THE JUSTIFIED AND REGENERATE STATE DOES NOT ADMIT OF COMMITTING SIN.
"AN immediate and constant fruit of this faith whereby we are born of God, a fruit which can in no wise be separate from it, no, not for an hour, is power over sin, — power over outward sin of every kind; every evil word and work . . . . '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 iii. 9). But some men will say, 'True; whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin habitually.' Habitually! Whence is that? I read it not. It is not written in the Book. God plainly saith, 'He doth not commit sin;' and thou addest habitually! Who art thou that mendest the oracles of God? . . . Suffer we the apostle to interpret his own words by the whole tenor of his discourse. In the fifth verse of this chapter, he had said, 'Ye know that He (Christ) was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.' What is the inference he draws from this? 'Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth has not seen Him, neither known Him' (v. 6). To this enforcement of this important doctrine, he premises a highly necessary caution, — 'Little children, let no man deceive you' (v. 7); for many will endeavor so to do, to persuade you that you may be unrighteous, that you may commit sin, and yet be the children of God; 'he that doeth righteousness is righteous even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning.' Then follows: 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.' 'In this,' adds the apostle, 'the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.' By this plain mark (the committing or not committing sin) are they distinguished from each other. To the same effect are those words in the fifth chapter: 'We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not' (v. 18)." — Sermons, vol. i. p.155.
"No one who is so born of God as hath been above described, who continually receives into his soul the breath of life from God, the gracious influence of His Spirit, and continually renders it back; one who thus believes and loves, who by faith perceives the continual actings of God upon his spirit, and by a kind of spiritual reaction returns the grace he receives, in unceasing love, and praise, and prayer; not only does not commit sin, while he thus keepeth himself, but so long as this 'seed remaineth in him, he cannot sin, because he is born of God.'
"By sin, I here understand, outward sin, according to the plain, common acceptation of the word; an actual, voluntary transgression of the law; of the revealed, written law of God; of any commandment of God, acknowledged to be such at this time that it is transgressed. But 'whosoever is born of God'; while he abides in faith and love, and in the spirit of prayer and thanksgiving, not only doth not, but cannot thus commit sin. So long as he thus belleveth in God through Christ, and loves Him, and is pouring out his heart before Him, he cannot voluntarily transgress any command of God, either by speaking or acting what he knows God hath forbidden; so long that seed which remaineth in him, that loving, praying, thankful faith, compels him to refrain from whatsoever he knows to be an abomination in the sight of God." — Sermons, vol. i. p.164.
"But even babes in Christ are in such a sense perfect, or born of God (an expression taken also in divers senses) as first, not to commit sin . . . . Now the Word of God plainly declares, that even those who are justified, who are born again in the lowest sense, do not continue in sin; that they cannot 'live any longer therein' (Rom. vi. 1, 2); that they are 'planted together in the likeness of the death' of Christ (verse 5); that their 'old man Is crucified with him,' the body of sin being destroyed, so that henceforth they do not serve sin; that being dead with Christ, they are free from sin (verses 6 and 7); that they are 'dead unto sin and alive unto God' (verse 11); that 'sin hath no more dominion over them who are 'not under the law, but under grace'; but that these, 'being free from sin,' are become the servants of righteousness (verses 14 and 18) ."— Sermons, vol.1. p. 359.
"He that is by faith, born of God, sinneth not; 1st, by any habitual sin, for all habitual sin is reigning, but sin cannot reign in any that believeth. Nor, 2d, by any willful sin, for his will while he abideth in that faith is utterly set against all sin, and abhorreth it as deadly poison. Nor, 3d, by any sinful desire; for he continually desireth the holy and perfect will of God; and any tendency to an unholy desire, he. by the grace of God, stifleth in the birth. Nor, 4th, doth he sin by infirmities, whether in act, word, or thought; for his infirmities have no concurrence of his will; and without this they are not properly sins. Thus, 'he that is born of God doth not commit sin.' And though he cannot say he hath not sinned, yet now, he sinneth not." — Sermons, vol. I. p. 16.
"Although they feel the root of bitterness in themselves, yet are they endowed with power from on high, to trample it continually under foot, so that it cannot 'spring up to trouble them;' insomuch, that every fresh assault which they undergo, only gives them fresh occasion of crying out, 'Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ' " —Sermons, vol. I. p. 69.