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The Letters of John

BC Weekly Digest
Monday, January 4 1999

In this issue:

	1 John 5:16,17
	1 John 5:13-15
	1 John 5:16-18
	1 John 5:18
	1 John 5:16
	1 John 5:19
	1 John 5:20
	1 John 5:21
	1 John 5:13

1 John 5:16,17

1 John 5:16,17 (OPV)
16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a non-deadly sin, 
he will ask, and [God] will give him life for those who 
are committing non-deadly sins. There is deadly sin. I am 
not saying that you should ask concerning that. 
17 All unrighteousness is sin. But there is non-deadly 
5:14 "If anyone sees his brother sinning a non-deadly 
  First we must note the word 'brother'. This relates to 
Christians praying for each other.
  Good parents and teachers do not 'correct' a child for 
every single thing he does wrong, or the child will 
become frustrated and discouraged.
  The same applies among Christians. We all stumble in 
many respects (James 3:1). If we treat others the way we 
want to be treated, we will not point out every sin or 
shortcoming we happen to notice in someone else.
  Our goal is not to sin at all, but thankfully "we have 
an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous 
One" (1 John 2:1 OPV). 
  I have been blessed by close acquaintance with great 
men and women of faith during my lifetime. Yet, they all 
had flaws. To make it our job to point them all out, 
either to them or to others, would be unkind, unjust, and 
would probably mean that we would be condemning 
5:16 "He will ask, and [God] will give him life for those 
who are committing non-deadly sins" 
  In many cases it is enough, when we see a brother 
sinning, but not in such a way that it separates him from 
the grace of God, to say a prayer to our Father and ask 
Him to forgive as He has promised. The Lord was crucified 
for us. We do not need to crucify one another.
5:16 "There is deadly sin. I am not saying that you 
should ask concerning that"
  There is, of course, a limit to what sins are covered 
by the grace of God in the normal course of a Christian's 
  Legalists will immediately want a 'list' of the sins 
which are deadly and the ones which are not. But it is 
not that simple. It does not say 'deadly sins' but 
'deadly sin'. John does not give us a list. He just 
points out that there is deadly sin and there is non-
deadly sin. He does seem to expect us to be able to 
distinguish between the two, generally speaking.
  Although there is no 'list' of deadly sins in the 
Scriptures, we do have some examples to help us know what 
is under consideration.
  In the letter to the church at Thyatira, Jesus warns: 
"But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman 
Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching 
and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to 
eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, 
but she refuses to repent of her immorality" (Rev 2:20,21 
RSV). Even this Jezebel was given time to repent, but her 
time was up. Not only was she wrong, it was wrong for 
Christians to tolerate her.
  At Corinth, certain people who were committing deadly 
sins were being fellowshipped. "It is actually reported 
that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is 
not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his 
father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather 
to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among 
you" (1 Cor 5:1,2 RSV). Paul goes on to explain: "I wrote 
to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; 
not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the 
greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would 
need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you 
not to associate with any one who bears the name of 
brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an 
idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber -- not even to eat 
with such a one. For what have I to do with judging 
outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] whom you 
are to judge?" (1 Cor 5:9-12 RSV). 
  These passages are not exhaustive in defining what is 
included among deadly sins, but they give us an idea of 
what is meant. In such cases we can pray to God that the 
person involved will repent and be restored.
  We can also follow the Lord's instructions on how to 
deal with such people, and try to save them from 
destruction. But we cannot just ask God to forgive them, 
because they are committing deadly sins. 
5:17 "All unrighteousness is sin. But there is non-deadly 
  John emphasizes that all unrighteousness is sin. The 
better we know Jesus Christ, our great example, and the 
holiness of God through studying the Scriptures, the 
better we understand how unrighteous and sinful we are, 
and how much we need the grace of God.
  With Paul we cry: "Wretched man that I am! who shall 
deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with 
the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the 
flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no 
condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" 
(Rom 7:24 -- 8:1 ASV). 
  This grace does not mean that we may excuse our flaws, 
weaknesses and shortcomings. But neither may be become 
overwhelmed and discouraged because we continually fall 
short. There is non-deadly sin and God loved us so much 
that He sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins 
(1 John 2:2). We may ask this forgiveness not only for 
ourselves but also for a brother.
Roy Davison 


