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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Spanked or yanked home early?
Date Posted: May 19, 2024

Spanked or yanked home early?

1 John 5:14-17. We are instructed to pray within the will of God according to His will. There is sin that leads to physical death for believers. This whole letter of John's is to and for believers. Verse 16 carries a terrible implication. It is very possible for a believer to sin the final one that is at the end of God's tolerance for His child. In other words, it is the final embarrassment of God and He just yanks that rebellious child home. In this case, the sin that leads to death. You do realize, don’t you, that it is a deliberate and conscious choice to sin. Failure to forsake sin, to repent of it can lead to physical death.

Verse 16 talks about taking a believer home when that believer continues in rebellion. Other passages talk about giving unbelievers over to their own desires such as in the first chapter of Romans. God knows our hearts and our intentions. He hears our inward thoughts so there are no secrets from Him. If we think so, we are just kidding ourselves.

Paul speaks of believers who act in such a way that must be separated from the church body in 1 Corinthians 5:5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. And, in 1 Corinthians 11:30 when Paul talks about many being sick and asleep (dead). Paul indicates those are believers, who are sick with unbelief that God can and will do what He says He will do. God takes those out of the fold so that they will not pollute the church or spread insideous cancer in the body of Christ. Never forget He is very long-suffering, so if you look around your congregation on Sunday morning and see people like this, be concerned from them and pray for them because if they continue in that vein they may have their place in Heaven before their time. Here is what I mean.

In the church where I grew up there was some turmoil that boiled over. We had cottage prayer meetings (those are prayer meetings held in homes rather than at church) about this bubbling problem. We prayed that God would remove the problem. Let me just say that can be a dangerous prayer to pray. God in His infinite wisdom did remove the problem. The pastor died of a heart attack, and several men died shortly after that. One of my pastor friends tells the story of one of his pastorates that had the beginnings of just such a bubbling problem. The church began to pray for that problem to be removed and for God to “just take care that it didn’t boil over”. That year twelve men (aged 35-70) in that church died. After my friend had buried the last one, the church began to grow and flourish. Rebellion against God is a terrible thing.

God expects the congregation to outcast those who deliberately continue in sin (Matthew 18:15-17) and to treat them as heathen. Sin does not have to be adultery or stealing offerings. While those are definitely abominations, there are other sins just as insidious and debilitating. Deliberate sin can be anything from gossiping to robbing God’s tithe to stirring up strife to constant complaining to setting on pews hatching out nothing. (I did mean setting like a hen sets her eggs, not sitting.)

However, John identifies the one who sins the sin leading to death within the same thought as "brother" meaning a member of the Family of God—a believer. John says there is no prayer for that kind of sin. One pastor explained it as the same as a parent who has taken his child to a party, and the child is unruly and acting shamefully. The parent has warned and warned the child to stop acting out and to behave according to his raising; then finally spanked the child to no avail. The child continues acting horribly. Finally, the parent yanks up that child and carries him home.

1 John 5:16-17 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. The death John speaks of here is the Greek word θάνατος thanatos (than’ – at – os) 1) the death of the body that separation (whether natural or violent) of the soul and the body by which the life on earth is ended.

The question is not “Do you believe that an individual who continues in a sinful lifestyle can at the same time have and be appropriating saving faith?”

Let’s take a look at King Saul: 1 Samuel 10:9 And it came about, that when he went away from Samuel, God gave him a changed heart: and all those signs took place that day. God changed Saul from the fearful young man he was re: 1 Samuel 10:22. The Spirit of God came upon him and he ruled as Israel’s king. The trouble began when Saul disobeyed the words of God who had His words about how Israel’s king should behave written in a book.

God removed the kingdom from Saul’s authority, but there isn’t any scripture that states God took back the changed heart He had given Saul. God declares no one can undo His work! Isaiah 43:13 Yea, from this day I am He, and no one delivers from My hand. I will work, and who will reverse it? The disobedience that Saul exhibited built a wall between him and God to the point not even the prophets (of which he was one) could disintegrate, and the stubborn streak prevailed. Saul numbed his conscience so that he could pursue his own desires rather than please God. (David also fell into this Satan trap when he looked upon Bathsheba. However, David repented and Saul did not.)

Earlier, I wrote a series on worship which ran the month of July in 2008. I have studied the differences between early biblical worship, and today’s worship. I’ve studied how the New Testament churches worshiped and how Christians of today seek the warm fuzzies rather than the glory of God.

It is so sad so many are set on this path of desensitized, and rebellious behavior on one hand; and on the other they profess Jesus is Lord. We’ll never know the length or breadth of God’s long suffering with His children. Only He sees into our hearts and knows if there will be repentance one day or not.

When we tell ourselves it is just a little sin that won’t hurt anyone we forget that it cuts deeply into God’s heart, and hurts the One that saved us from eternal torment. It hurts those who have to cover our dingy witness. God won’t allow His gospel to be tainted by one without another to supersede that witness with one that displays and reflects His own Splendor. If you do not believe me, read Genesis through Revelation and then argue your point. Therefore, our sin does hurt and harm. Nothing happens in the dark that the light will not reveal, and nothing happens that does not have eternal repercussions.

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Biography Information:

Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews check out Gina's book reviews at Upon

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