1 JOHN 5:16-17 / BLOG

“If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.”

1 John‬ ‭5:16-17‬ ‭NIV

This passage is what some might call a “hard saying” of the Bible. In it, John tells believers to burden themselves with praying for believers when sin doesn’t lead to death. But it becomes confusing when he notes that we do not need to pray for it when it does lead to death. The context of this passage must be taken in light of John’s view of Antichrist in the body. There are those who are of God and those who are not. For all the indicators, John has spoken harshly of sinful attitudes and how they lie about our status as Christians. But here he clarifies. A habitual sin that hasn’t culminated in judgment is to be prayed for, rather than being a completed indicator of allegiance. Even believers sin and our salvation is determined by our faith and not our perfection. We are not to judge our’s or another’s salvation on these terms. We are to love, but also to pray that God will remove the habituation of sin in our lives. And while we can mourn the loss of those whose sin lead them to death, we do not need to be confused about it or waste energy trying to dissuade God or them from harvesting the hardness of their hearts. We are to pray for our own consistency but we do this in the faith, by the strength of Christ and power of the Spirit.

This post first appeared at JoshMcGary.com

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy. https://sleek.bio/joshmcgary

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