Joining in with Intercession
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. – 1 John 5:16-17
If you happen to be reading “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane Ortlund like I am, the message from Pastor Mike this past Sunday revealed one more layer in the kind heart of our Savior to deliver us from sin. Here he enlists the aid of our brothers and sisters that see (our stumbling), to ask for life on our behalf.
Jesus has already completed his work at the cross, but he hasn’t ceased in his efforts toward our holiness. He gave us his word and sent his spirit to keep us from sin. He lives forever to intercede on our behalf and if we do sin, he advocates for us. If all that wasn’t enough, he commands us to see the transgressions of one another and to ask for deliverance. He follows the command with a promise that he will answer and give life or victory over sin in response to those prayers.
A feedlot pen rider checks the cattle for sickness every day. Some calves, instead of presenting themselves as sick and in need of help, will instead hide their symptoms and attempt to blend in with the herd to not be seen. Perhaps they don’t trust the pen rider, or maybe they don’t believe the medicine will work, or maybe they don’t think they are really that sick. Whatever the reason, if they aren’t seen, they can’t be helped.
So often, when we begin to be ensnared by sin, we withdraw or hide the symptoms from our spiritual family. Perhaps we don’t believe Jesus will receive us, perhaps we don’t trust the power of prayer to deliver us, or perhaps we just don’t want to be vulnerable before our brothers and sisters. Regardless, they can’t ask for what they can’t see, and we deprive ourselves of the power and the promise for deliverance that is in this passage.
Jesus Christ came to save sinners and see them all the way to holiness and glory. It’s what he does. It is his passion. He intercedes and he has invited – no, commanded – us to join him in that work. What an honor to be part of his mission. What an enemy sin is with its power to deceive and enslave. But what a weapon prayer is! “Ask, and God Will Give Life!”