Exploring 1 John Session 31 1 John 5:16-17
Exploring 1 John Session 31 1 John 5:16-17
By the end of this session, we are going to
discover what a fatal sin is. Recalling
John’s strict dualism we are also going to make a distinction between the love
we extend to family members and those in a Jesus denying world.
1 John 5:16-17 (MSG)
For instance, if we see a Christian believer
sinning (clearly I'm not talking about those who make a practice of sin in a
way that is "fatal," leading to eternal death), we ask for God's help
and he gladly gives it, gives life to the sinner whose sin is not fatal. There
is such a thing as a fatal sin, and I'm not urging you to pray about that.
Everything we do wrong is sin, but not all sin is fatal.
The “For Instance” refers back to verses 14 and 15
“And how bold and free we then become in his
presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he's listening. 15 And
if we're confident that he's listening, we know that what we've asked for is as
good as ours” (1 John 5:14-15 (MSG).
If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore
him, saving your critical comments for yourself.
I'm not talking about those who make a practice of sin in a way that is
"fatal," leading to eternal death… There is such a thing as a fatal
sin, and I'm not urging you to pray about that.
The fatal sin that leads to eternal death is apostasy. Apostasy is exactly the fatal sin that the Gnostic Christians committed. Apostasy happens when a person abandons or renounces what John has referred to as the original message, the gospel:
John 3:16 & Philippians 2:7-8 & Hebrews 10:14 (MSG)
"This is how much God loved the world: He
gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be
destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life “When the time came, he set aside the
privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having
become human, he stayed human…he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died
a selfless, obedient death…” “It was a
perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By
that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who
takes part in the purifying process.”
They left us, but they were never really with us.
If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In
leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.
Such a person has rejected God’s three-fold
testimony concerning His Son. This is the
fatal sin which John warns us of; it is rejecting the Son; “whoever has the
Son has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life” (1 John 5:12 (MSG).
Hebrews 6:4-6 (MSG)
Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of
heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they've personally
experienced the sheer goodness of God's Word and the powers breaking in on
us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing,
well, they can't start over as if nothing happened. That's impossible.
This is John’s fatal sin: “everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God. This is the spirit of antichrist that you heard was coming…”
(1 John 4:3 (MSG).
At one time, the ones who left confessed faith in
Jesus, they believed the gospel that Jesus fully God, fully human, made
atonement, but now they have partaken of an anti-Christ spirit, denying their
former faith. The apostle Peter says of
our former brothers and sisters in Christ:
If they've escaped from the slum of sin by
experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that
same old life again, they're worse than if they had never left. Better not to
have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn
back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of
the proverbs, "A dog goes back to its own vomit," and, "A
scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud."
John tells us don’t even pray for the apostate. That seems rather unloving. Could it be that there is a special favor we extend to our brothers and sisters in Christ that is not offered to those outside the body of Christ, that we treat family different from outsiders? That’s the direction I am leaning. We are to love others, but not necessarily loving everyone equally. We are to meet the needs of others, but our brothers and sisters take priority over those who are members of the Jesus denying world. While everyone is to be treated with respect those of the family of God are given our preferential treatment. While we are to meet the needs of others, it is those of the family of God who are to get our first consideration.
Remembering John’s strict dualism, the “either” “or,” the “one way or the other,” with no middle ground, no gray, we know that apostasy is a fatal sin. For the one who knew the Truth and then rejected the Truth John tells us don’t treat them like family, treat them as an outsider.