18a We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not.
When the apostle John says “We know”, he is actually alluding to the assurance and confidence that Christians have about spiritual realities. In this epistle, John used the word “know” at least 22 times. From the opening words to the end, there is a ring of absolute assurance in this epistle. It would be very appropriate to call this epistle ‘the Epistle of Certainties’.
Several times in this epistle, John wrote how we could be absolutely sure that we are born of God and are His children. For instance, he said in 1 John 5:1, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God”. At least 8 times in this epistle, John referred to believers as “born of God”.
In his Gospel, John wrote, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). Our spiritual assurance that we are God’s children has nothing to do with our physical birth; it is not inherited from parents. Hence, it is written concerning our spiritual new birth that it is “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man”.
Our spiritual regeneration is the working of God’s grace in us that is marked by genuine faith and obedience unto a righteous life. So John says, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not”. Everyone who is born of God is called to live a sanctified life.
The Greek verb for “sinneth” is in the present tense, thus indicating that those who are genuinely born of God will not continually or habitually sin. The fact that the children of God will not give themselves to a sinful life is repeatedly asserted by John. The triumphant certainty of the power of God’s children to overcome sin has been repeatedly claimed by John. In 1 John 2:29, he said, “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him”. Likewise, John says, “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” (1 John 3:9).
A child of God may fall into temptation and sin. However, his normal condition is one of resistance to sin. The triumphant reality is that all those who believe on Christ do have the power to overcome sin!