Does a born-again Christian never commit sin again? In his book The Spirit-Filled Believers’s Handbook, bible teacher Derek Prince provided some good insights on this subject, that would be helpful to new believers who might be struggling with this issue.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9).
John here directly relates the victorious life of the overcoming Christian to the nature of the seed which produced that life within him – that is, God’s own seed – the incorruptible seed of God’s Word. Because the seed is incorruptible, the life it produces is also incorruptible; that is, absolutely pure and holy.
However, this Scripture does not assert that a born-again Christian can never commit sin. Within every born-again Christian a completely new nature has come into being. Paul calls this new nature “the new man” and contrasts it with “the old man” – the old, corrupt, depraved, fallen nature which dominates every person who has never been born again (see Eph. 4:22-24).
There is a complete contrast between these two: The “new man” is righteous and holy; the “old man” is depraved and corrupt. The “new man,” being born of God, cannot commit sin; the “old man,” being the product of man’s rebellion and fall, cannot help committing sin.
The kind of life which any born-again Christian leads is the outcome of the interplay within him of these two natures. So long as the “old man” is kept in subjection and the “new man” exercises his proper control, there is unsullied righteousness, victory and peace. But whenever the “old man” is allowed to reassert himself and regain his control, the inevitable consequence is failure, defeat and sin.
We may sum up the contrast in this way: The true Christian who has been born again of the incorruptible seed of God’s Word has within him the possibility of leading a life of complete victory over sin. The unregenerate man who has never been born again has no alternative but to commit sin. He is inevitably the slave of his own corrupt, fallen nature.