Interpretations of 1 JN 3:4-10?


#1

How should 1 JN 3:4-10 be understood? It says that no one who remains in Christ commits sin. It says that no one who sins has seen or known God. It says that whoever sins belongs to the devil.

I believe that we all commit sins. Even the very holiest of people sin at least a little. St. Paul says in Romans that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Even if we do not commit mortal sin, we commit venial sins. Only Jesus and Mary have been sinless.

So, how does that comport with this passage?

Is St. John referring only to mortal sin?

Is it not possible to have known God and then sin again (even mortally)?

1 JN 3:4-10:

4 Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.
5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
6 No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.
7 Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
8 Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.
9 No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.
10 In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.


#2

It seems so.
4. Commits sin: the Greek term implies sin with full knowledge and deliberation. (source)


#3

Words in bold are mine, added for clarification.

4 Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.
5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
6 No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has profitably seen him or known him.
7 Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
8 Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.
9 No one who is currently being begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is currently being begotten by God.
10 In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.


#4

Is anyone aware of anything from the Church, or from the Church Fathers, or from a solid Catholic apologist interpreting this?

I think it only makes sense if you limit it to mortal sin. But, it does not say it is limited to mortal sin. t. John could have specifically used the term mortal sin if that’s what he meant, because he does use that term elsewhere.

Thanks.


#5

Haydock is all I can find. He does not say the concept is limited to mortal sin but he does imply it when discussing v. 9, since we all have at least the seed of grace within us unless we are in a state of mortal sin. But again, St. John does not explicitly limit his statement to mortal sin, or “serious sin”. He just says “sin.”

Ver. 4. Committeth also iniquity.[1] By the Greek text, iniquity is here taken for a transgression or prevarication of the law, which makes the sense clearer. (Witham) — Iniquity; (anomia) transgression of the law. (Challoner)

Ver. 6. Whosoever abideth in him, complying with his law, sinneth not; and whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, nor known him; that is, with such a knowledge as is joined with love. (Witham) — Sinneth not; viz. mortally. See Chap. i. 8. (Challoner)

Ver. 8. The devil sinneth from the beginning: not that he was created in sin, but sined soon after he was created. (Witham)

Ver. 9. Doth not commit sin. That is, as long as he keepeth in himself this seed of grace, and this divine generation, by which he is born of God. But then he may fall from this happy state by the abuse of his free-will, as appears from Romans xi. 20, 21, 22.; 1 Corinthians ix. 27. and x. 12.; Philippians ii. 12.; Apocalypse iii. 11. (Challoner) — He cannot sin, because he is born of God. The meaning of this can be no more, than that he cannot sin as long as the seed of grace remaineth in him, and as long as he is the adoptive son of God. But it is evident he may fall from this happy condition, and from the grace of God, otherwise St. John would not so often in this epistle have exhorted them not to sin. (Witham)


#6

St Augustine of Hippo has some homilies on 1 John. He talks on the verses in question in Homily IV, beginning at paragraph 8, here.


#7

Look at Lapide’s commentary. His commentaries are very patristically oriented.

sites.google.com/site/aquinasstudybible/home/1-john/cornelius-a-lapide-on-1-john/chapter-1/chapter-2/chapter-3


#8

We are supposed to ultimately look at the Bible as a complete entity, with respect to any of its contents.

We know that Moses killed an Egyptian and there does not seem to have been any divine wrath for that. There’s more concern for the sin of David, if you can figure out exactly what it was. (Was it coveting another man’s wife? adultery? was it the supposed murder of Uriah? These are all sins against the major commandments.)

I think it’s in Isaiah where it says that though our sins be dark crimson, we shall be made white as snow.

**CCC 1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors. **

Para. 1735 of the catechism captures a picture of God’s mercy, that there may be many excuses for our sins, which lessen or eliminate our guilt for them. 1735 doesn’t even list all the possible reasons for this, either. Having said this, the CCC does not anywhere, that I know, apply this to show how this works. Venial sins do not need to be confessed, so 1735 is most relevant to mortal sins (objectively viewed). A question that must have come up many times, the church cannot allow same sex marriage, even though it admits that the participants have a gravely disordered problem.

