Bible Reading: 1 John 3:6-10
Although all Christians do sin, in order to do so we have to fight our way through the resistance of Christ, God’s “seed,” who lives in us in the person of Holy Spirit. With every temptation to sin the Christian is confronted with the simultaneous and inescapable counter constraint of the indwelling Holy Spirit not to sin. To sin, the Christian, unlike the non-Christian, must fight his way through the inward resistance of the Holy Spirit. This inward resistance to sinning serves as proof positive of our salvation, since it assures us of the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit within us.
In addition to our struggling to sin, another proof of our salvation and the indwelling Holy Spirit is the inescapable contrition we experience after every sin we commit. A Christian, unlike a non-Christian, cannot sin without being plagued afterward by the conviction of the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we sin, by successfully fighting our way through the Holy Spirit’s resistance, we will afterward find ourselves engaged in a whole new struggle with the Spirit. Instead of constraining us from it, the Holy Spirit will now be convicting us of it. We will know no peace from the Spirit’s conviction until we have confessed and repented of our sin.
Like the Spirit’s constraining of us from sinning, the Spirit’s convicting of us for sinning also serves as proof positive of our salvation. The inescapable conviction we experience over every sin we commit is proof of the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit within us.
According to John, it is the unavoidable struggle with the Holy Spirit facing every Christian before and after he sins that makes it impossible for any true Christian to practice sin. This is the tremendous truth the Apostle John is teaching us in this important passage of Scripture. He is not teaching that true Christians cannot commit sin, but only that true Christians cannot continue in sin, since the indwelling Holy Spirit will make it intolerable for a true Christian to do so.