1 John 5:13-15

John's Purpose in Writing
 If we read John's writings, from his gospel through the Revelation -
we see that his chief aim is to bring believers into full fellowship with
the Father and His Son. John says this means ' walking in the light' -
a transformed lifestyle, modeled after the example of love, submission,
and obedience seen in Jesus.
 This requires more than just belief in the existence of Deity, but a
submission to Christ's example and to the Father's will.
 We imitate His lifestyle - we walk in His steps -when we love and trust
the Father enough to say as Jesus did: "not my will, but thine be done" -
then we know that we have arrived at the spiritual plateau where full
fellowship with Him is possible !!
 When we really live the example we see in Jesus, when our thinking
has been transformed to do the father's perfect will - we know that our
requests will be honored - because they conform to His desires!
 Born into His family, conformed to His will - we know that a loving
Father will meet all our needs and furnish us with ' all that pertains to life
and godliness '.
Read John 15:7,16; 1 John 1:1-7; 1 John 3:22; Hebrews 5:7-9; and 
2 Peter 1:3.
J.Lee Roberts

1 John 5:16-18

1 John 5:16-18

5:16 "If anyone sees his brother sinning a non-deadly 
sin, he will ask, and [God] will give him life for those 
who are committing non-deadly sins. There is deadly sin. 
I am not saying that you should ask concerning 
  This is indeed a very difficult passage. There are 
various explanations given by just as many scholars. Some 
teach that this is referring to blasphemy, but I tend to 
disagree. I believe this is talking about two different 
categories of sin. 
  While some may believe that this refers to degrees of 
sin, I believe that the Bible teaches that all sin is 
fatal to the soul if left uncorrected (Hebrews 2:2): "For 
if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and 
every transgression and disobedience received a just 
recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect 
so great a salvation? which having at the first been 
spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them 
that heard"(KJV). See also Ezekiel 3:20.
  It is sin that causes the second death which is a 
separation from God. It occurs after the first death which 
is a physical death (Hebrews 9:27). The second death comes 
immediately after judgment for those who have separated 
themselves from God through sin (Revelation 21:8). The 
only way to avoid this second death is to not only be His 
child but to be truly aware of our sins and to have a 
repentive heart. If we do not have such a deep concern for 
our own welfare, as well as the welfare of others, we will 
become lost. 
  Realizing this, we are to not only pray for our own sins 
but also for the sins of our fellow saints. It is for this 
reason that John wrote these words of warning to us.
  If we see a brother sin, but that brother is aware of 
his sin and is trying to overcome it, then we are to pray 
for his efforts to be successful. If necessary, we are to 
also assist him by teaching, encouraging him and 
admonishing him as necessary. If he is making the effort 
to redeem himself before the Lord, our prayers will be 
  On the other hand, let us suppose that another brother 
commits a sin for which there is evidence that he has not 
repented or that he is not even aware of his sin. Simply 
praying for him is not enough and God will not respond to 
prayer alone by others on his behalf. It will require 
direct intervention by other Christians with him to 
rectify the situation. God requires that we all be "our 
brother's keeper." While this verse may just as well mean 
that any unrepented sin can be fatal to one's soul, it 
also seems quite logical that this fatal sin is one of an 
insidious nature and one of which the sinner may more 
often not be aware.

5:17 "All unrighteousness is sin. But there is non-deadly 
  There is a kind or type of sin that is fatal to the 
soul. It is the sin of which we are either unaware or of 
which are unwilling to repent. Without forgiveness, we are 
lost. We must always be aware of sin in our lives because 
sin separates us from the presence of God. All 
unrighteousness is sin by its very nature. When we pray, 
we should always ask God to forgive all our sins, 
including those of which we are unaware.

