Hey Stew (and others),
After reading the passage last night a few of us had questions re verse 16:
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.
We were wondering who we should and shouldn’t pray for based on the above verse. Hebrews 6 seems to be a bit helpful, but I was wondering if someone could maybe clarify who we should and shouldn’t pray for. Thanks!
Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
I think John is really gunning for the ‘antichrists’ he has already mentioned in the letter, rather than just someone who may have been on the edges of the christian community. He is showing how serious their shunning of Christ really is, its not a difference of opinion, they are aligning themselves with the father of lies.
On top of that they are also trying to lead the christian community astray in their foolishness. Just as Jesus wouldn’t tolerate that with the religious leaders, nor will John tolerate that.
I wonder whether its not really a piece of advice for Johns readers to act upon, but more of a condemnation, similar to that of some of the prophets. For example Jeremiah was commanded not to pray for Judah because of her hardheartedness. Likewise Isaiah when commissioned in chapter 6 is really to go, as a mouth piece of judgment! So that when it says ‘they will be ever hearing but never perceiving’, that is because it is evident they have made their decision, to be committed to unbelief. Just as these ‘antichrists’ were to whom John wrote. Hence, his decision, not to pray.
Whereas for those that don’t know Christ. The New Testament is filled with exhortations to pray. Perhaps one of the most compelling is this:
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. 1 Tim 2:1-6
So lets pray and do ‘whatever it takes’ to see the men and women of Lismore, come to a knowledge of the truth.
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