PLUS Resource: 6 Prayers for When You Are Fighting Anxiety

1 John 5

SUMMARY.--How We Show that We Love God. Overcoming the World. The Three Witnesses. The Witness in Ourselves. Prayer. Praying for a Brother Who Sins Not unto Death.

      14-17. And this is the confidence. We may be assured our prayers will be granted, if we ask according to his will. There is this condition. 15. If we know that he hear us. Hear us with open ears. Then we may know that we have what we ask. It will be granted. 16. If a man see his brother sin. Then a brother can be overtaken by sin. Not unto death. There is a sin not unto death, and one unto death. The sin described in Heb. 6:4-6 is evidently unto death; that described in Gal. 6:1 is one not unto death. In the latter case the sinners can be restored, and we may pray for them with the assurance that they will be. This implies both work and prayer. 17. All unrighteousness. All wrong doing is sin, but the condition of soul that sets it against righteousness and against Christ as steel is a sin unto death. Such a soul repels Christ the life.

      18-21. Whosoever is born of God sinneth not. Does not live a life of sin. He will not sin unto death, though he may be overtaken in a fault. See note at end of chapter. That wicked one toucheth him not. Cannot lay hands on him so as to hold him. 19. We know that we are of God. The church is God's temple in which he dwells, and around it the world of wickedness. 20. And we know that the Son of God is come. Not only by testimony from men but by God's witness. We have life in Christ, and Christ dwells in us. This is the true God and eternal life. In Christ the true God is revealed to us and in him we have eternal life. 21. Keep yourselves from idols. Flee from idolatry, the besetting sin of that age. So too we need to flee from the idols of our age. Whatever takes our worship from God is an idol.

      NOTE.--SIN IN THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN. A comparison of passages will show that an extreme and false doctrine might be reached by pressing one class to the exclusion of another class. I give a list:
      I. If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, 1:8 . If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins, 1:9 . If we say we have not sinned we make him a liar, 1:10 . If any man sin (man is not in the Greek), we have an Advocate with the Father, 2:1 . I write these things that you may sin not, 2:1 . If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, 5:16 . There is a sin not unto death, 5:17 .
      These passages all refer to Christians; they teach their liability to sin; show how they may obtain pardon, and show how also they should labor to save an erring brother. One the other hand there is another class which teaches that the Christian is freed from sin.
      II. The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses from all sin, 1:7 . Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not, 3:6 . He cannot sin because he is begotten of God, 3:9 . Whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not, 5:18 .
      If this second class of passages was alone considered they would teach apparently the absolute holiness of the saint. The two classes are to be interpreted in the light of each other. They teach that the germ of sin, dormant, perhaps, remains in us as long as we are in the flesh. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit." We "may be overtaken in a fault," the dormant germ waken, and we be betrayed into sin for the moment. The sin is due to the temporary revival of the old nature. The new nature, the spiritual being born of the new birth, is not disposed to sin, and will be destroyed if the sin is wilful and continued. One born of God cannot engage in willful sin. Nor can he who abides in Christ. He who becomes a wilful sinner does not abide in Christ, nor remain a child of God.

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