Verses to review today: 1 John 3:1-3:8
New Verse: 1 John 3:9
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (ESV)
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (KJV)
Greek: Πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ, ὅτι σπέρμα αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ μένει, καὶ οὐ δύναται ἁμαρτάνειν, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ γεγέννηται.
Transliterated Greek: Pas ho gegennēmenos ek tou theou hamartian ou poiei, hoti sperma autou en autō menei, kai ou dynatai hamartanein, hoti ek tou theou gegennētai.
Literal Word for Word Translation: everyone brought forth from God does not do sin, because his seed resides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered from God.
Vocab: γεγεννημένος, gegennēmenos, he having been brought forth; σπέρμα, sperma, seed; δύναται, dynatai, he is being able; θεοῦ, theou, of God; γεγέννηται, gegennētai, he has been brought forth.
Commentary: Gegennēmenos (γεγεννημένος) for being brought forth from God does not pertain to being born once, but being continuously brought forth. So, those born of God are continuing to be brought forth and that continuing power of God to work in us makes it so we do not keep on sinning. Yes we sin, as has already been discussed, but that is in weakness and is not the desire of one who has been born again. The reason we have the right desire and can continue being born of God is that His seed is remaining in us. Some say the “seed” is the Word and some say it is the Spirit. The Word is made manifest by the Spirit. In Jesus’ parables the seed often represents the gospel. But here, it isn’t just the gospel, but the gospel bursting forth. So, it is proper to say the seed is the Word and Spirit working through us, regenerating us continuously.
I’ve used the analogy of a laser before in talks I have given for the process of becoming a light for Jesus. In a laser there must be generating source, in this case the Holy Spirit, and a set of mirrors for reflection, which in this case is the Word. If the Spirit is there, but no Word, the light output is dim and barely distinguishable from the world. If the Word is there but no Spirit, there is truly no distinguishing of the output from the noise that occurs already in the world. Only when energized by the Spirit with reflection on the Word is there coherent, high powered, and focused light that can be distinguished from the world and cut through anything!
It is interesting that John states almost everything at least twice. Sometimes he restates it nearly the same way, and sometimes through the opposite. Here, the emphasis is made that not only does a child of God not keep on sinning, but he can’t. Dynatai (δύναται) here is a passive version of power or ability, thus the child is made unable to sin by the Seed since he is cannot by his own ability keep from doing so.