“We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.” 1 John 5:18
When I was in Mr. Heslop’s composition class, at Cedar Lake Academy, we spent an entire school year learning to write essays and research papers.
We were taught a very simple, yet versatile, format for these papers. First there was the introduction, then there was the body of the paper, and lastly there was the conclusion. The basic content of each section was, for the most part, the same with the introduction and conclusion being a very brief listing of the material presented at length in the body of the paper. There was even a mantra for this format; tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them what you want to tell them, then tell them what you’ve just told them.
Sounds a bit boring? Well the purpose of research papers and school essays isn’t entertainment. It’s about learning to, in a clear and logical way, organize your thoughts and write them down so that someone else has the best shot at understanding them.
The apostle John, as we near the end of his epistle, is doing a bit of the “telling us what he’s just told us” part of the essay writing process. I believe he’s doing this because he wants to make sure that his readers come away having clearly learned a few lessons.
Our focus text repeats one of those lessons which basically is this: Being born of God changes your life. You won’t continue living the way you did before you connected your life to Christ’s.
John says it this way, “whoever is born of God does not sin…”
The “does not sin” phrase is in the present durative form, just like similar phrases were back in chapter three verses six and nine, which describes the trend or pattern of action, but doesn’t necessarily describe every single action. This means that the pattern of always sinning has been broken and now we’re choosing to follow where Christ is leading, and living a righteous life. There may be mistakes made, even intentional ones, but the trend of the life is toward righteousness not sinfulness.
John’s repeating this message because in his time, just like in our time, there were people teaching that God didn’t expect our lives to change when we chose a relationship with him.
Friends, let me make something clear. According to the apostle John, and every other Bible writer, the reason why you choose a relationship with God is because you’ve decided that your old life of sin needs to be exchanged for a new, righteous life. You choose him because you want change. And when Christ connects his life with yours he promises that he’s going to change you.
Praise God, he’s going to change us. We really need it.