1 John 5:18 – We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. [New American Standard Bible]
To understand what this verse is really saying, one must understand that God actually sees two kinds of sin. Here, in verse 18, He refers to one of them specifically, and not the other. Understanding this will clear up all the confusion!
But first, let’s see how some other versions of the Bible have translated 1 John 5:18 in an attempt to clarify its meaning. The New International Version states “…anyone born of God does not continue to sin…“, while the New Living Translation read “God’s children do not make a practice of sinning…“. At first, both of these versions seem like the correct interpretation. However, looking at the immediate context of verse 18 (verses 16 and 17), we believe that God meant literally…“no one who is born of God sins”. But He is referring to a very specific kind of sin.
1 John 5: 16, 17 – If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
One kind of sin leads to death, and the other does not! Also, we see that all unrighteousness is sin, but that it does not necessarily mean that the consequence of all sin is death. Verse 18 actually refers to the sin that leads to death, and therefore to eternal separation from God. But us who are truly of God (who have accepted Jesus-Christ as Lord) cannot commit such sin, because we cannot be separated from God! Verse 18 is not referring to the kind of sin that everyone makes.We are God’s children for eternity! Once we were declared son or daughter of God, we were promised eternal life. And that cannot change!
To God be the Glory!