Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1 John 5: Christians don't Sin

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Overcoming the World (v. 1-5)

Everyone who believes Jesus is the Christ is born of God.
Everyone who loves the father loves whoever is born of Christ.
Therefore, anyone who loves God and obeys his commandments loves the children of God.

Well, if you believe the 2 premises the conclusion logically follows. It seems to say that everyone who loves God also loves all Christians. This is simply not born out in reality, there are certainly different groups of Christians that hate each other.

God's commandments are not burdensome.

Depending on which commandments you are talking about, I would argue that this isn't true. The kosher laws certainly do seem to be a pain in the ass. If we want to look at the 10 commandments, what about the fact that we aren't supposed to covet? That is not only a burden, I would argue it is impossible. If my neighbor has better stuff than I do, how can I help that I wish I had better stuff as well?

I don't want to go into the details on this one, but I looked at Guzik's take here, he starts with the following statement "Some Christians feel very burdened by the commandments of God, yet John insists that they are not burdensome." He then continues on for 4 paragraph explaining how it is not burdensome if you love God enough.

Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world, this is a victory of our faith.

I'm not exactly sure what overcoming the world means. Given that 'the world' is often talked of as the source of all evil, I'm guessing that overcoming the world has to do with being 'Godly' while being surrounded by worldly things. It is absolutely silly to say that every Christian succeeds in this. Furthermore, even if I'm misunderstanding what 'overcoming the world' means, it is still an outrageous statement, no matter what, there are some Christians out there who will have failed. Unless of course you throw in a no true Scotsman fallacy.

Guzik says "The idea that anything born of God could be defeated by this world was strange to John and it should be strange to us." Whether or not it is strange, it seems to happen.

Testimony Concerning the Son of God (v. 6-12)

Jesus came not just in water but also in blood, and the spirit testifies that this is the truth.

I'm not sure what this means exactly, but him coming in blood I'm guessing is referring to the fact that he came physically, and not just spiritually.

"Through the centuries, there have been many different ideas about exactly what John meant by this phrase. “This is the most perplexing passage in the Epistle and one of the most perplexing in the New Testament.” (Plummer, cited in Boice)" At least I'm not alone :)

The testimony of god is greater than the testimony of men.

But where is the testimony of God? Even the bible is written by men, and not by God, so at best this testimony is second hand. Furthermore, just yesterday we learned that no one has ever seen God, so how can I be expected to trust them that they are giving me testimony from God?

Whoever does not believe in the testimony from God concerning Jesus is a liar.

This actually kinda pisses me off. It's one thing to say I'm wrong, I don't have a problem with that, but to call me a liar is bullshit. To call me a liar here implies that I in fact know that Jesus is real, but I am intentionally suppressing that knowledge. That is wrong, I do not believe in Jesus, no part of me deep down believes in Jesus. This type of thinking is the height of arrogance, they are so sure their position is correct, they think everyone else knows it is correct and they are all lying to themselves. I see this kind of crap regularly from Christians, it's ridiculous. 

After looking at a few commentaries, it appears that it is not saying you are a liar, but that you are calling God a liar. I am going to just say this translation is shit, I parsed the pronouns incorrectly, Gill points out that another translation says "hath made God himself a liar" instead of "Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar". Fair enough, so instead of John calling me a liar, he says I'm calling God a liar. Although I guess he's talking about Jews of the time, and I guess they were saying John was wrong, and he retaliated by calling them liars.

That You May Know (v. 13-21)

If we ask anything of Jesus he will hear it.

I find it interesting that he doesn't go as far as saying that he will grant it, just that he will hear it. Seems to be a touch of backpedaling from what was written before.

If you see a brother committing a sin that doesn't lead to death, ask God to give him life. Some sins lead to death, we shouldn't pray for that.

If the sin doesn't lead to death, why do we need to ask God to give life? As for the sins leading to death, why are we saying not to pray for that? Is there an expectation that we would pray for those sins? The wording is confusing. In fact, this whole chapter uses pronouns poorly, it is hard to tell what is really meant.

Everyone born of God does not keep on sinning.

Again, it says that Christians don't sin.

The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Why would an omnipotent God allow such a thing?

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)

Bad:

1 John 5:10 If you don't believe in Jesus you make God a liar

"...Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son."

1 John 5:18 Christians don't sin

"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."

1 John 5:19 Satan has power over the whole world

"We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."

2 comments:

  1. Wow, this is a loaded section...I can't help but think that we must blame John's lack of worldliness on his complete failure in stating that if you "love god you will love all Christians". Either that, or he was just preaching to the choir and not interested in the other religions that existed in the world at the time...would he have made that statement if he knew about the Mayans?

    I also very much have problems with the part about those who reject the testimony of god as being liars. As you point out, where is this testimony? Further, this does nothing more than serve to vilify non-Christians, something Christianity has been great at doing for centuries. It is infuriating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, definitely an infuriating chapter

      Delete

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