1 John 5:16-18


#1

Can anybody explain these few verses to me? What sin doesn’t lead to death? And does verse 18 mean that once we become Christians, we never sin again?


#2

Well catholic understanding is that there are two types of sin, there is mortal and venial sin, mortal sin occurs when you break one of the 10 commandments willingly, and venial sins are small sins such as telling a white lie, it's not a deadly sin, but we still shouldn't lie.


#3

A sin that "leads to death" is the same as a sin that is "mortal". A "mortal" sin is one where it involves serious/grave mattter (murder, for example), the one committing the act has full knowledge of it's gravity, and commits it with full consent of the will (it was a willful act).

What James is writing about is what Catholics call "mortal sin" ( leading to death [of the soul] because of the gravity of the sin and the fact that the person willfully chose to do it...turning his back on Christ, so to speak) and "venial sin" (damaging the relationship with Christ, but not to the extent that one has turned one's back on Christ, so to speak).

A deliberate act of the will vs. a slip-up...so to speak.


#4

Where does the bible distinguish between a venial and mortal sin? After all, the first sin, the one that brought death into the world in the first place, was merely eating a piece of fruit. Isn’t all sin a rebellion or “turning our back” on God?


#5

[quote="Jm102294, post:4, topic:311481"]
Where does the bible distinguish between a venial and mortal sin?

[/quote]

1Jn 5:16-17

After all, the first sin, the one that brought death into the world in the first place, was merely eating a piece of fruit. Isn't all sin a rebellion or "turning our back" on God?

Was it literally the eating of a piece of fruit? And if so, was it merely the eating of fruit that was sin...or rather direct disobedience to what God commanded? And if disobedience to God, what leads one to diliberately disobey his Creator, except an even deeper sin? I'd argue that the coice to eat the forbidden fruit (diliberate act of the will to disobey God) came before the eating of it.

As to the other...who were ALL the Epistles written to and why? Where these Churches, these Christians who professed Faith in Christ Jesus, being the prime example of Christlike behavior, or were they being rebuked for sinfulness...thouhg perhapsa not "mortal" sin, though there are some instances in these where some foul sinners are called out as being "lost". I suggest you read each Epistle...one at a time...all the way through. It is much clearer then.


#6

[quote="Jm102294, post:4, topic:311481"]
Where does the bible distinguish between a venial and mortal sin? After all, the first sin, the one that brought death into the world in the first place, was merely eating a piece of fruit. Isn't all sin a rebellion or "turning our back" on God?

[/quote]

Well the quote that you brought up, is where sins are distinguished.

Yes all sin is damaging to our relationship with God, but venial sins hurt God less than mortal sins, because mortal sins are committed with full knowledge, awareness and willingness, whereas venial sins can be committed without someone realising it. The story of Adam and Eve shows us an example of mortal sin because they willingly disobeyed God knowing the consequences.


#7

[quote="Jm102294, post:4, topic:311481"]
Where does the bible distinguish between a venial and mortal sin? After all, the first sin, the one that brought death into the world in the first place, was merely eating a piece of fruit. Isn't all sin a rebellion or "turning our back" on God?

[/quote]

Jesus himself does so.

**But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire.* (Matthew 5:22)*

In order to properly understand this passage, one has to know something about how the Jews lived in the first century. The judges who sat at the gate (liable to judgement) had authority to punish and to send to prison. The Sanhedrin, or the supreme Jewish council (liable to the council) had the same authority plus the authority to hand down the death penalty.

Being angry with or insulting your brother brought the possiblity of judgment, punishment and maybe even death. Calling your brother a fool however, earns you a trip to hell instantly, unless of course, you repent and ask for forgiveness. The first two types of sin - sins of the heart, thinking bad about someone and publically insulting somone - leave one open to judgment, but the last kind of sin brings an instant death penalty.

This is Jesus' own teaching, the word of the Lord.

-Tim-


#8

So let me get this straight:

If you know what you are about to do is a sin, and you do it anyways, it is a mortal sin? Or does it specifically have to be a violation of the 10 commandments? If you don't catch yourself before you sin, then the sin is venial and is less serious.

