1 John 3:4
ESV - 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
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I would distinguish those terms by saying, first, that all people on earth, regardless of religion (or lack of religion), are sinners. In an unsaved state -- which, from a Christian perspective, would be a state of what I would call unbelief (rather than disbelief) -- they are also in varying degrees of rebellion against God -- regardless of how hard they may be trying to conform their conduct to a prescribed standard (whether that is the standard revealed in the Bible, or the standard of another earthly religion) -- since no one is capable of achieving through their own effort the complete sinlessness that God requires. Christians, while still remaining sinners throughout their earthly lives, have ceased from their rebellion by placing their faith not in their own imperfect righteousness, but in the perfect righteousness of Christ, and in His payment on their behalf of the penalty required by God for their sin through His suffering and death, as verified by His resurrection. They also then consciously try to conform their subsequent conduct to Christ's holiness -- not in an attempt to be saved through their actions, but out of gratitude to God for the forgiveness and salvation that He has already granted them. With regard to belief, I would also say that saving belief is not a mere knowledge of the facts of how Christ made it possible for humans to have their sins forgiven and to live eternally in God's presence, but a personal recognition by each person of his or her own individual need for that salvation, and that individual's own specific appropriation of it for himself or herself through faith.
The sin of rebellion is found in Revelation 12:7-17. The dragon, Satan, the old serpent, the Devil, previously known as Lucifer, rebelled against God and caused an uprising in heaven. Driven by pride, selfishness and the desire to exalt himself, Lucifer coveted the worship and honor owed only to the Creator (Ezekiel 28:12-15, 17; Isaiah 14:13, 14). On the other hand, the sin of unbelief is related in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve put their trust in Satan’s lies and doubted God’s word.They turn their backs on God and forfeit their communion with Him through unbelief in favor of the lies of a talking serpent and cool looking fruit (Gen 3:4-6). The sin of unbelief defined in John 16:9 is the cause of the sin in 1 John 3:4. In Hebrews 10:26 we see again the definition of the sin of unbelief. However, Paul here is not saying that if you break the law after knowing the truth there is no more forgiveness. He is saying that if we sin by not believing in Jesus as the Son of God there will be no other sacrifice or Savior. The Christian character is not defined by an occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.
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