The only ‘live’ examples I’ve heard priests say on EWTN relate to those who are severely mentally impaired. If that alone was what 1735 was talking about, it could have said so. there needs to be a book written on 1735, or maybe not. Perhaps any mortal sin can be dismissed by 1735, if only we knew the circumstances.

Jewish teaching on repentance is very central in Judaism. There, what does repentance consist of? What I’ve read there is that even that moment of clarity and regret after we’ve sinned, is a sign of repentance. But, this is not explicit Catholic teaching, but that’s what it looks like to others.


#9

§ c 3:1–10 Conduct of the Children of God—1. Because God has adopted the faithful into his family, the world, which is inimical to God, hates them. 2. But adoption entitles them to a future state of glory, like that of God himself. The true nature of that glorification is not yet clear; but after this life faith will give way to the intuitive vision of God, in which they will reflect his glory and nature. 3. Whosoever wishes to see God, the very Source of purity and holiness, must strive to be holy and keep himself free from all taint of sin. 4. ‘Whosoever committeth sin, committeth transgression of the law; and sin is lawlessness’; hence, of its very nature it separates the soul from God. 5. Sin also renders futile the merits of Christ. 6. Therefore, every Christian is obliged to avoid sin that he may remain united with Christ. Wilfully and knowingly to transgress the law of God indicates a lack of proper knowledge of Christ. He who has seen Christ with the eyes of faith, and has recognized ‘that he appeared to take away our sins and in him there is no sin’ strives to become like him, free from all deliberate sin. 7–8. A just man observes the law of God, and he who sets it at naught imitates the devil. Satan is the author of sin; Christ is his mighty opponent. 9. Sin is also at variance with the divine adoption. When St John says that one who is born of God cannot sin, he does not mean that every baptized person is confirmed in grace and cannot fall from that state, but that sin is entirely incompatible with a true child of God, cf. Rom 6:6, 11 f., 14. 10. Hence, only they who avoid sin deserve to be called ‘the children of God’; they who do not, are ‘the children of the devil’.

Willmering, H. (1953). The Epistles of St John. In B. Orchard & E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (pp. 1187–1188). Toronto;New York;Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.


#10

In the Jerusalem bible it has this comment.

Because God, living in the Christian, is present with all his divine power for life. John is talking in general terms, ignoring people’s momentary lapses, 1;7-2;1; all he is giving is a schematic contrast between the two “worlds”, cf, 3:9 5:18.


#11

Aquinas Study Bible - ‎1 John

Mike


#12

We understand 1 John 3:4-10 in the context of

My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

The Bible is a unified whole. Catholics don’t pull verses out and interpret them by themselves. Catholics interpret verses in the context of the whole Bible and the teachings of the Church.

To know God is to have have him present, working in your life. When we sin we disrupt that relationship. God is still present but we lose sanctifying Grace - the Holy Spirit cannot act on our souls. So we go to confession and meet Jesus, that’s all. That’s the Gospel right there.

-Tim-


#13

GREAT Questions:thumbsup:

The correct understanding here is [SHOULD or OUGHT NOT too] because of God’s grace influx.

From Haydock’s Catholic Commentary
Ver. 4. Committeth also iniquity.[1] By the Greek text, iniquity is here taken for a transgression or prevarication of the law, which makes the sense clearer. (Witham) — Iniquity; (anomia) transgression of the law. (Challoner)

Ver. 6. Whosoever abideth in him, complying with his law, sinneth not; and whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, nor known him; that is, with such a knowledge as is joined with love. (Witham) — Sinneth not; viz. mortally. See Chap. i. 8. (Challoner)

Ver. 8. The devil sinneth from the beginning: not that he was created in sin, but sined soon after he was created. (Witham)

Ver. 9. Doth not commit sin. That is, as long as he keepeth in himself this seed of grace, and this divine generation, by which he is born of God. But then he may fall from this happy state by the abuse of his free-will, as appears from Romans xi. 20, 21, 22.; 1 Corinthians ix. 27. and x. 12.; Philippians ii. 12.; Apocalypse iii. 11. (Challoner) — He cannot sin, because he is born of God. The meaning of this can be no more, than that he cannot sin as long as the seed of grace remaineth in him, and as long as he is the adoptive son of God. But it is evident he may fall from this happy condition, and from the grace of God, otherwise St. John would not so often in this epistle have exhorted them not to sin. (Witham) END QUOTES

1 JN 3:4-10:

4 Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.
5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
6 No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.
7 Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
8 Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.
9 No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.
10 In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.

