“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
King James Version (KJV)
5:21 Keep yourselves from idols - From all worship of false gods, from all worship of images or of any creature, and from every inward idol; from loving, desiring, fearing anything more than God. Seek all help and defence from evil, all happiness in the true God alone.
1Jo 5:21 Keep yourselves from idols. Flee from idolatry, the besetting sin of that age. So too we need to flee from the idols of our age. Whatever takes our worship from God is an idol. NOTE.--SIN IN THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN. A comparison of passages will show that an extreme and false doctrine might be reached by pressing one class to the exclusion of another class. I give a list: I. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves (1Jo 1:8). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins (1Jo 1:9).If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar (1Jo 1:10). These things I write to you, that ye sin not (1Jo 2:1). If any man sinneth ("man" is not in the Greek), we have an Advocate with the Father (1Jo 2:1). If any man shall see his brother sin a sin [which is] not to death (1Jo 5:16). There is a sin not to death (1Jo 5:17). These passages all refer to Christians; they teach their liability to sin; show how they may obtain pardon, and show how also they should labor to save an erring brother. One the other hand, there is another class which teaches that the Christian is freed from sin. II. The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth from all sin (1Jo 1:7). Whoever abideth in him sinneth not (1Jo 3:6). He cannot sin because he is born of God (1Jo 3:9). Whoever is born of God sinneth not (1Jo 5:18). If this second class of passages was alone considered, they would teach apparently the absolute holiness of the saint. The two classes are to be interpreted in the light of each other. They teach that the germ of sin, dormant, perhaps, remains in us as long as we are in the flesh. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit" (Ga 5:17). We "may be overtaken in a fault", the dormant germ waken, and we be betrayed into sin for the moment (Ga 6:1). The sin is due to the temporary revival of the old nature. The new nature, the spiritual being born of the new birth, is not disposed to sin, and will be destroyed if the sin is willful and continued. One born of God cannot engage in willful sin. Nor can he who abides in Christ. He who becomes a willful sinner does not abide in Christ, nor remains a child of God.