1 John 5:16-21 Confidence With God

by | Oct 11, 2023 | 1 John, New Testament

I. Two Kinds Of Sin

A. Sin Not Leading To Death Vs. 16a, 17

1. A “brother”- John is speaking of Christians in both cases re. life or death
2. We need to pray for Christians who are sinning

a. James 5:19, 20 19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
b. It is important that we pray for sinning Christians. Our prayers can turn them from error, save their soul from death, & bring covering of sin.
c. John says that when we pray for sinning Christians (according to God’s will) that God will give that person life.

3. V. 17- All unrighteousness is sin

a. Not all sin leads to God’s early and/or immediate judgment.
b. In fact, it is rare that our sins lead to an early death in this context.

B. Sin Leading To Death V. 16b

1. This does not speak of eternal life or death, but of physical life or death.

a. All sin, unless forgiven by God, leads to spiritual death. (Romans 6:23)

2. John just said in 5:11, 12 that if you have the Son, you have eternal life.

a. Some would argue that this passage applies to apostates.
b. Believer’s Bible Commentary- An apostate is one who has heard the great truths of the Christian Faith, has become intellectually convinced that Jesus is the Christ, has even made a profession of Christianity, although he has never been truly saved. After having tasted the good things of Christianity, he completely renounces them and repudiates the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 6:1-8)

3. There is no Biblical description of any particular sin that leads to physical death.
4. Leading to- at, near, by, to, towards, with, with regard to, facing

a. Maybe a continued sin which ends the life of the Christian, because of the physical damage done to the body. (Alcoholism, drug addiction, high risk immoral behaviors, etc.) A physical consequence of sinful living
b. Maybe a particular sin, which if ever committed, will end the life of the Christian. A spiritual judgment for certain sins. “Mortal sins” (RCC).
c. Some suggest this is about a Christian who may murder someone, and that we should not pray for them to be released from capital punishment.
d. Maybe a merciful & gracious ending of an out of control Christian, who if allowed to live longer, would do terrible damage to the church.

i. That would be something that the Christian shouldn’t pray for.
ii. It is God’s judgment, and it needs to happen.

e. Hebrews 12:28, 29 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29For our God is a consuming fire.

5. Exs. of God’s temporal judgment for sin- Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32
6. How do we know whether or not we should pray for certain Christians?

a. We should pray unless God impresses upon your heart to not pray.
b. Even if we are wrong in our prayers, God will do the right thing.

II. Three Things That We Know (Have Confidence in) Vs. 18-21

A. How The Christian Lives & Should Live V. 18

1. John is not saying that Christians never sin. (See 1 John 1:8-2:2; 5:16)
2. Does not sin- present tense, continuous action.
3. Keeps himself- to take care of, to guard (against a habitual lifestyle of sinning)

a. The Christian guards his life against sin

4. Wicked one- Satan cannot touch (grasp, lay hold of) the Christian

a. Satan can and does oppose the Christian
b. He can come against the Christian in a number of ways
c. But he cannot grasp, lay hold of, or possess the Christian.

B. Assurance Of Belonging To God V. 19

a. Satan is called the Prince Of This World
b. Every person not “in Christ” lies under the influence of the wicked one

i. This does not mean that they are a Satanist, etc.
ii. It does mean that Satan offers them a multitude of choices about what truth is & how to live one’s life. About right & wrong/ light & darkness.
iii. It might be presented as a vicious option. (Mass murder: War in Ruwanda, where Hutus killed approx. 850,000 Tutsis in 3 months in 1994)
iv. It might be presented as a more sophisticated option.
(Abortion: Worldwide- 115,000 per day, 42 million per year. 1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (child is unwanted or inconvenient. http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html).

a) My point isn’t to attack women who have had abortions, or the men who perform them or approve of them.
b) My point is that Satan convinces people that a fetus is not a life.

c. Satan’s greatest weapon isn’t brute force, but deception.

C. Truth Applied Vs. 20, 21

a. The Son of God has come- Not just that “he came”, but that he “has come”.

i. Jesus physically came in his incarnation, & returned to Heaven in his ascension, but spiritually, he has never departed from his church.
ii. Jesus has come for the purpose of giving sp. understanding to his people.
iii. Understanding beyond human intellect and human wisdom.

b. The purpose of that understanding is so that we might know Him who is true.

i. You cannot know Jesus unless you are given understanding to know him.

a) (1 Corinthians, chapters 1 & 2)

ii. Jesus cannot rightly be known via human intellect alone.
iii. You cannot analyze Jesus and know him through human analysis.
iv. As God reveals to you your need for a Savior, you must come in faith, confessing your sin, and accept God’s pardon, and you will be born again.

c. We are in Him- Notice the organic union the Christian has with Jesus.
d. This is the true God and eternal life- confirms the divinity of Jesus.
e. V. 21- If you are in Christ, you have relationship with him, and you need to guard your hearts against spiritual deception in any form.