5:18 "We know that anyone having been born of God does not 
continue sinning, but He who is born of God watches over 
him, and the evil one does not have a hold on him"(OPV).
  This verse does not teach the "impossibility of 
apostasy" as do some of our denominational friends. What 
it does teach is that Christians are not to sin; but that 
God is aware that we are human and that we all do sin from 
time to time. Because of this fact, He has given us the 
means to escape the consequences of sin through 
forgiveness. In Romans 3:23, the apostle Paul states."For 
all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God". 
  In 1 John 1:9, John tells us that God is faithful to 
forgive each one of His children if we will just ask Him. 
Christians aren't perfect, but they can be forgiven. That 
means that we must still try to live God-like lives even 
though we realize that we still commit sin because we are 
human and not perfect. It is only through our committment 
to His Son that we can have forgiveness from sin. When we 
bare our souls before God, He is faithful and just and 
will forgive us. (1 John 1:9) 
  Thus Jesus will have become our Shepherd indeed.
Howard Justice


1 John 5:18

1 John 5:18 (OPV)
18 We know that anyone having been born of God does not 
continue sinning, but He who is born of God watches over 
him, and the evil one does not have a hold on him.
5:18 "Anyone having been born of God"
  This refers to the rebirth, the birth from above, the 
birth of water and the Spirit without which no one can 
enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8). It occurs only by 
the will of God (John 1:13).
  This rebirth is based on love (1 John 4:7) and faith 
(1 John 5:1,4).
5:18 "Does not continue sinning"
  Remember that John is refuting false teachers who said 
one could continue sinning "in the flesh" as long as he 
served God "in his spirit." Here John repeats the truth 
stated in chapter three: "Anyone who has been born of God 
does not keep on practicing sin, because His seed abides 
in him, and he is not able to keep on sinning, because he 
has been born of God" (1 John 3:9 OPV).
  Paul refutes a similar false teaching: "Shall we 
continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. We who 
died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? Or are 
ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ 
Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried 
therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like 
as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of 
the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life" 
(Rom 6:1-4 ASV).
5:18 "But He who is born of God"
  There is ambiguity as to whether this refers to Christ 
or to a reborn believer. In this translation it is 
understood as referring to Christ.
5:18 "Watches over him, and the evil one does not have a 
hold on him"
  If understood to refer to the believer, it is translated 
"keeps himself."
  The Greek word can mean "to watch over protectively" the 
way a shepherd "keeps" sheep, or it can mean to "maintain 
or keep in condition". The ambiguity is of no real 
consequence since both are true. Christ watches over us 
and we also must watch ourselves!
5:18 "And the evil one does not have a hold on him"
  Jesus gives us this assurance: "My sheep hear my voice, 
and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them 
eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one 
shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath 
given [them] unto me, is greater than all; and no one is 
able to snatch [them] out of the Father's hand" (John 
10:27-29 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 5:16

1 John 5:16  Praying For Others
  Having assured his readers that God answers the prayers of those who
have learned submission to the Father's will, John now reminds believers
to use prayer unselfishly to intercede for others.
  Scriptural examples are numerous of prayer being used to show heartfelt
concern for the needs of others. Abraham petitioned God on behalf of the
wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah ( Genesis 18:23 - 32 ). Job 
was instructed to pray for his misguided friends ( Job 42:8-10 ). Moses
often made intercession for the disobedient children of Israel ( Exodus
32:32; Numbers 14:19; Deuteronomy 9:26 ). And there is an example in
1 Chronicles 21:17 where David pleaded with God for his people. 
  Christ and his apostles also give us a number of very moving examples
of deep concern for others in their prayers. Who could forget the Lord's 
care for Peter:" Satan demanded to have you...but I have prayed for you..."
( Luke 22:31,32 ). And Luke also records His prayer for those who 
crucified him:" Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"
( Luke 23:34 RSV ).
  And I am moved by His prayer for all His future disciples in John 17:20
RSV " I do not pray for these only [ apostles ], but also for those who 
believe in me through their word."
  This certainly motivates me to earnestly pray for others as did Paul and 
his companions as they evangelized and remembered their brethren
individually in their supplications  ( Read 1 Thessalonians 1:2 and
Ephesians 1:16 ).
  Let us practice John's exhortation and Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy
2:1..." I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings
be made for all men ...."
J.Lee Roberts

