One way we can be assured of our salvation is the manner in which sin is handled in our hearts. The Christian is a new creation who has been removed from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13). In this transfer, believers are freed from the power of sin and are enabled to obey God. This transfer from one kingdom to the other makes a significant change within the believer’s heart which in turn changes the pattern of behavior.
God never states in Scripture that Christians do not sin. One needs only to read the Bible to understand this truth. David, a man after God’s own heart, commits adultery and murder. The apostle, Peter, openly denies that he knows Jesus. A believer in the church at Corinth is guilty of sexual immorality (I Corinthians 5). John, the apostle, admits to Christian sin and the need for confession (I John 1:8-2:1).
So what is John saying here? The apostle is telling us that someone who knows Jesus personally does not practice sin. You can think of practicing sin as sinning without any regard or remorse. One who practices sin does so without any concern for what God says. It means a habitual, willful, unrepentant practice of evil. I submit that Christians cannot do such a thing continually. Followers of God may struggle with sin (Judges 13-16). They may even willfully sin (Luke 15:11-32). But a Christian cannot habitually sin without any regard to God.
The reason why Christians cannot practice sin is because they are a new creation and sin is not a part of their new nature. Therefore when a Christian sins, the Holy Spirit living within signals that believer and convicts him or her of transgression. Unbelievers do not have this internal “warning signal”. Sin within the life of a believer is foreign to the new nature and eventually the believer will confess.
Thus, a sign of spiritual life is a discomfort with sin. Sin makes the Christian uncomfortable and drives him or her to repent and confess. Repentance may be a lengthy process. There may be much learning and pain before repentance comes. Even after confession, a believer may experience failure in that same sin and need to confess again. The discomfort with sin makes the Christian unable to continually stay in sin and assures the Christian that he or she does belong to Christ.
- Pastor Randy