In this blog, we see look into the deception of Sabbath followers and Christians who insist on following the law quoting 1 John 3:4 that John taught sin is lawlessness (or not doing the law).
Quick Recap on what Gentiles must follow
As we had seen in previous blogs, Gentiles were never given the law, nor they were under it anytime. Gentiles are not to follow the old covenant for it doesn’t promise back anything to them (Isa 56:6) but the new covenant what Jesus Christ taught (Deut 18:18-19) for all nations (Matt 28:18-20) which is cleaning the inside of our hearts to be righteous and holy (Mark 7:21-23). Do not commit murder is the law. But Jesus said, being angry with a brother without a cause is equal to murder is not in the law but New Covenant. Do not commit adultery is the law. But Jesus said, even lusting a woman in the heart is never found in the law but of the New Covenant. (Matt 5:21-30).
We must not commit any abominations which God expects from all nations either Jew or Gentile (Lev 18:27) that is incest (Lev 18:6-17), marrying multiple sisters (Lev 18:18), approaching woman in customary impurity (Lev 18:19), committing adultery (Lev 18:20), aborting or kill your own children (Lev 18:21), homosexuality (Lev 18:22), bestiality (Lev 18:23).
We must follow the laws given to Noah which is for all mankind that is, not eat flesh with blood and not to murder (Gen 9:4-6). Cleansing the inside of our hearts was not found in the law but Christ’s teachings are fully about them. The old covenant law will one day pass away (Matt 5:18) but Christ’s words will never pass away (Matt 24:35).
Deception of Sin is not lawlessness
1John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness
Christian Sabbath-keepers and those who insist on following the law will quote the above verse to show sin is nothing but not following the law. Does the verse really say that? Let’s investigate.
1John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness (G458 ἀνομία anomia).
Heb 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless (G458 ἀνομία anomia) deeds I will remember no more.”
Jer 31:34 .. For I will forgive their iniquity (H5771 עָוֹן `avon ), and their sin I will remember no more.”
Jer 31:34 … for I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more. (LXX)
As we can see above, lawlessness (not following the law) is the same word used in Hebrew 8:12 which is actually quoting Jer 31:34. However, If we read Jer 31:34, we can see the correct translation is not lawlessness but iniquity. Not once it was referred as lawlessness in Hebrew. John is saying that committing sin is iniquity and we need to practise righteousness.
1 John 3:4,7 Whoever commits sin also commits iniquity, and sin is iniquity. … He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
What’s the difference?
Sin is a broader term generally means to miss, fail or simply refers to mistake. However, iniquity is a much harsher term referring to twistedness. In other words, iniquity is something you purposefully twist to miss or fail. Hence, John is saying that everything you miss of fail to obey God, you are doing it purposefully, because sin is iniquity.