1 John 5:19

1 John 5:19 (OPV)
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is 
found in the evil one. 
5:19 "We know"
  Recall that John is emphasizing things Christians know, 
as he exposes the pseudo-knowledge of the gnostics:
"We know that we know Him" (1 John 2:2).
"We know that we are in Him" (1 John 2:5).
"We know that it is the final hour" (1 John 2:18).
"We know that we have passed from death into life" 
(1 John 3:14).
"We know love" (1 John 3:16).
"We know that He remains in us" (1 John 3:24).
"We know the spirit of truth" (1 John 4:6).
"We know that we abide in Him, and He in us" 
(1 John 4:13).
"We know that we love the children of God" (1 John 5:2).
"We know that He hears us" (1 John 5:15).
  Now he sums it all up:
"We know that anyone having been born of God does not 
continue sinning" (1 John 5:18). 
"We know that we are of God, and the whole world is found 
in the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, 
and has given us understanding that we might know the True 
One, and we are in the True One, in His Son Jesus Christ" 
(1 John 5:19,20).
5:19 "We are of God"
  With these four words John says so much. "We are of God" 
(1 John 4:6). "You are of God" (1 John 4:4).
  Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 
1:27; 5:1; James 3:9). Our sins separated us from God 
(Isaiah 59:2). But through Christ we have been reconciled 
(Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:18; Col 1:22) and have become the 
righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). We are children of God 
(John 1:12; 11:52; Rom 8:14,16; Gal 3:26; Phil 2:15; 
1 John 3:1,2) and thereby heirs of God (Rom 8:17). We are 
men and women of God (2 Tim 3:17), servants of God (Titus 
1:1), slaves of God (1 Peter 2:16), the people of God (Heb 
4:9; 1 Peter 2:10), priests of God (Rev 20:6; 1 Peter 
2:4,5), the Israel of God (Gal 6:16). We are the temple of 
God (1 Cor 3:16,17; 2 Cor 6:16), a habitation of God (Eph 
2:22), the church of God (Gal 1:13; 1 Thes 2:14), the 
flock of God (1 Peter 5:2), the household of God (Eph 
2:19; 1 Tim 3:15), the city of God (Ps 46:4; 87:3; Heb 
  What a blessing to be of God.
5:19 "The whole world is found in the evil one"
  This does not mean that people in the world never do 
anything good. But it does mean that they are under the 
power of the devil.
  Arrogant hearers of Jesus boasted that they had never 
been enslaved to anyone. Jesus replied: "Verily, verily, I 
say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the 
bondservant of sin "(John 8:34 ASV). 
  "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for 
we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that 
they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none 
righteous, no, not one" (Rom 3:9,10 ASV). 
  The righteousness of God can only come through faith in 
Jesus Christ, "for all have sinned, and fall short of the 
glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through 
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth 
[to be] a propitiation, through faith, in his blood" 
(Rom 3:23-25 ASV).
  Christ "gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver 
us out of this present evil world, according to the will 
of our God and Father" (Gal 1:4 ASV), "who delivered us 
out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the 
kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our 
redemption, the forgiveness of our sins" 
(Col 1:13,14 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 5:20

