Ruth: “God’s providence in the days when the judges ruled.”
Our ladies welcome any guests who would like to join them our for current Ladies’ Bible Fellowship as they study the book of Ruth. The study will be led by Judy Iverson.
Ruth Bible Study Schedule:
Week 1 - February 19
Week 2 - March 12
Week 3 - March 26
Week 4 - April 9
Week 5 - April 23
Our current Men's Bible Fellowship is a study on the book of Ruth.
Sunday, February 12, 2017 - Overview and Ruth 1
Sunday, March 5, 2017 - Ruth 2
Sunday, March 19, 2017 - Ruth 3
Sunday, April 2, 2017 - Ruth 4
1 John 5:18 states, “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” In this verse, we see both the perseverance of the believer and the protection of that believer by Christ. Let’s look at these two topics more closely.
Preservation is the work of God whereby He eternally secures and guarantees the final salvation of all believers.
As Christ claimed in John 6:39, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” Likewise, He stated in John 10:28–29, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” In these passages, we see that God and Christ secure and guarantee the believer in his salvation. This idea is present in 1 John 5:18: “he who was born of God [i.e., Jesus Christ] protects him.”
Whereas preservation is God’s role in securing a believer’s salvation, the believer is responsible to persevere. Perseverance is the divinely-enabled and continued progress of a believer in faith, doctrine, and practice whereby he is assured of his eternal security.
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:7–8, it is the “Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul states in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Likewise, Christians are those “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). In each of these passages, God or Christ is described as enabling the believer’s perseverance in some way.
This perseverance involves one’s faith, doctrine, and practice. The believer’s faith is “the victory that has overcome the world” (1 John 5:4). His doctrine allows him to be presented “holy and blameless and above reproach before him” because he will “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (Col 1:23). His practice is to “follow” Jesus (John 10:27), doing “good works, which God prepared beforehand” (Eph 2:10).
Understanding 1 John 5:18 with the above, we do not keep on sinning because God protects us from falling away from Him. He keeps us in our salvation. At the same time, however, we persevere. We do not keep on sinning because we persevere in our faith, doctrine, and practice as He enables us to do so. God protects us, and as we persevere, we are assured of His protection.
1 John 5:16 (ESV) states, “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.”
What is the sin leading to death and the one that does not? Part of answering this question means defining the terms “brother” and “life” an “death.” In 1 John, a brother is a fellow believer (cf. 1 John 2:9, 10, 11; 3:10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17; 4:20, 21), life is eternal life (cf. 1 John 1:1, 2; 2:25; 3:14, 15; 5:11, 12, 13, 20), and death is eternal death (cf. 1 John 3:14; 5:17). In keeping these definitions in 1 John 5:16, we must understand how God gives eternal life to a brother who already possesses eternal life.
A Sin Not Leading to Death
For this sin, notice that is something observable, something “anyone sees.” At the same time, it is unspecified. It is also ongoing, something someone is “committing.” It is committed by a believer, “his brother.” Finally, it will end because the prayer will be answered by God’s giving of life to the sinning brother.
In attempting to understand how God gives life to the brother who already has it, while eternal life is something experienced and present, it is also something future and promised, as said by John himself (cf. 1 John 2:25). This being said, John states that life is something God “will give” (future tense) to the sinning brother. Thus, the believer is praying that God will do what will take place, to give the sinning brother what is coming to him, eternal life in time to come. Assumedly, the sinning brother repents and is thereby assured that this life will indeed be his to enjoy.
Sin That Leads to Death
For this sin, it, too, is observable and thus the believer knows he is not obligated to include the matter in his prayers (though he can if desired). We can assume that is committed by an unbeliever if it leads to death because believers cannot lose their eternal life (cf. John 10:28–29).
Finally, this sin is unspecified. However, we could at least surmise from the passage preceding 1 John 5:16 and the letter as a whole that a sin that leads to death is the sin of rejecting Jesus as the Christ who came in the flesh to die for our sins (1 John 5:12–13; cf. 2:1–2; 4:1–6; 5:6–11). Such a sin was easy to observe because the one committing this sin eventually left the church (cf. 1 John 2:19).
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.