What does 1 John 5:18 mean?
ESV: We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
NIV: We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.
NASB: We know that no one who has been born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.
CSB: We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.
NLT: We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.
KJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
John's use of "we" in this letter is probably a reference to the apostles, but may also be a reference to the Christians to whom John is writing. As in 1 John 3:6 and 1 John 3:9, John here indicates that sin is never the result of fellowship with Christ. Believers can sin, but those sins are never the result of their walk with Jesus. The normal, expected state of a Christian's life is very different from that of an unbeliever. Temptation will continue to exist and even mature believers will struggle with sin (Romans 7). However, actively pursuing sin as a continual practice is not the mark of someone who has been changed by Christ.

The reference to being "protected" or "kept safe" is challenging to interpret. Some see "he who was born of God" in this verse as a reference to Jesus, but this is not a phrase used to describe Christ anywhere else by John. It has been interpreted to mean other believers, meaning other believers help protect a Christian through prayer and Satan cannot touch him (1 John 5:16–17). While both are possible, a more likely answer is that the phrase ought to be interpreted as "the one born of God keeps himself." In other words, just as John said in 1 John 3:9, walking closely with God means power against sin and temptation.
Verse Context:
First John 5:13–21 closes out the letter by focusing on assurance of salvation. The goal of John's letter is to provide believers with a means to know, for sure, that they have eternal life. Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ can be absolutely sure that they are saved. Despite our failures and sins, God is forgiving. And, through Christ, we have the power to overcome the world's temptations to sin.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 5 concludes the book of 1 John, once again emphasizing the supremacy of love in the Christian experience. Those who put their faith in Christ can know, for sure, that they have eternal life. This assurance comes by trusting what we know of the life of Jesus Christ, as well as the evidence of the Holy Spirit within us. Following God's commands, particularly love, results in confidence of our salvation, as well as strength against the temptations of the world.
Chapter Context:
First John 5 completes the letter by summarizing how Christians can know that they have eternal life. Prior chapters have explained the various signs of ''abiding'' with God, but the key measurement is love. In this final passage, love is once again used as the supreme measurement. In light of the rest of the letter, love for God and love for others is shown to be both a source of confidence and a sign of faith.
Book Summary:
First John seems to assume that the reader is familiar with the gospel. Rather than re-state these facts, John is concerned with building confidence in Christian believers. At the same time, his words encourage believers to examine their own lives for signs of their relationship with Christ. This letter also challenges false teachers and their incorrect claims about Jesus. Many themes are shared with the Gospel of John.
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