[quote="jpennstar, post:17, topic:291297"]
How should I understand 1 Jhn 1:8 ?
We always have to remember that the first Christians, the Apostles and disciples, were Jews. The Bible will always be misunderstood and misinterpreted if we fail to read the scriptures as the Jews who wrote them intended.
The verse in full...
**If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray **to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly. (1 John 5:16-17)
This is tied up in the idea of covenants and what it means to be a sinner under Jewish law.
When God made the covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, certain sins were specified which if committed brought the sinner under the immedate thread of death. These were sins which broke the covenant with God in a fundamental way, and as such, the only way to satisfy the demands of the covenant was a death. There were also sins of omission, which did not break the covenant, and these did not require death, but could be repaired through repentance and some action by the person who comitted the sin. This is the context with which we need to read John's words about being returned to life through prayer for sins which are not deadly, and how the prayer of the sinner is not effective for sins which are deadly.
Jesus himself speaks of deadly and non-deadly sin.
**But I say to you that everyone 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, NRSV-CE)
The first type of sin referenced by Jesus opens one up to judgment, but not to the immediate threat of death. This "Judgment" is Jesus' allusion to the judges who sit at the gate of the city - these were basically judges for small claims court and minor criminal offenses which did not carry the death sentance. The Sanhedrin was the supreme Jewish council and where capital crimes were tried. The "Council" had the authority to sentance criminals to death. Being "Liable to the council" meant that one's sin had exposed him to the possiblity of death. Circumstanced may mitigate the crime and the council might however, have mercy. The third type of sin however, were sins which "Cry out to God" and break the covenant in a fundamental and deliberate way.
**Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD asked Cain, Where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” God then said: What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!* (Genesis 4:8-10)*
This third type of sin which Jesus speaks of, sins which are clear and deliberate transgressions of the covenant and which "Cry out to God", brought the immediate punishment of death. There was no mercy.
Jesus and his best friend John were speaking about the same thing - sin under the covenant which God had made with Israel through Moses, and they are both differentiating the types of sin which broke the covenant and demand death from sin which does not break the covenant and does not demand death. Both John and Jesus are using sin as it was understood by Jews who lived under the Old Covenant as a teaching tool to speak about the relative gravity of sin, and to teach about culpability - how much blame one bears - and that minor "Non-deadly" sins are repairable through the action of the sinner himself.
The "Jewishness" of the scriptures has to be understood, to fully appreciate what the authors were talking about.
Incidentally, following the logic of Jesus and John with regard to deadly and non-deadly sin in the context of the covenant, and taking into account their clear statments about the requirement of perfection as a prerequisite to enter heave, leads one to the conclusion that a heaven and hell only theology is an absurdity. Taken as a whole, the reqirement that one be perfect to enter heaven but the existence of non-deadly sin (sin which does not break the covenant) leads one to a catch-22 which is only satisfied by a theology which includes purgatory.