1 John 5:20 (OPV)
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given 
us understanding that we might know the True One, and we 
are in the True One, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the 
True God, and eternal life.
5:20 "We know that the Son of God has come"
  Jesus came from the Father (John 16:28). He came for 
judgment (John 9:39). He came to save sinners (1 Timothy 
1:15). He came to be King (John 18:37). As Martha 
confessed: "Yea, Lord: I have believed that thou art the 
Christ, the Son of God, [even] he that cometh into the 
world" (John 11:27 ASV). 
5:20 "And has given us understanding"
  In Daniel it was foretold: "Many shall run to and fro, 
and knowledge shall increase" (Daniel 12:4 RSV). We live 
in a time when people jet back and forth from one side of 
the earth to the other, and in a time when the whole world 
is connected to millions of knowledge bases via the 
Internet. There is a superabundance of knowledge, and a 
super lack of understanding.
  Science and engineering are great sources of knowledge, 
but true understanding comes only from God.
  In Ephesians, chapter four, we read that when Christ 
returned to the Father, He gave gifts to men (verse 8). 
His gifts were the various functions of leadership in the 
church (verse 11) so the body of Christ might build itself 
up in love "till we all attain unto the unity of the 
faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God" (verse 16). 
This allows us to escape from the lack of understanding 
that prevails in the world at large: "This I say 
therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk 
as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, 
being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the 
life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, 
because of the hardening of their heart" (Eph 4:17,18 
  True wisdom and understanding are gifts of God: "But if 
any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth 
to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given 
him" (James 1:5 ASV).
5:20 "That we might know the True One"
  If you search for the wisdom that comes through the Word 
of God "then you will understand the fear of the LORD and 
find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from 
his mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 
  "Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge 
of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:2 ASV).
5:20 "And we are in the True One, in His Son Jesus Christ"
  Not only do we know God, we are IN God, when we are in 
  "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God 
abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and have 
believed the love which God has in us. God is love, and he 
who abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in him" 
(1 John 4:15,16 OPV).
  On the basis of our confession of faith we are baptized 
into Christ (Gal 3:26,27), "For by one Spirit we were all 
baptized into one body" (1 Cor 12:13 RSV), "for you died, 
and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col 3:3 OPV).
5:20 "This is the True God, and eternal life"
  God IS eternal life, the I AM, the source of all life, 
the source our eternal life.
Roy Davison


1 John 5:21

1 John 5:21 (OPV)
"Little children, guard yourselves from idols."
  In many countries throughout the world, idol worship is 
still prevalent. In the Roman Catholic Church and the 
Orthodox churches there are even people who bow down 
before statues and icons in the name of Christianity!
  In addition, there is much "hidden" idolatry. The old 
heathen gods have gone 'underground'. Mars the god of war, 
Bacchus the god of wine, and Mammon the god of money still 
have hosts of worshippers! And many more could be added to 
the list.
  In the past, images were limited to cold, lifeless 
statues. At present, virtually every home in many 
countries has an image in the corner which, although it is 
still lifeless, can move, talk and perform the most 
amazing feats of magic! I refer to the television, which 
has become an idol in many homes.
  Thus, John's warning is needed as much now as it was two 
thousand years ago. "Little children, guard yourselves 
from idols!"
Roy Davison


1 John 5:13

1 John 5:13
  In connection with 1 John 5:13 which says "I have 
written these things to you so you may know that you have 
eternal life" the question has been submitted "When does 
Eternal Life begin? In Heaven or here on earth?"
  Many Christian blessings begin now, but reach their 
final culmination in the Father's house.
  As stated here, we can know that we HAVE eternal life. 
He who believes, HAS eternal life (John 6:4). He who eats 
the flesh of Christ and drinks His blood HAS eternal life 
(John 6:54). But Jesus goes on to explain: "And I will 
raise him up at the last day" (John 6:54). In other words, 
HAVING eternal life does not mean that we will not die 
physically, but it means that through Christ we will live 
eternally with God after the resurrection.
  Yet, Jesus also said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
If a man keep my word, he shall never see death" (John 
8:51 ASV).
  The Jewish leaders thought this statement proved 
that Jesus had a demon! They did not understand that He 
was talking about a different kind of death other than 
physical death.
  To Martha He explained: "I am the resurrection, and the 
life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he 
live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never 
die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:25.26 ASV).
  There are different kinds of life and different kinds of 
death. First Jesus says that someone who believes on Him, 
even though he die, shall live. Physical death will not 
prevent him from living spiritually. Then He says that any 
one who lives and believes on Him, shall never die. This 
is not a contradiction because He is talking about 
different kinds of life and death. Through the spiritual 
rebirth we have new life through Christ, and this new 
spiritual life in Christ cannot be taken away from us by 
those who can only kill the body (see Matthew 10:28). 
  With regard to the body, however, there is a sense that 
we will receive eternal life on the day of judgment when 
our bodies are raised (Matthew 25:26; 1 Corinthians 15:42-
55). Jesus promised: "There is no man that hath left 
house, or wife, or brethren, or parents, or children, for 
the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold 
more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life" 
(Luke 18:29,30 ASV // Mark 10:30). In this sense we also 
have "hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:2; 3:7).
Roy Davison