(3) Absolute perfection is attained not in this world but in the world to come. The best Christians count themselves still sinners, strive most earnestly for holiness have imputed but not inherent sanctification, are saved by hope.
(b) The theory finds no support in, nor rather is distinctly contradicted by, Scripture.
First, the Scriptures never assert or imply that the Christian may in this life live without sin. Passages like <620306>1 John 3:6, 9, if interpreted consistently with the context, set forth either the ideal standard of Christian living or the actual state of the believer so far as respects his new nature.
<620306> 1 John 3:6 ? ?Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither knoweth him?; 9 ? ?Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.? Ann. Par. Bible, in loco ? ?John is contrasting the states in which sin and grace severally predominate, without reference to degrees in either, showing that all men are in one or the other.? Neander: ?John recognizes no intermediate state, no gradations. He seizes upon the radical point of difference. He contrasts the two states in their essential nature and principle. Either it is love or hate, light or darkness, truth or a lie. The Christian life in its essential nature is the opposite of all sin. If there be sin, it must be the after working of the old nature.? Yet all Christians are required in Scripture to advance, to confess sin, to ask forgiveness, to maintain warfare, to assume the attitude of ill desert in prayer, to receive chastisement for the removal of imperfections, to regard full salvation as matter of hope, not of present experience.
John paints only in black and white; there are no intermediate tints or colors. Take the words In <620306>1 John 3:6 literally, and there never was and never can be a regenerate person. The words are hyperbolical, as Paul?s words in <450602>Romans 6:2 ? ?We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? ? are metaphorical; see E. H. Johnson, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 1892:375, note. The Emperor William refused the request for an audience prepared by a German-American, saying that Germans born in Germany but naturalized in America became Americans: ?Ich kenne Amerikaner, Ich kenne Deutsche, aber Deutsch-Amerikaner kenne Ich nicht? ? ?I know Americans, I know Germans, but German-Americans I do not know.?
Lowrie, Doctrine of St. John, 110 ? ?St. John uses the noun sin and the verb to sin is two senses: to denote the power or principle of sin or to
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