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Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 1 Prayer, Sin and Victory Looking at 1 John 5.

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Presentation on theme: "Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 1 Prayer, Sin and Victory Looking at 1 John 5."— Presentation transcript:

1 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 1 Prayer, Sin and Victory Looking at 1 John 5

2 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 2 Praying for others In 1 John 5:13-15 John assures us of two important matters of faith. One, we can have knowledge of eternal life, verse 13. And two, we can have confidence in prayer, verses 14-15. John turns now from prayer in general to intercessory prayer. When we pray not for ourselves, but for others, that is intercessory prayer. The first thing we notice in verses 15-16 is that these verses are a powerful affirmation of intercessory prayer, like, Paul to the Thessalonians “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thess. 5:25), or Hebrews with the same request: “Pray for us” (Heb. 13:18). James calls upon the elders of the church to anoint the sick with oil and pray for them (James 5:14); and Paul to Timothy suggesting that prayers should be lifted on behalf of all men (I Tim. 2:1).

3 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 3 Whom do you not pray for? John’s particular illustration is a bit mysterious, because he makes a distinction regarding sin that he doesn’t explain. The distinction is between sins that are mortal and those that are not mortal. The distinction is important, because he says we are to pray for those persons who commit sins that are not mortal, but not for those who commit sins that are mortal.

4 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 4 Two different kinds of sin? Thus there are two kinds of sin. The problem is, what is the difference between them? The Greek here (pros thanaton) literally means “toward death.” Evidently mortal sin is sin that is moving towards death, meaning spiritual death. That is, the goal and end of mortal sin is death. If one persists in this kind of sin it will result in death. But the question remains, which sins are mortal and which are not?

5 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 5 1. Unconscious v “ highhanded ” sin They knew what he meant by this distinction but we don’t. Some distinguish unconscious or unwitting sins, on the one hand, and deliberate, highhanded sins on the other as in the OT. The unconscious sins are not deliberate, or at least they are not premeditated. The sacrifices made on the annual Day of Atonement atoned for those sins. The highhanded sins, on the other hand, are done deliberately, knowing it is against God’s will. Although this distinction is helpful and may present part of the truth, in and of itself it does not fit the New Testament teachings of forgiveness. It leaves the category of sins leading to death much too broad.

6 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 6 What are “ mortal sins ” ? (1) Are “mortal sins” those punishable by death under man’s law? But the passage quite clearly means more than a matter of breaking man-made laws. Or perhaps those punishable by death under God’s law, meaning the Mosaic law of the Old Testament. But most scholars agree that such an interpretation throws Christians back under the Old Covenant after the New Covenant was established. Still a third suggestion is that John meant sins punishable by excommunication. But excommunication is hardly the same as death. So that idea has not gained support.

7 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 7 What are “ mortal sins ” ? (2) Perhaps post-baptism sins. The idea is that God forgives all previous sin when one is converted and baptized, but does not forgive sins committed after one is converted and baptized. But that idea goes beyond the overall teaching of the New Testament, which makes it clear that God does forgive post- baptism sins. Or is the sin that leads to death the one sometimes called the unforgivable sin?

8 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 8 The unforgivable sin (1) Let’s read Lk. 12:10 and parallels and Heb. 6:4- 6. The Lukan passage talks about “blasphemy against the Spirit,” and the passage in Hebrews speaks about true apostates, persons who experience all there is to experience in fellowship with Christ, and yet turn their backs on him. Can we equate these ideas? In the end blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is experiencing all that there is to experience in Christ and then rejecting him.

9 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 9 The unforgivable sin (2) That is the unforgivable sin and the sin that is unto death, for which it does no good to pray. Of course all conscious sin, if persisted in, leads to death. And John has made it clear that Christians are not to sin at all. Therefore the category of sin for which prayer is not helpful has to be a special small category.

10 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 10 The meaning of apostasy Possibly mortal sin refers to those fairly rare apostates to whom Hebrews 6 makes reference. Those people have (like Satan) deliberately, knowingly turned their backs on God and his salvation. They know the consequences of their decisions, and they don’t care. These are the people who have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, who have committed the unforgivable sin (Lk. 12:10 and parallels). It also is important to recognize that this sin is unforgivable not because God won’t forgive it. It is unforgivable because those persons do not want to be forgiven. That’s why it does no good to pray for them.

11 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 11 The refusal to repent The much broader category of sins, the sins that do not lead to death, and for which prayer is helpful, includes primarily conscious sins of which we need to repent and seek forgiveness. One might think that unconscious sins should be included, but unconscious sins are taken care of by Christ’s shed blood as a universal benefit of the atonement, so prayer isn’t really necessary for them. Sins become mortal in an ultimate sense only if a person refuses to repent or seek forgiveness. And that is precisely what those who commit the unforgivable sin have done.

12 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 12 Victory over sin (1) Finally, not only can we have knowledge of eternal life and have confidence in prayer, third, we can have complete, spiritual victory over sin. In verses 18-21 John declares several things about Christians. First, we are free from sin (v18 as in 3:6,9). And the reason we who are born of God (believers) are free from sin is because “the one who is born of God” (Jesus Christ) protects us from the evil one. And that gives us a second point about Christians: Christ protects us from the evil one.

13 Johannine Literature/ 1 John 5 13 Victory over sin (2) Third, we are aware that we are of God in contrast to the world (v. 19). In other words there are two groups: those of us who are children of God make up one group; and those among us who belong to the world and the evil one make up the second group. Fourth, we are aware that the way to being children of God, and of maintaining our relationship to him, is Jesus Christ (v. 20). Through faith in him, and by means of our mutual abiding relationship with him, we are in the One who is true (God), and we have eternal life.

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