1 John 5:16-21 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. (17) All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (18) We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (19) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (20) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (21) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Reading (v 16), we may be concerned regarding the statement: “There is a sin unto death.” We must also concern ourselves with how the word “brother” is used. Whom is John referring? We know from other scripture verses that once God gives salvation, it is eternal.
John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
So, to whom is John referring? I have read many writings by theologians. (There are many different thoughts and interpretations.) The most “common opinion” is that when salvation is accepted, it is a forever gift, an everlasting gift, a gift given of God. (It cannot be returned, [“no man is able to pluck them out.”] It can’t be cashed in at Wal-Mart. It is a forever gift.)
My opinion as to whom John is referring rests with many theologians. The word “brother” refers to one who has made a false profession of faith in Christ. He may come to Church, and the fellowships. (In some extreme cases may even be the Pastor.) He plays at being a Christian, (never realizing his situation is deteriorating from “bad to worse.”) He may also claim he has professed Jesus, (but refuses to honour Him by going to Church.) He never prays, and his walk and his life have no Christ like values.)
(V 16) (“he shall ask”) is a dire warning for Christians to pray for those that we presume to be Christian when we see them in sin. (“All unrighteousness is sin.”) We are not to accost them or be judgmental, but simply pray that God will convict their hearts to repent of their sin and turn to Him. (V 17) John defines “sin” as “All unrighteousness is sin.” So, what is “righteousness?”
Webster’s 1828 defines righteousness as:
1. Purity of heart and rectitude [uprightness of mind] of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law.
2. Applied to God, the perfection or holiness of his nature; exact rectitude; faithfulness.
From this definition, righteousness is our holy walk in faithfulness with God. We as Christians must strive to be as righteous as possible, as Holy as possible. We cannot be perfect; however, we need to strive to be righteous.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
God through Paul didn’t write this verse as an excuse to be unrighteous. (He wrote it for our knowledge. None of us can be 100% righteous.) God commands that we pray for those that we see being unrighteous. (We are never to pray that a person commit a sin unto death.) God knows that we will sin, we will covet. We are not righteous, yet our task is to “walk the walk and talk the talk” that will help us approach a state of Holiness [total separation].
Until God calls us home into eternity, we are sinners saved by grace, and we must realize our condition. John tells us, “whosoever is born of God sinneth not,” which means we are to follow The Ten Commandments, and stay away from besetting sins. People who murder, rape, all pedophiles, whoremongers (and the list could go much longer,) are not Christians regardless of their profession, But, they can become Christians by honestly accepting Jesus and repenting (not going back to those besetting sins). However, they will still face the consequences of their sin.
As Christians, we are to keep ourselves as clean as we possibly can.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
To obtain a closer walk with God, we are to walk in a “full assurance of faith.” It will not be a perfect walk, but it must be a walk with the intent of perfection, (fully intending to “draw near” to God.) Our intent must be with a repentant heart, all evil thoughts removed, and knowing that we are washed with a cleansing repentance. “This is the true God, and eternal life.”
It is a wonderful walk when we know (by “faith”) that we have The Holy Spirit within us (given by God.) We have access to Jesus, and our Father God in Heaven. Jesus’ Father, our God in Heaven, is The only God. There are no other. Graven images whether stone, wood, or plastic are not gods, nor are they anything real. We are commanded to “keep yourselves [ourselves] from idols” and (any thing that someone would worship or pray through.)
The God Jehovah, His Son Jesus, and The Holy Spirit are the only true God. There are no others, regardless.
Exodus 20:3-5 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (4) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Stand fast in your “faith” and walk with The “True God.”
Bro John R. E Chastain