Scripture Query and Answer: 1 John 5:18

1 John 5:18  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Q.—1 John 5:1818We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (1 John 5:18). Here is a man who, born again, has gone on rejoicing in the knowledge of all his sins forgiven, yet at length gives himself up to evil (say, drunkenness), and dies in this reprobate state. Does scripture give us light on such a case? J.H.
A.—Surely it does. He is one of the many who deceive themselves, and say that they have fellowship with God while walking in darkness; whereas they lie and do not the truth (1 John 1:66If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (1 John 1:6)). It is easy for unconverted souls, especially when emotional excitement prevails, to think themselves born of God when they are not, and never realized either their utter guilt and ruin, or God's grace in life eternal and remission. High pressure in appeal to feeling as in reasoning, on “the plan of salvation” tends to this imagination that all is right, which may carry souls along for no short time, and in zealous efforts to win others; though the conscience has never been before God either in true self-judgment or in submitting to His righteousness in Christ. There never was a seed of God remaining in such souls. It was but flesh, which perishes in the wilderness. It is too much to assume that they were born of God. They may have had joy in the thought of plenary forgiveness but not abiding peace with God, and so become castaway or reprobate. Heb. 6:4-84For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4‑8) is as strikingly solemn to show how far flesh can go in appropriating Christian privilege, short of life eternal or the new birth; as vers. 17-20 give strong consolation to the weakest believer, however tried. For it would be hard to find in the N. T. true faith set out in terms less bold than “having fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us.” Yet is it all-sufficient. Never does Scripture suppose one born anew perishing in his sins. But we may easily be mistaken in counting souls renewed who are not.