The Christian’s Relationship with Sin

If anyone sees his brother sinning . . ..”—1 John 5:16 (NKJV) 

Previously, we looked at the believer’s relationship to prayer. Now we come to a Christian’s relationship to sin. How should a follower of Christ relate to sin? For starters, a Christian should be aware of sin. 

This is evident by John’s description above of a brother seeing another brother sinning. It’s easy to take this in an ungodly direction by twisting it into a judgmental attitude. That’s not in view here; we shouldn’t dig around for sin in other’s lives, relishing in its discovery. Rather, we need to understand what sin is and recognize when it’s being practiced. 

This leads to the next way that we’re to relate to sin. We need to intercede for it: “He will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death” (1 John 5:16 NKJV).

John tells us that when we see sin in another believer’s life, we need to pray for that person. Intercession should be instinctive whenever sin is clearly present. Too often, we bypass this step; instead of talking to God about a person’s sin, we rush to talk directly to that person. There’s certainly a time and place for that, but how healthy for our words to be first filtered through our own communication with God! 

Finally, when it comes to our relationship to sin, we need to see that we need to be discerning: “There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death” (1 John 5:16-17 NKJV).

John describes two types of sins here: one that leads to death and one that doesn’t. Theories abound on what this sin leading to death is, but that’s not our focus here and now. Instead, our focus is that there is a difference, emphasizing a need for discernment. “Discernment” is the application of God’s wisdom to a specific situation, and God gives us a standing invitation to ask for His wisdom (James 1:5). This is an invitation we always need to accept, especially when sin is present, so we can know God’s approach to dealing with it.

Sadly, the results of sin can cause much destruction. But God has shown us how to relate to it through awareness, intercession, and discernment. Let’s follow His lead!   

DIG: How should a Christian relate to sin?

DISCOVER: When have (or haven’t) you related to sin as God has directed?

DO: What specific situation can you presently apply this to? Consider what may be keeping you from relating as God has directed and how you can honor Him in this season.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.