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First John: 1 John 5:17-All Unrighteousness is Sin But There is a Sin that Does Not Lead to Death Lesson # 203

First John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  58:11
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First John: 1 John 5:17-All Unrighteousness is Sin But There is a Sin that Does Not Lead to Death

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If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. (ESV)
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Tuesday November 6, 2018
www.wenstrom.org
Lesson # 203
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. (ESV)
If anyone observes carefully his fellow-believer who does not exist in the state of committing a particular type of sin resulting in death, he then must make a request so that He will graciously give to him life. I repeat-those who do not exist in the state of committing a particular type of sin resulting in death. There does exist a particular type of sin resulting in death. With this regards to this type, under no circumstances do I say that he should make a request. 17 Each and every unrighteous thought, word or action is characterized as sin. However, there does exist a particular type of sin never resulting in death. (My translation)
instructs the recipients of First John regarding intercessory prayer on behalf of a fellow member of the Christian community.
Specifically, it asserts that they must intercede in prayer to the Father on behalf of a fellow-believer who “does not exist in the state” of committing a particular type of sin which results in their physical death.
Conversely, it also instructs the recipients of First John that they must never intercede in prayer to the Father on behalf of a fellow-believer who “does exist in the state” of committing a particular type of sin which does result in their physical death.
Verse 16 begins with the apostle John continuing his discussion regarding prayer by solemnly presenting a hypothetical situation which could possibly take place in the Christian community.
The sin unto death in is not speaking of spiritual death of the unbeliever since John is clearly addressing believers which is indicated by the fact that John employs the noun adelphos, which means “spiritual brothers and sisters, fellow-believer, fellow-Christian.”
Also, when John speaks of “death” in , he is not referring to the spiritual death of the believer or in other words, the believer out of fellowship with God, which is indicated by the fact that in he teaches that the confession of sin to the Father is solution to loss of fellowship with God.
“Death” in is referring to the believer suffering dying discipline as a result of refusing to repent of a particular sin or in other words, the word speaks of a believer being put to death by God as a result of unrepentantly living in apostasy because they refuse to confess this sin and live according to His will.
Paul refers to this death in .
So therefore, in , when the apostle John refers to a Christian who exists in the state of committing a particular type of sin which results in their death, he is referring to the Father disciplining this believer as a result of the latter refusing to repent of this sin by confessing this sin and obeying the Father’s will.
This type of believer is in apostasy.
So John is teaching that the child of God in apostasy will be disciplined by God.
If they refuse to repent, they will be disciplined.
In other words, if the child of God stubbornly refuses to confess their sins to the Father, they will be disciplined by God.
There are three categories of divine discipline (punishment) for the disobedient child of God: (1) Warning (; ) (2) Intense (; ). (3) Dying (; ; Phlp. 3:18-19; ; ; ).
The believer in apostasy is not only subject to divine discipline by God but also discipline from the church.
In fact, one of the ways that God disciplines the apostate believer is through the church.
Church discipline is taught in , ; ; ; ; ; ; ; .
The purpose of church discipline is always restoration and not revenge.
The purpose of this discipline is to deliver the offender from sinful patterns of behavior and not to drive him or her away from the fellowship of the church.
The church’s attitude is to be one of love and gentleness ().
So therefore, in , when John refers to a particular type of sin which results in death, he is speaking of “unrepentant” sin.
Specifically, it is a sin which a believer has not repented of despite going through the process of church discipline.
Conversely, when he refers to a particular type of sin which does not lead to the death of the believer, he is referring to sin committed by a believer in which they have “not” demonstrated a stubborn refusal to repent of sin.
John prohibits the Christian from interceding in prayer to the Father on behalf of a believer who exists in the state of committing unrepentant sin which results in death because they have gone through the process of church discipline and are still unrepentant.
They are removed from the fellowship of the church and the church instructed not to intercede in prayer since they have rejected the Holy Spirit rebuke and discipline which He administers through the church.
On the other hand, he commands the recipients of First John to intercede in prayer on behalf of the Christian who is not committing a sin leading to death because they have “not” demonstrated a stubbornness to repent.
In fact, they have not gone through all three phases of church discipline yet.
Thus, if the Christian has gone through this process of church discipline and still refuses to repent, then the church is not to pray for this individual as John prescribes here in .
Conversely, the church is to intercede in prayer to the Father on behalf of a believer who is not committing a sin leading to death so that this type of believer does repent of their sin.
Now, in , the apostle John qualifies his statements in .
This is necessary in light of his previous assertion in in which he teaches that the recipients of First John must intercede in prayer to the Father on behalf of the believer who is not committing a particular sin which leads to death.
This stands in direct contrast with the prohibition in this verse which instructs the recipients of First John from interceding in prayer to the Father on behalf of a believer who is committing a sin which leads to death.
Based on these statements in , John does not want them to misconstrue the idea that the sin of the believer which does not lead to death is in anyway less offensive to a holy God and destructive to the believer’s fellowship with God.
contains two declarative statements which stand in contrast to each other.
The first asserts that each and every unrighteous thought, word or action is characterized as sin.
The second asserts that there does exist a particular type of sin never resulting in death.
John makes the first assertion because, in light of his assertions in , he does not want the recipients of First John to misconstrue the idea that the sin of the believer which does not lead to death is in anyway less offensive to a holy God and is destructive to the believer’s fellowship with God.
The sin of the believer whose sin does not lead to death is just as offensive to a holy God and is not any less destructive than the sin committed by a believer which does lead to death since this sin causes them to lose fellowship with God.
The second declarative statement stands in contrast to the first and asserts that there does exist a particular type of sin never resulting in death.
This adversative clause is making explicit what is implied in the third class conditional statement and appositional clause which follows it in .
These two clauses in both imply that there is a sin a believer can commit which does not lead to death, i.e. dying discipline.
So in , the apostle John comes right and makes explicit what is implied in these two clauses in .
In fact, supports this assertion that there does exist a sin which never results in death since it teaches that if the believer confesses their sin to the Father, He is faith as well as just to forgive these sins.
In other words, the Father purifies the believer who confesses their sins to Him.
If any of us does, at any time confess our sins, He is characterized as being faithful as well as just to forgive these sins for the benefit of each one of us, in other words, to purify each one of us from each and every unrighteous thought, word or action. (Author’s translation)
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