Saturday, September 21, 2013

Notes on 1 John 5.13-21

1 John5.13-21 (nkjv)
1.     Groups of not less than three 3-and not more than 6
  • What is the main word in this section?
Ginosko occurs 222 times in the New Testament.  But here we ask who uses it, how often, and where.  For example, while most New Testament books average 1.5 uses of ginosko  per thousand words, the highest books are John (3.14), 2 John (3.6), and 1 John (10.2).  The same is true for oida.  Its highest ratios of use are found in John (4.6), 1 John (4.6), and 1 Thessalonians (7.7).  These are double the New Testament average!   --Gary Burge in NIVAC
  • What does this section tell us to do?
2.     Have you ever been in a church split or “fight.”  This is what the recipients of this letter seemed to have been through.  Some had even denied the Gospel and truth of who Christ is.  It must have been devastating.
I. Assurance of Eternal Life (v.13)
13 These things I have written(a.a.i) to you who believe(p.a.p) in the name of the Son of God, that you may know(p.a.s) that you have(p.a.i) eternal life, and that you may continue to believe(p.a.s) in the name of the Son of God.
“In the present section he wants to strengthen his followers’ resolve and to reassure them of their place with God and the promises that accrue to those who hold fast to the faith.  Therefore, he recapitulates what he said earlier and , in so doing, gives a summary of his purposes for the whole letter.  --Gary Burge in NIVAC
A.  Doubts Sown
·       Denied who Christ was:
The Son of God come in the flesh.  4.2
Savior of the world.  4.15
·       Denied assurance of salvation:  Over 10 x’s people being spoken of as “of God” or not “of God.”
B.  Purpose of 1 John
·       These things” most likely refers to the entire contents of the book.  Why did John write?
·       “That the letter and the Gospel both end (and begin) on the same note (life) is noteworthy…” –Colin Kruse in PNTC
·       … (1.2; “declare to you that eternal life”) and ends (5.13; “you may know that you have eternal life”) with the
·       Compare purpose of this letter with the purpose of theGospel:  John 20.31 “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
·       The Gospel has an evangelistic purpose (that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and so have eternal life), whereas the purpose of the letter is to reassure those who are already believers (that you may know that you have eternal life).  –Colin Kruse in PNTC

Gospel of John
1 John
Those who may believe
Those who have believed
Who is Jesus
The Christ, the Son of God
Son of God
That you may believe
That you may know you have eternal life

May have life in His name

·       How do I know if there is enough fruit in my life to be sure I am saved?  Nobody has done enough good things, had enough faith, believed an exact enough doctrine, or anything else to have a performance based assurance. 
·       It is about a relationship.  Are you clinging to Christ?
·       It would be helpful at this point to review the characteristics of God’s children:
o   •“Everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:29, nasb).
o   •“No one who is born of God practices sin” (1 John 3:9, nasb).
o   •“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14, nasb).
o   •“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7, nasb).
o   •“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4).
·       If you bear these “birthmarks,” you can say with confidence that you are a child of God.[1]