If there's really a difference between consciously sinning (mortal) and "slipping up," (venial) then does committing a mortal sin permanently screw you no matter what?


#9

[quote="Jm102294, post:4, topic:311481"]
Where does the bible distinguish between a venial and mortal sin? After all, the first sin, the one that brought death into the world in the first place, was merely eating a piece of fruit. Isn't all sin a rebellion or "turning our back" on God?

[/quote]

John distinguishes between the seriousness of sins in this exact verse. But, there is sin that destroys grace by its very nature, while minor sins only weaken that grace. Think of the sins that will be forgiven, versus the one which will not be. That is a difference clearly expressed in the bible (Mark 3:28-29). While all sin is rebellion,and damages our relationship with God, there is sin that damages the bridge between God and us, and there is sin that burns that bridge. The concept of penance rebuilds that bridge. It takes effort on our parts, but the materials (graces) come from God. If there is no difference between sins, then stealing a pack of gum is the same as genocide. Does that reflect a loving God? Does that reflect Divine Justice?


#10

[quote="TimothyH, post:7, topic:311481"]
Jesus himself does so.

But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:22)

In order to properly understand this passage, one has to know something about how the Jews lived in the first century. The judges who sat at the gate (liable to judgement) had authority to punish and to send to prison. The Sanhedrin, or the supreme Jewish council (liable to the council) had the same authority plus the authority to hand down the death penalty.

Being angry with or insulting your brother brought the possiblity of judgment, punishment and maybe even death. Calling your brother a fool however, earns you a trip to hell instantly, unless of course, you repent and ask for forgiveness. The first two types of sin - sins of the heart, thinking bad about someone and publically insulting somone - leave one open to judgment, but the last kind of sin brings an instant death penalty.

This is Jesus' own teaching, the word of the Lord.

-Tim-

[/quote]

Timothy, sorry to take a tangent here, but what is the significance of calling your brother a fool? How is it any different / more severe than the insult, which earns you punishment, but not Hell?


#11

po18guy:

It's always been my understanding that if you go your whole life without sinning with the exception of stealing a pack of gum, then you will go to Hell just like you would if you carried out a genocide if you don't ask for God's forgiveness. The difference would not be Hell vs no Hell, but rather the severity of the torment...


#12

[quote="Jm102294, post:8, topic:311481"]
So let me get this straight:

If you know what you are about to do is a sin, and you do it anyways, it is a mortal sin? Or does it specifically have to be a violation of the 10 commandments? If you don't catch yourself before you sin, then the sin is venial and is less serious.

If there's really a difference between consciously sinning (mortal) and "slipping up," (venial) then does committing a mortal sin permanently screw you no matter what?

[/quote]

Jesus always asks us to repent. Jesus is always willing to forgive if we are truly sorry and want to change.

But yes, if it was something important like stealing or killing, you knew it was wrong, you knew God didn't like it, and you did it anyway, then yes, it is mortal. It is deadly. The Holy Spirit flees from you because God cannot coexist with sin. God cannot coexist with evil.

There is a difference between deliberate disobedience and not being able to control yourself. Every parent knows the difference between a child who tries but can't help himself and a child who deliberately disobeys. Mortal sin is deliberate disobedience.

But God always allows us to repent.

-Tim-


#13

From the Haydock commentary:

Ver. 16. A sin which is not unto death....and life shall be given to him. It is hard to determine what St. John here calls a sin which is not unto death, and a sin which is unto death. The difference cannot be the same as betwixt sins that are called venial and mortal; for he says, that if a man pray for his brother who commits a sin that is not unto death, life shall be given to him: therefore such a one had before lost the life of grace, and been guilty of what is commonly called a mortal sin. And when he speaks of a sin that is unto death, and adds these words, I do not say that any one should ask for that sin, it cannot be supposed that St. John would say this of every mortal sin, but only of some heinous sins which are very seldom remitted, because such sinners very seldom repent. By a sin therefore which is not unto death, interpreters commonly understand a wilful apostacy from the faith, and from the known truth, when a sinner hardened by his own ingratitude becomes deaf to all admonitions, will do nothing for himself, but runs on to final impenitence. Nor yet does St. John say that such a sin is never remitted, or cannot be remitted, but only has these words, I do not say that any one should ask for the remission of that sin; that is, though we must pray for all sinners whatsoever, yet man cannot pray for such sinners with such a confidence of obtaining always their petitions, as St. John said before, ver. 14. Whatever exposition we follow on this verse, our faith teaches us from the holy Scriptures, that God desires not the death of any sinner, but that he be converted and live. See Ezechiel xxxiii. 11. Though men's "sins be as the scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow." (Isaias i. 18.) It is the will of God that every one come to the knowledge of truth and be saved. See John vi. 40. There is no sin so great but which God is willing to forgive, and has left power in his Church to remit the most enormous sins; so that no sinner need despair of pardon, nor will any sinner perish but by his own fault. (Witham) --- A sin unto death. Some understand this of final impenitence, or of dying in mortal sin, which is the only sin that never can be remitted; but, it is probable, he may also comprise under this name the sin of apostacy from the faith, and some other such henious sins as are seldom and hardly remitted: and therefore he gives little encouragement to such as pray for these sinners, to expect what they ask. (Challoner)

Ver. 17. All iniquity[4] is sin. The sense here is, that sin is always an injury or an injustice done to God; but though every sin implies such an injury and an offence against God, yet there are different degrees in such injuries, which are not always such an injustice as St. John calls the sin unto death. (Witham)

Ver. 18. Sinneth not. See the annotation on chap. iii. 6. &c. (Challoner) --- The generation[5] of God preserveth him, (i.e. the grace of adoption, as long as it remains in the soul; see Chap. iii. 9.) and the wicked one (i.e. the devil) toucheth him not. (Witham)


#14

Tim:

That bit about lack of self control vs deliberate disobedience actually made some sense, but let's explore it a bit further...
There's a certain sin that I struggle with. I have committed this sin well over a thousand times. Recently, I have had a renewal in my walk with God, but still have not been able to stop committing this sin. Over the past few weeks, there have been several times when I know God is telling me not to do it, I do not want to give into it, but I do it anyways. Consciously. So basically, I do not have a desire to sin against God, but my desire to do this thing that I know is a sin is often greater than my desire to resist the temptation.

My question to you is this: Am I screwed?


#15

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:10, topic:311481"]
Timothy, sorry to take a tangent here, but what is the significance of calling your brother a fool? How is it any different / more severe than the insult, which earns you punishment, but not Hell?

[/quote]

I'm not sure.

Some translations use "Say to your brother 'Raca!'" instead of "insult your brother". I''v heard somewhere that raca or raqa means empty, devoid of a soul.

Some translations use "Insipid" or "Stupid" instead of fool.

The underlying Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic probably have some meaning that only makes sense in the context of first century Jewish culture and language. I really don't know the specifics.

It's raining cats and dogs
His season is up in the air
Hey, what's up!?

All these are understandable only in the context of our modern culture so I assume it has something to do with Jewish culture and language and don't give it much thought.

-Tim-


#16

[quote="Jm102294, post:14, topic:311481"]
Tim:

That bit about lack of self control vs deliberate disobedience actually made some sense, but let's explore it a bit further...
There's a certain sin that I struggle with. I have committed this sin well over a thousand times. Recently, I have had a renewal in my walk with God, but still have not been able to stop committing this sin. Over the past few weeks, there have been several times when I know God is telling me not to do it, I do not want to give into it, but I do it anyways. Consciously. So basically, I do not have a desire to sin against God, but my desire to do this thing that I know is a sin is often greater than my desire to resist the temptation.

My question to you is this: Am I screwed?

[/quote]

Later. I have to cook dinner for my kids. But I'm interested to discuss.

