“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:9 (NIV)

The person born of God will not continue to sin. They cannot go on sinning. Really? How can this be? The reason why the Christian will not and cannot continue in sin is because he is born of God and God’s seed remains in him. The new birth makes continuing in sin impossible.

If sin is your friend, God is your enemy. If God is your friend, sin is your enemy. James says “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). But the Christian is never wholly free from sin in this life. Indeed anyone, [including any Christian], who says or even thinks he is without sin deceives himself (1 John 1:8).

You can’t live under water

When a child is in the womb, that life is surrounded by water. The child lives in the water, not in the air. As soon as the child’s first breath is taken, the nature of its life is changed. From that moment on, the child can no longer live in the water. The child has a new life that’s lived in the air.

The child can go in water, swim though water, and even go under the water. You can hold your breath and stay under water for 30 seconds or a minute, or more. But you cannot continue under the water.  

What once was your life is no longer possible for you. You cannot go back to it. Being born has changed the nature of your life. What used to be natural has now become, not just difficult, but impossible.

You can’t live in sin

That’s what it is like when you are born again. When you are born again you cannot continue in sin. The sinner is comfortable with sin. It doesn’t bother him. But when you are born again, your conscience is activated. You can’t settle with something that you know is wrong in your life. Holding onto a sin for a Christian is like holding your breath under water. It takes a great effort and you can’t do it for long.

In the new birth God becomes your friend, and sin becomes your enemy. You can’t live with sin like you did when sin was your friend. You turn from it. And when you fall into sin you turn from it again.

Repentance is a life-long process. We learned before that repentance is: turning from as much as you know of your sin, to give as much as you know of yourself, to as much as you know of God. That’s a lifetime pursuit, and it begins with the new birth.

This LifeKey is based on the message “Signs of Life,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith on May 10, 2009, from the series “Regeneration: How Christ Changes Your Soul.”