Context, context, context is everything when reading and studying the Word of God. To simply pull a single sentence from the surrounding context is wrong, is sinful and distorts the Truth of God’s inspired text. 1 John 2:28-3:10 is one of the very best examples of which I speak. For in verse 6 we read, “Everyone who resides in him does not sin; everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him.” More than one time I have encountered folks who misrepresent an argument and the Word of God by taking this statement from the context of the surrounding statement.
“ And now, little children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame when he comes back. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who practices righteousness has been fathered by him. 3:1 (See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God’s children—and indeed we are! For this reason the world does not know us: Because it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him because we will see him just as he is. 3 And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure). 4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; indeed, sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that Jesus was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 Everyone who resides in him does not sin; everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous. 8 The one who practices sin is of the devil because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin because he has been fathered by God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: Everyone who does not practice righteousness—the one who does not love his fellow Christian—is not of God.” NET2.
What one will discover with a simple reading is the emphasis upon the idea of ‘practicing’ sin and/or righteousness. John clearly states that anyone who practices sin is of the Devil and anyone who practices righteousness is of God. One who purposefully practices righteousness can only do so because of the presence of the Holy Spirit living in the body of the Believer. There is no other way for righteousness to be accomplished because righteousness comes from Him alone.
Do Believers sin? Absolutely, ‘yes.’ But a Believer cannot/will not practice sin, but will only practice righteousness because of the continued presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Believer for the body of the Believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. “Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin a person commits is outside of the body”—but the immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. Every Believer is united with Christ by grace through faith and are created to produce works of righteousness. We purposefully live in righteousness, His righteousness alone.
Because we do not practice sin and live in it a Believer is never called a ‘sinner’ in the New Testament. We are referred to as righteous, Believers, Saints, beloved, Brothers or Sisters, but never are ‘sinners.’ Do we sin? Absolutely, but we do NOT practice sin. We practice righteous behavior because of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.
Jesus is Lord.