Keep in mind that the Eastern Catholic Churches don't make the distinction between mortal and venial like the Roman Catholic Church does.

To me, many Roman Catholics spend too much time worrying about whether sin is mortal or venial, analyizing sin to see what side of the mortal/hell - venial/heaven line they fall on. To me, if it bothers me enough to worry about it that much, I need to confess it and seek God's mercy, and more importantly God's healing.

-Tim-


#17

[quote="Jm102294, post:8, topic:311481"]
So let me get this straight:

If you know what you are about to do is a sin, and you do it anyways, it is a mortal sin? Or does it specifically have to be a violation of the 10 commandments? If you don't catch yourself before you sin, then the sin is venial and is less serious.

[/quote]

Well the way to think about it is the only way to commit mortal sin is by deliberately disobeying what God said, the 10 commandments are a general summary of Gods law and the church teaches that all mortal sins that a man can commit are related to the 10 commandments, but venial sins are sins that are not related to the 10 commandments, but venial sins can lead us to mortal sins.

If there's really a difference between consciously sinning (mortal) and "slipping up," (venial) then does committing a mortal sin permanently screw you no matter what?

Mortal sin can be forgiven if we confess it and truly seek forgiveness, no sin is too great for God to forgive, but if we were to die in a state of mortal sin, it is a cause of great concern because we died separated from God.


#18

[quote="TimothyH, post:15, topic:311481"]
I'm not sure.

Some translations use "Say to your brother 'Raca!'" instead of "insult your brother". I''v heard somewhere that raca or raqa means empty, devoid of a soul.

Some translations use "Insipid" or "Stupid" instead of fool.

The underlying Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic probably have some meaning that only makes sense in the context of first century Jewish culture and language. I really don't know the specifics.

It's raining cats and dogs
His season is up in the air
Hey, what's up!?

All these are understandable only in the context of our modern culture so I assume it has something to do with Jewish culture and language and don't give it much thought.

-Tim-

[/quote]

Hmm, ok. Thank you!


#19

[quote="Jm102294, post:14, topic:311481"]
Tim:

That bit about lack of self control vs deliberate disobedience actually made some sense, but let's explore it a bit further...
There's a certain sin that I struggle with. I have committed this sin well over a thousand times. Recently, I have had a renewal in my walk with God, but still have not been able to stop committing this sin. Over the past few weeks, there have been several times when I know God is telling me not to do it, I do not want to give into it, but I do it anyways. Consciously. So basically, I do not have a desire to sin against God, but my desire to do this thing that I know is a sin is often greater than my desire to resist the temptation.

My question to you is this: Am I screwed?

[/quote]

You are not screwed. :) What you have is a habitual action that you have trained your body and mind to desire and expect. The way to break the habit is through the practice of the virtues and discipline. Certain habits are hard to break and will involve much "slipping up"...but your will is to break the habit and sin no more. The act is still a sin (whatever it is you are talking about which is a sin), but your deliberate act of the will is STOP the sin...though habit has made this a battle for you. Now, what I have said here assumes many things...so take this lightly knowing that there may be discrepencies in what I am typing, given the little information there is to go by. Also, I would add that if you were Catholic, you would confess this sin every time so as to receive God's grace, which would also help in exterminating the sin form your life.


#20

[quote="Jm102294, post:14, topic:311481"]
Tim:

That bit about lack of self control vs deliberate disobedience actually made some sense, but let's explore it a bit further...
There's a certain sin that I struggle with. I have committed this sin well over a thousand times. Recently, I have had a renewal in my walk with God, but still have not been able to stop committing this sin. Over the past few weeks, there have been several times when I know God is telling me not to do it, I do not want to give into it, but I do it anyways. Consciously. So basically, I do not have a desire to sin against God, but my desire to do this thing that I know is a sin is often greater than my desire to resist the temptation.

My question to you is this: Am I screwed?

[/quote]

"I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 If you envision your sin as the nails that hold Christ to His cross, it might help.

Something is triggering your desire to sin, since sin must be consciously entered into. Remove the triggers of that desire from your life.


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