No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
No true believer can continue in sin without feeling the weight of the conviction of the Holy Spirit heavy on their hearts. Sin may be is ever active, but it no longer reigns. There is a seed placed within us when we become believers which will prevent us from sinning – not that we will never sin, but that sin will not grow roots in our lives. We water the seed through prayer, fertilize it by abiding in the word of God, and God Himself provides the light to make the seed grow. Fellowship and accountability with other believers pollinates to help the fruit of righteousness grow in our life. Although at times a weed of sin will sprout up from our old nature, we will desire to completely uproot it with the sword of the Spirit from the garden of our life.
Verse 10 echoes Jesus’ statement regarding the greatest commandment. If we are of God we will practice his righteousness and love our brother as ourselves. The fact that we cannot achieve perfection in either goal should not discourage us from pursuing the prize. A child of God will be always ready to perform acts of kindness for the comfort, relief, and support of any human being, especially fellow believers.
Matthew Henry write, “To be born of God is to be inwardly renewed by the power of the Spirit of God. Renewing grace is an abiding principle. Religion is not an art, a matter of dexterity and skill, but a new nature. And the regenerate person cannot sin as he did before he was born of God, and as others do who are not born again. There is that light in his mind, which shows him the evil and malignity of sin. There is that bias upon his heart, which disposes him to loathe and hate sin. There is the spiritual principle that opposes sinful acts. And there is repentance for sin, if committed. It goes against him to sin with forethought.”