Life-Study of 1, 2, & 3 John, Judeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Before we consider 5:18-21, I would like to say a further word concerning the life-giving petition in 5:14-17. In 5:14-17 there is the indication not only that we have eternal life and enjoy it, but also that we can minister this life to others. This means that we can give eternal life to others. Regarding this matter, John’s thought is deep. Although the thought here is deep, the matter is very practical in our Christian life. If we enjoy eternal life and experience it, surely we shall be able to channel this life to others. We shall be able to minister eternal life to other members of the Body.
In 5:16 John says that there is sin unto death and that we should not make request concerning it. We have pointed out that under God’s governmental dealing a certain sin may be unto death. But this matter of sin unto death should not distract us from the basic thought in these verses of ministering eternal life to others. This section implies that we can channel eternal life out from within ourselves into others. You should not try to know whether or not someone will be healed or whether or not a particular sin is unto death. Instead, you should simply recognize that the saints around you, as fellow members in the Body, all need eternal life to be channeled out from within you into them.
We need to minister life to others. We can minister life to the saints by praying with them or by having fellowship with them. Sometimes we may minister life to a brother simply by visiting him without saying much to him. Our contact with him ministers life to him. As long as we are present with this brother, life comes out of our being and flows into him. From 5:14-17 we need to see that we have eternal life and that we may experience and enjoy this life and then minister it to others.
In 5:18-21 we have a strong conclusion to the Epistle of 1 John. In this conclusion John once again emphasizes the divine birth (v. 18). As we have pointed out, this book is structured with the divine birth, divine life, divine fellowship, the divine anointing, and all the virtues that come out of the divine birth. I hope that we all shall have a deep impression concerning the divine birth, concerning the fact that we have been begotten of God. We also need to be deeply impressed concerning the divine life, which has been sown as the divine seed into our being; the divine fellowship, for us to enjoy the riches of the divine life; the divine anointing, by which we abide in the Lord and have fellowship with Him; and all the virtues that proceed from the divine birth. Concerning these matters, we should not have mere knowledge; we need to touch the depth of the reality of these things in this Epistle.
In 5:18 John says, “We know that everyone who has been begotten of God does not sin, but he who is begotten of God keeps himself, and the evil one does not touch him.” In order to avoid sinning, which not only interrupts the fellowship of the divine life (1:6-10), but also may even bring in physical death (5:16-17), the apostle stresses here again, with the assurance of the capability of the divine life, our divine birth, which is the basis of the victorious life. This basic fact does not allow us, the regenerated ones, to practice sin (3:9), that is, to live in sin (Rom. 6:2).
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