God Bless you,

Patrick


#14

#15

Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father as our intercessor. Remember the Father was never a human being and has an ‘independant mind’ from Jesus so Jesus pleads our case to the Father. Mary pleads our case to Jesus, who then pleads our case to the Father.

Saying that the Sacred Scripture is a unified ‘whole’ where all scripture is equal and the ‘Word Of God’ is something that crept into Christianity from Judaism and Islam who in recent times worship letters in a book as divine in themselves which creates an idol by placing God in a book.

Theres a lot of uncomfortable things that dont get mentioned anymore. One of the things Jesus came to do is ‘set the record straight’ on the Scripture of his time. He corrects all our misunderstandings as well. He also heavily implies scripture comprimised and not authentic to God (Islam says the same). He literally, outright declares His superiority over Moses, Jacob, etc. In John 6 Jesus says, as clear as he can, the Moses did NOT give you bread from heaven. (Note: JOHN 6:66 when properly translated and in context is WAY MORE POWERFUL than it first seems. It says basically says “When they heard what Jesus said [about eating his flesh and blood (eucharist)] they TURNED THEIR BACKS and STOPPED FOLLOWING HIM”. Notice that only the Orthodox Church kept faithful. It was the Protestants and everyone else after who denied the eucharist.

The bread of life is also the word. So Jesus i plies a lot about the Old Scripture. What isnt mentioned much anymore is that since Jesus, things changed. Gods Spirit testifies to Christ and HIS Word which is HOW you can know God. (ccc:687). Notice it doesnt say knowledge of God is in OT scripture. Basically you know the Father through the Son. Jesus KNEW back then what was real, ‘divinely false’, misunderstood, or abused (stoning trial). The idea is WE take on a measure of Jesus OWN ability to understand Gods Truth in scripture. If we dont have the Spirit, we end up making all scripture equal, and this no longer follow Christ.

My understaning is ALL ‘sects’ of Christianity have ALWAYS used the NT over the Old Testement until the truly heretical Masonic-Psuedo-Judeo-Christian cults began to take off in the 1800’s. Many were banned in Protestant Europe and were cast-away to America where they had freedom run their Old Testement Masonic-born cults.

I admit I’ve made great errors in associating Traditional Protestantism with a later strain of these psuedo-Christian, heretical, blasphemous cults which which have done unspeakable damage to the Church.

Does Solomon and his 700 wives really have equality to anything in the NT?

There is the Book of Job is an immitation version of Gods ‘Truth’. It clearly violates almost everything the Church teaches, as well as Jesus himself. Don’t believe me? Jesus ‘answers’ the Book Of Job when he speaks to Job himself in the young rich man. Elsewhere he says that someone cannot serve God and Riches which clearly point to Job. God wanted Job in the Gospel because it really DOES reveal truth and serve a purpose. Lets just say that people will divinely be lead into darkness if they read the Bible outside the Church. The Bible can lead people into darkness VERY quickly if they dont place Jesus teaching and the NT above everything else.


#16

:thumbsup: We should know that God opposes sin-and sin opposes Him-and that He gives us the reason and grace to overcome sin, while knowing that we’ll continue to struggle against it-and that He’ll always forgive as we come to repentance.


#17

By definition, a person (Divine, angelic, human) has intellect and will. With regards to the Holy Trinity, there are three Divine Persons, but only one Divine Intellect and Will, always in perfect accord with each other. Father Echert *EWTN Catholic Q&A *

“Now assuredly it is just to preach ***against those who destroy the one power ***which is the most sacred teaching of the Church of God, dividing and rending it into some three powers and distinct substances and three deities. For I have heard that some who preach and explain the divine word among you are teachers of this belief; yet they, so to speak, are diametrically opposed to the opinion of Sabellius.”

Denzinger Sources of Catholic Dogma # 48 (New Edition # 112)

Does God have just one divine intellect and one divine will? Catholic Answers

God bless

Mike


closed #18

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