Everyone who resides in him does not sin; everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him. (1 John 3:6 NET)
If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. (1 John 4:15 NET)
How can this be? If I sin, then I don’t reside in God, but if I confess Jesus as the Son of God, then I reside in him? Sounds like a contradiction.
When reading the Word, we need to understand the full counsel of God.
These two apparently contradicting verses string together to reveal one thing: FAITH.
When we start our Christian journey, we are still staves to sin but God let’s us into His house anyway. However, even though we may still practise sin at this time, we have FAITH in Jesus and FAITH that God will complete the good work He started in us, transforming us into sons – permanent members of His household.
Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the family forever, but the son remains forever. (John 8:34, 35 NET)
[Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. (John 8:34, 35 KJV)]
This is a call to repent and proof that we must overcome sin to be true sons of God. (And it is by Grace that we overcome).
God is very faithful and gives us time to repent, including us as members of His household even as we are “slaves” (to sin). But He goes on to say that slaves are only temporary members of a household (are these the ones who will say on the last day “you taught in our streets, we did miracles in your name etc and Jesus says ‘depart from me you who practise lawlessness’?). But those who OVERCOME are true sons of God and will reside in His household forever!
Let us have the fear of the Lord, for we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling – but at the same time have faith that He will save us and give us the Grace to overcome. (Hint: be completely honest to yourself and God about the sins you secretly like. You probably lie to yourself saying you don’t like these sins but really do. This is one of the great deceptions in the last days – deceiving ourselves. Confess our sins to one another and pray for each other that we may be healed. God gives grace to the humble, which is salvation through faith and the power to overcome.)
If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up. (John 15:6 NET)
We are saved by faith and grace.
But only “believing” is not enough (even the demons “believe” in Jesus and tremble at His name).
Salvation giving faith and grace is to remain in Him, be connected to Him, to seek, knock and find until you experience that life transforming grace for yourself where old things drop away and joy fills our hearts instead! This is what it is like to be in the kingdom of God – which is now!
So back to 1 John 4:15, the inference here is that if we truly have Holy Spirit residing in us and we have FAITH He will complete His work in us, we wont be able to do anything but practise acts of righteousness, obeying His Word – meaning that we reside in Him!
This is how we know that we will not become a dead branch that gets cut off from the vine and burned in the fire. It is FAITH working through Grace (which changes us into Jesus likeness).