And since most who call themselves Christians have been taught to believe the pagan doctrine of original sin, which is in all actuality just a form of judaism for Gentiles, a system based on salvation by works, most believe that sin is the violation or transgression of the law. A transgression that they believe can't be helped because the flesh is evil. Because they believe they are sinners by nature and not by choice.
But, John was speaking to Israelites who had been under the law in 1John3:4. Saying this to show them that their belief that the law is the mark at which they are supposed to be aiming their trust must be changed to Jesus.
Because if the law is the mark at which they are aiming then the focus of their trust will be in law keeping's ability to make them righteous instead of faith in Jesus. This is what happens when our understanding of sin is the transgression of the law. Because when a man's trust is focused on something other than Jesus that something then becomes his means for righteousness.
See the problem with believing the law, or anything else for that matter, is the mark at which you should be aiming your trust? Aiming your trust at anything other than Jesus puts you in the unenviable position of idol worship.
This should help us stop thinking that it is being good or bad, or being naughty or nice, that either qualifies or disqualifies us from heaven. Because it is not works that cause either a disconnection or a connection to God. It is faith. It is in whom we have believed that connects us to God.
This is why Jesus must be the mark at which we are aiming our trust. The mark we must not miss. Because to miss Him, that is not believing in Him, is the only sin that separates us from God. It is the sin that all who do not believe in Jesus commit that makes them "fall short of God's glory" which is His presence in us".
This was the sin Paul spoke of in Rom.7 when speaking of the sin that was in his members. For him it was an idolatry of the law caused by his making the law the mark at which he was aiming his trust. Which is why after coming to a saving faith in Jesus he said in Phil.3 that he considered all that was gain to him under the law to be "dung" and "loss" compared to knowing Jesus.
Missing Jesus is exactly what Jesus told us in John16:9 is the sin of the world the Holy Spirit would reprove the world of when He came. The sin of the world that John said the lamb of God "taketh away". The sin that is "They believe not on me".
This is why Jesus came. So we could know and believe in God personally. Because when we know and believe in Him we are not sinners saved by grace as so many believe. We are not sinners at all. Because by believing in Him we do not miss the mark. Because the mark is Jesus.
So, whenever we read about sin in the New Testament it means missing the mark by not believing in Jesus. And has nothing to do with works.
With this in mind we can see what John really meant in 1John3:6 when he said, "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." See here how John equates sin with neither having seen or ever having known Jesus? Because sin is to miss Jesus. And we see that it is by believing in Jesus that John says we are abiding in Him. So not sinning is to believe in Jesus.
John follows this in vs.7 with, "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous." We know what this righteousness is by what John says here. It is knowing Jesus. My righteousness is knowing Him.
This is why Jesus said in John17:3 that knowing Him is eternal life. And in Gal.3:21 Paul used life and righteousness synonymous so that we would know that life and righteousness is knowing Jesus.
And continuing in vs.8 John says, "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." John says sin is the work of the devil. And since we know that sin is not believing in Jesus, we know that this is the work of the devil Jesus came to destroy. This is why John says that those who do commit sin are of the devil. Because they do not believe in Jesus.
Then John says in vs.9, "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." John is saying here that the reason that a man who is born of God "can not sin" is because the one who is born of God believes in Jesus. This is why he "can not sin". This is God's seed that remains in the man who believes.
So John showed us here that in the New Testament to sin, that is to miss the mark, is to place our focus on anything other than a relationship with Jesus for righteousness. That sin is to make something or someone else the mark at which we are aiming. And that this is the sin that a believer by definition can not commit. The sin of unbelief.
So by aiming at Jesus we do not sin or miss the mark. And because we do not miss Jesus who is the mark, we do not fall short or lack the glory or presence of God as Rom.3:23 says all men who do not believe in Jesus do. Rather, we who have believed in Jesus have His continual presence because when we believe in Him the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. And by that we are then sealed to God till the day of redemption.
So how will you define sin? By works, or by in whom you have believed? If by works then you are in the Old Covenant and remain under sin's dominion. And to stay there means you will die in those sins just as Jesus told them in John8:24. You will die in the sin of unbelief.
But, if you define sin by who you believe in, and you have believed in Jesus, then you are not a sinner saved by grace. You are righteous. Because in the New Covenant you are not under the dominion of sin which is unbelief. You have not fallen short of the glory of God. And now you can not sin because His seed remains in you because you are born of God. Born of God because you are a believer in Jesus. And as a believer you are heir to God's kingdom.
So don't trust in the "filthy rags" of law worship as Isaiah warned Israel against in Is.64:6. And don't be part of those who in Gal.3:22 are "concluded under sin". And don't be the "wretched man" of Rom.7:23. But, believe in Jesus and Him alone for eternal life.
He is all you need because He is the lamb of God who John said has taken away the sin of the world. He has taken away unbelief by becoming that sin for us who never knew sin so that we can be made the righteousness of God in Him.
He did this by taking all unbelief on Himself as on the cross He joined with us by suffering the consequences of any and all unbelief by being separated from the Father on our behalf. Crying out "Father why hast thou forsaken me?" This then is what it means when the Bible says Jesus died for our sins in 1Cor.15:3.
And in the resurrection He alone has conquered the mortality in which Adam and his progeny have all been made. To give the gift of eternal life to all those whose free will choice means they are not of the devil because by their own free will they have chosen to believe in Him. So that all who believe in Jesus inherit the kingdom of God.
So believe in Jesus now and receive His gift of eternal life. Do as Paul taught in Rom.10:9,10 and confess that He is your Lord. And believe He has raised from the dead. And you will be saved. Saved from death to life. From mortality to immortality. From wrath to peace. And from sin which which we now know is unbelief, to righteousness which is believing.
Do this... and I will see you there or in the air!