physical birth and supernatural spiritual birth. The Christian is born of God and now has the family likeness of God imprinted in their psyche. Their heart and mind has been changed and they are new people.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
We now have a new nature that wants to please God and live righteously, however the old sinful nature is still there and wars against the spiritual. This is a source of conflict for the Christian and one that needs many lessons and skills to learn to overcome. But we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who teaches and empowers us to fight and win the battles with self and sin. We have the seed of God, the family likeness of God in us that gives us the motivation to fight until we overcome the sin that is pulling us down and going against our new spiritual outlook and demeanour.
“Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
The verse, and our text, seems to suggest there is some sort of sinless perfection for the “real” Christian, but the meaning is not that we are somehow now perfect, but that our new disposition is to not want to sin. The sins we commit will be in error or with some other proviso, but not continuing in sin with knowledge, for this is against our Christian character. To live a life in deliberate sin suggests the lack of true repentance in the first place. The Christian will be marked by a life lived in holiness to the Lord and in serving Him with a true heart. A Christian will not habitually live a life of sin, but have the motivation and the practice of a godly life, that has deliberately turned its back on the action of sin and puts both self and sin to death.
It stands to reason that if we have confessed our sin and truly repented and have seen the horror of our sin, we will not live in that sinful mindset any more. We have confessed it and so now walk in faith and obedience to God, not ourselves or the enemy, the devil, who practices sin continually. We will be like our Father God, loving righteousness and holiness and shunning all evil. We will not sin with impunity but we may fall into sins and get entangled with them for a while, but will seek repentance again and be free from them. Sin does not have the mastery over us any more.
“For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace.”
We are saved by God through the work of grace in our life and not from our own efforts, therefore He will give us the victory over our sin, through Christ and through the work of His Spirit in our life, as we fight with the spiritual weapons we now have at our disposal. This is the reality of the Christian.