You can not have assurance
trusting in what you have done for God.
It is not a virtue to doubt your salvation or core Bible truths.
II. Confidence in Prayer (v.14-17)
A.  Praying with Confidence
14 Now this is(p.i)  the confidence that we have(p.a.i)  in Him, that if we ask(p.m.s) anything according to His will, He hears(p.a.i) us.  15 And if we know(p.a.i) that He hears(p.a.i) us, whatever we ask, (p.m.s) we know(pf.a.i) that we have(p.a.i) the petitions that we have asked(pf.a.i) of Him.
·       The presence of the conjunction suggests that the author wants to say that, along with assurance of eternal life, believers also experience confidence in the relationship with God and, in particular, confidence in prayer.
·        Say something about the importance of systematic theology; comparing Scripture to Scripture.   You cannot take a verse by itself without regard for the “whole council of God.”
·        The principle of prayer is that to be answered it must be in accordance with the will of God. Three times in his writings John lays down what might be called the conditions of prayer.
(a) He says that obedience is a condition of prayer. We receive whatever we ask because we keep his commandments (I Jn. 3:22).
(b) He says that remaining in Christ is a condition of prayer. If we abide in him and his words abide in us, we will ask what we will and it will be done for us (Jn.15:7). The closer we live to Christ, the more we shall pray aright; and the more we pray aright, the greater the answer we receive.
(c) He says that to pray in his name is a condition of prayer. If we ask anything in his name, he will do it (Jn.14:14).
  –William Barclay
·        Peter -- It is worth noting that differences between a Christian husband and his wife can hinder their prayers (1 Peter 3:1–7)[2]
·       Once before John raised the subject of prayer and confidence (see 3.21-23).  There he urged that successful prayer must be wed to a life that glorifies God, that conforms to God’s desires, and that thereby pleases him.  John now adds that prayer must also be in conformity with God’s will.  --Gary Burge in NIVAC
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.  .
·       Why would you want something that is not the Father’s will?
·       Here is something on which to ponder. We are so apt to think that prayer is asking God for what we want, whereas true prayer is asking God for what he wants.    –William Barclay
·       confidence  G3954 – parrēsia:  1. freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech  2. free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness
·       anything—What is to big for God?  That is not the issue.  What does He desire to do?
·       according to His will –  Not even every prayer of Christ to the Father was answered, but He prayed in humble submission to the Father’s will.
Luke 22.42
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
·       He hears – “It suggests “attentive listening” or “listening favorably” (John 9.31; 11.41-42); in some cases in means to “understand.”  --Gary Burge in NIVAC
 B.  Praying for a Sinning Brother
16 If anyone sees(a2.a.s) his brother sinning(p.a.p) a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, (p.a.i) and He will give(f.a.i) him life for those who commit sin(p.a.p) not leading to death. There is(p.a) sin leading to death. I do not say(p.a.i) that he should pray(a.a.s) about that.  17 All unrighteousness is(p.i) sin, and there is(p.i) sin not leading to death.
his brother 
This promise of life for those who sin is restricted to the case where the person involved is a ‘brother’ (a believer) who has committed ‘a sin that does not lead to death’… 
–Colin Kruse in PNTC
leading to death  (…when speaking about ‘sin that leads to death’, the author of 1 John does not have physical death in mind, for all sinners are susceptible to physical deather because of sin.  –Colin Kruse in PNTC)
pros thanaton  is used in John 11.4 saying that Lazarus “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God”.
Thee principles of interpretation:
1.     …the ‘death’ and the ‘life’ must correspond.
2.     …it should be understood by what the Evangelist has elsewhere laid down concerning the possession of life and death.[3]
3.     “The fact that the readers may ‘see’ a fellow believer fall into sin indicates that the sin is observable, not some internal attitude.”  –Colin Kruse in PNTC

Some different views.
1.     One approach is to explain it in terms of the OT distinction between sins committed unintentionally and sins committed defiantly (Lev 4.2; num 15.22-25; 30-31).  However, there is no hint in 1 John that this is the distinction the author has in mind.
2.     …involves identifying the sin that leads to death with blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3.28-30).  There is nothing in 1 John about Jesus’s works to the Devil or anything said against the Holy Spirit.
3.     …particularly heinous offences, for example, adultery, murder, idolatry, and apostasy.
4.     …the sin that leads to death is the deliberate and persistent rejection of the truth.  This is overly vague.
5.      … on in the early church there was a strong line of thought which declared that apostasy [denying Christ] could never be forgiven.  But it must always be remembered that the New Testament tells of the terrible denial of Peter and of his gracious restoration. As so often happens, Jesus was gentler and more sympathetic and understanding than his Church was.   –W Barclay
6.     A serious sin in the life of a believer that results in the chastisement of sin.  Ananias and Sapphira lied to God about their offering, and they both died (Acts 5:1–11). Some believers at Corinth died because of the way they had acted at the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:30).[4]
8.     Within the overall context of 1 John, where the secessionists are now regarded as unbelievers, even antichrists, the sin that leads to death is probably the sin of the secessionists, in particular their denial that Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh and that his death is necessary for salvation.” –Colin Kruse in PNTC
“When the author speaks of ‘sin that leads to death’, it is very likely that he has the sin of the secessionists in mind.  They are people who deny that Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh, and also deny the significance of his atoning death.  This would mean that they place themselves outside the sphere of forgiveness, and their sins become sins unto death.”  –Colin Kruse in PNTC
Tim Ward, ‘Sin “not unto Death and Sin “Unto Death in 1 John 5:16’, Churchman 109 (1995), 236, writes: ‘the distinction between the two sins just be found in the fact that sin “unto death; is the Christ-rejecting behavior evidenced by those who also deny their own sinfulness, their need for atonement, and Christ’s ability to provide that atonement.  Their sin is deadly because in the context of their current fundamental attitude towards Christ they have no hope of atonement’.

