1 John 5:18-19, “18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
In all four Gospels, Jesus predicts Peter will deny Him. Only Luke though records the reason for why Peter’s denial is not final. Luke 22:31-34, is where Jesus prayed for Peter so his faith would not fail and it did not. Peter was later restored John 21:15-19 teaches and became a mighty leader in the Early Church, leaving behind two letters that instruct God’s people on the Christian life today.
True Christian effort to overcome sin and remain in the faith is by grace alone, not by our effort, and is only the result of Christ’s preserving work. Even so, we are to overcome sin and put it to death daily through repentance. With that said, we do not rely on ourselves to do so. The true Christian has a Lord and Savior in Jesus who ever lives to make intercession for them and saves them to the uttermost because, like when Jesus prayed for Peter, the Father always responds to the prayers of the Son for Christians (Hebrews 7:25).
In John 5:18-19, John speaks of the Christians about sin, reminding Christian readers that those who have been born of God do not keep living in a pattern and lifestyle of sin. The one who is born of God that is of Jesus, who became Incarnate as the Person of Jesus, protects the Christian, so the evil one may not touch them (1 John 5:18). Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, guards every true Christian who trusts in Him alone and prevents Christians from becoming slaves to sin since now they are bondservants of the Cross.
Even with the above explanation, we need to clarify, that this does not mean that Christians will never disobey the Lord. The Apostle John has taught clearly that Christians can and will sin (1 John 1:8-9). John is focusing his teaching here on how the Christian will never be dominated by sin, not that they won’t sin again. Those with faith in Christ alone, born of God, will not persist in unrepentant sin, for to do so reveals them as apostates (1 John 2:19). Jesus does not allow the evil one to touch His brothers and sisters in the faith (1 John 5:18). Just as he did with Peter, Satan may lead God’s people astray, but the preserving power of Jesus Christ ensures this will not be final for those with saving faith (Luke 22:31-32).
The world though is subject to the power of the evil one, Satan, and cannot receive the benefits of the intercession of Jesus (1 John 5:19). Every single person who lives in unrepentant sin reveals they are not born of God and cannot expect the intercession of Jesus on their behalf.
Again, we need to note; every Christian has remaining sin in them. 1 John 5:18-19 is teaching that true children of God do not live lives of habitual sin. John is not teaching sinlessness in these passages. Instead, he is emphasizing the Christian’s freedom from the domination of sin, because they have had their heart of stone sovereignty removed, and now have a new heart, with new affections and desires, because they belong to a new King in Jesus. The true Christian, therefore, has a new identity in Christ, a new mission to proclaim in the gospel, and a new life purpose because of Jesus Christ.
Today talking about a habitual lifestyle of sin may make you question whether you are a Christian or not. Self-examination is a good thing, but introspection is not. As Christians, we are to evaluate ourselves in light of Christ, and His finished and sufficient work, not in view of we, ourselves being the standard of truth. Only Jesus is the truth, and the truth about Jesus is contained in the Word of God.
So, as we have gazed into the light of God’s Word, and considered the results of a lifestyle of habitual sin, we have also noted the glory of the grace of God. All of this is not to cause us to question our salvation but actually to get us to see our ongoing need of Jesus. Without Jesus, we would live lifestyles of habitual sin. We would love our sin, not hate our sin. The true Christian flees from sin and worldliness, along with all of its devastating effects, because of Jesus.
Today, you can know, even, if there is the tiniest of slivers of evidence in your life that you are a Christian, if you, because of the work of the Holy Spirit, are eager to confess and repentant of sin. That is how you can be sure sin does not dominate you, and you are a real child of God. Take time today, to draw near to Jesus, in repentance, not only saying you are sorry for your sin, but desire to turn from it to Jesus alone, and to be transformed by the renewing of your heart and mind in the Word of God. Then, you can be assured, yes, you are a real child of God. And you can also be sure that the Lord will begin to transform you by His grace through the Holy Spirit for that specific area in your life, and many others for the remainder of your days.