“The sin unto death” is not some one specific sin. Rather, it is a kind of sin—it is the sort of sin that leads to death.[5]
·       We naturally pray for those who are ill, and we should just as naturally pray for those who are straying away from God. It should be just as natural to pray for the cure of the soul as it is to pray for the cure of the body. It may be that there is nothing greater that we can do for the man who is straying away and who is in peril of making shipwreck of his life than to commit him to the grace of God.  –William Barclay
  1. We should pray confidently and in humble, submission to God.
  2. We should know our brother well enough to know when he is struggling.
  3. We should intercede for others those who are in sin.
  4. Not all sins are the same.  There is a sin to death, a point of some kind from which it is not normal to expect a spiritual recovery.
 III. Our Hope in God (v.18-20)
a. We Are Kept by Christ (Righteousness of God’s Children)
18 We know(p.a.i) that whoever is born(p.p.p) of God does not sin(p.a.i); but He who has been born(a.pp..) of God keeps(p.a.i) himself, and the wicked one does not touch(p.m.i) him.
does not sin 
·       Wuest’s Expanded Translation of the New Testament captures of the thought of the Greek word when he translates it… “does not keep on habitually sinning.”
·       "A saint," as someone has said, "is not a man who never falls; he is a man who gets up and goes on every time he falls."  --Wescott
he (He) who has been born of God
·       (nlt)  “We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.” 
·       Interpreting ‘he who has been born of God” as a reference to Jesus himself “is an appropriate interpretation is supported by the fact that in the Fourth Gospel Jesus is portrayed as the one who keeps his disciples safe.”  –Colin Kruse in PNTC
·       This understanding of Christ keeping us is consistent with other passages in Scripture.
John 10
28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 30 I and My Father are one."
Jude 1.1  Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
·       “The quest for righteousness is supported and sustained by Jesus himself.  Believers keep Jesus’ word because Jesus keeps them.”  --Gary Burge in NIVAC

wicked one  G4190 – ponēros: (a title for the Devil, literally ‘the evil one’) the one who is essentially evil or in a sense personifies evil—‘the Evil One, He who is evil.’ ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ ‘but rescue us from the Evil One’ Mt 6:13.[6]
2.13-14  I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one.
3.12  …we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother.
5.19  …and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

touch   Strong's G681 – haptō:  (f) "to assault," in order to sever the vital union between Christ and the believer, said of the attack of the Evil One, 1Jo 5:18.  Vines Exp. Dict.

nivharm;  wetlay hold on

…this is not Pollyannish assurance.  …He had no hold on the Son (John 14.30) and so cannot bring down and destroy his followers. – Robert Yarbrough in BECNT

B. We Are of God  (Fallenness of the World)
19 We know(pf.a.p) that we are(p.i) of God, and the whole world lies(p.m/pd.i) under the sway of the wicked one.
·       John makes three references to the Devil as the ruler of the world (John 12.31; 14.30;16.11).
·       Paul makes this same distinction in his letter to the Colossians.
Colossians 1.13
12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
C.  We Are in God (The Hope that Is in Christ)
20 And we know(p.a.i) that the Son of God has come(p.a.i) and has given(pf.a.i) us an understanding, that we may know(p.a.s) Him who is true; and we are(p.i) in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is(p.i) the true God and eternal life.
·       There is no being in God without being in his Son Jesus Christ.  Here the author is not only reassuring his readers but making plain that the secessionist’ claims to be in God are invalid because they do not believe in God’s Son.  –Colin Kruse in PNTC
·       Thus in verse 20 John does not say we merely know truth (Gk. aletheia); rather we know “him who is true [or real] (Gk. alethinon.)  John uses an adjective rather than the usual noun to underscore that Christian certainty is not about abstract reason or inspired enlightenment, but about God, the real God, “him who is true,” the only true God (cf. 1 Sam. 3.7; Jer. 24.7; 31.34; John 1.9; 15.1; Rev 3.7).
Our vision must be of Jesus Christ himself
not self resolve,   He who has been born(a.pp..) of God keeps(p.a.i) him
a church organization,     we are(p.i) of God
or knowledge about God.    we may know(p.a.s) Him who is true; and we are(p.i) in Him who is true

4. Final Caution (v.21)
21 Little children, keep( yourselves from idols. Amen.

…guard… φυλάσσωa: to hold someone in close custody—‘to guard closely.’ παραδοὺς τέσσαρσιν τετραδίοις στρατιωτῶν φυλάσσειν αὐτόν ‘he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each’ Ac 12:4.[7]

idols   Strong's G1497 – eidōlon:  an image, likeness, false god

·       “What does seem clear is that in the immediate context keeping oneself from idols is the necessary concomitant* of knowing the true God through Jesus Christ.”  –Colin Kruse in PNTC

* an event or situation that happens at the same time as or in connection with another.  (Concomitant is one of those Latin-based words you can break down into little pieces: con means with, and comit means companion. So something that is concomitant is like the companion of the main event.)

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996).
[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996).
[3] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997).
[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996).
[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996).
[6] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 145.
[7] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 486.