1 John 5:14-21
This study is quite long and probably could have been broken up into two shorter studies, yet it was hard to determine just where a useful break might be made. Thus I have done this final section in one study.
1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
the confidence – parrhesia (freedom in speaking; unreservedness in speech; free and fearless confidence; boldness; assurance). It is derived from pas (all) + rheo (to flow; pour forth; utter)
It is translated “boldness” in 1 John 4:17 (“… that we may have boldness in the day of judgment …”) where it refers to our confidence in God’s future judgment.
It is translated “boldly” in Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly (or “with confidence”) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
It is this boldness or confidence in being able to approach holy God without fear of being destroyed by that holiness. We may request our needs as from a loving father rather than a fearsome being who might just destroy us before we can state our needs. However, this reputation of a fearsome God is truth for those who refuse to come through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:31 – [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 12:29 – For our God [is] a consuming fire.
Instead Christians come into God’s presence through the blood of Jesus.
Hebrews 10:19-20 – 19Having therefore, brethren, boldness (parrhesia) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new (prosphatos = “freshly slaughtered”) and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
It is interesting to note that this is the only occurrence of prosphatos in the NT; in general, occurrences of “new” are from kainos with some from neos (or derivatives from such). In fact, “a new and living way” probably should have been translated “a freshly-slaughtered but living way”, a phrase that is far more consistent with the biblical context.
It is also the confidence that comes from abiding in Christ that we may stand before God as judge one day and not be ashamed at His coming.
1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence (parrhesia), and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
If we keep His commandments and do what God tells us to do, then our hearts (consciences) will not condemn us and we will have that boldness to approach God to ask whatever we have need of.
ask – aiteo (ask; beg; call for; require; crave; desire)
James 4:2 says that “ye have not, because ye ask (aiteo) not.”
And God doesn’t hear sinners (unless they call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, of course).
John 9:31 – Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
The good news is that those who have called on the name of the Lord are no longer sinners as such but have imputed righteousness through Jesus Christ, “Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Romans 3:22)
A related Greek word is aitia (cause; reason) from which we get our word “aetiology” or “etiology” (the study of the causes of diseases; answers to questions asked concerning what causes diseases).
according to his will – There is always a condition attached to every promise in the Bible, and that condition will always relate to our obedience to God which can only be so if we walk according to His will.
It is also the confidence that comes from abiding in Christ that we may stand before God as judge one day and not be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28). So, logically, if we do not obey God then we will not be walking according to His will and therefore God does not promise to hear and understand our need. If we do not do those things that are pleasing to God, then we may not necessarily expect to receive it from God; thus it might be a waste of time to ask anything of God if we have a guilty conscience concerning our service to God.
1 John 3:21-22 – 21Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence (parrhesia) toward God. 22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
heareth – akouo (able to hear; not deaf; to attend to; to consider what has been said; to comprehend; to understand) It relates not just to being able to pick up sounds (even a microphone can do this!) but to consider what has been spoken and to understand why it was spoken. Thus God hears us with an understanding that recognises our need, even if we have difficulty in expressing that need.
Romans 8:26-27 – 26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God.
That is, we can be fully confident that if we ask God for anything, He will listen to us with understanding. It also is apparent that we should not be afraid that He might consider our request itself an offence for which we must be punished.
Philippians 4:6-7 – 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
1 John 5:15 – And if we know that he hear (akouo) us, whatsoever we ask (aiteo), we know that we have the petitions that we desired (aiteo) of him.
the petitions – aitema (petition; request; that which we asked for or required) It is derived from aiteo (translated “ask” and “desired”) in this verse).
If God hears us (which we have been assured of if we ask according to His will – Vs 14 above), then we know we will receive an answer to our petitions.
This assumes, of course, that we are abiding in Him as ones who are born again of Him, for if we have not been born again of God, then we cannot agape love Him and will not do His commandments (which is required of those who ask things of God – 1 John 3:21).
Answered prayer, therefore, requires that we be genuine Christians (born again of God – 1 John 5:1), obedient to God’s commandments (and therefore love God and do those things that are pleasing to Him – 1 John 3:21-22), unselfish in our requests (James 4:3), and that we actually ask Him (James 4:2) in His name (John 14:13-14) according to His will (Vs 14 above).
Matthew 7:7 – Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
John 15:7 – If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
John 14:13-14 – 13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].
James 4:2-3 – 2Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.
Prayer is also a major weapon that we should use in spiritual warfare.
Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
And if any doubt that spiritual warfare does not happen to good Christians, Paul told Timothy otherwise, saying that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
So, if we pray according to God’s will, He hears in order to arrange the answering of our prayer. It cannot mean that we must receive exactly what we have prayed for, and in exactly the way we have defined in our prayer, because God may decide to answer us in a way that we have not considered in our prayer.
Barnes says: “we may have the firmest assurance that the prayer is heard, and that it will be answered in the way and at the period when God shall see it to be best.”
We must also consider the cost of prayer. It’s like my saying: There is no victory without a battle and no battle without a cost. Prayer, being serious spiritual warfare, must be seen in the same light. If we desire victory in prayer without the cost of going into battle, then we will see little of that victory, if any. Prayer is a sacrifice (Psalm 141:2; Hebrews 13:15) and any sacrifice is no sacrifice unless it costs us something (2 Samuel 24:24). Prayer will be worth as much as we are prepared to let it cost us. No-one goes into a shop and buys things without money. Nor should anyone expect to get answers to prayer unless they are prepared to pay for it. Prayer and spiritual warfare go hand in hand; and spiritual warfare is only successful if we are prepared to risk our well-being. No-one wins a battle by playing safe.
1 John 5:16 – If any man see his brother sin a sin [which is] not unto death, he shall ask (aiteo), and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
see – oida (to know involving understanding; it can include the turning of one’s attention to something in order to “see” about something) It is usually translated “know” in the NT. Thus, if any person knows (perceives; understands) that one of the Christian brethren is committing a sin, he should do something about it.
death – thanatos (death) This can refer to either physical death or spiritual death. It can also refer to the misery of the soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body in hell. Some commentaries say that here it refers to a physical death (that might be caused by the abuse of the body through certain activities) and that praying for such a sin that causes this could lead to that person continuing to live physically. Others say that it is more reasonable to assume spiritual death here; that as long as the person has not committed the unforgiveable sin, then he may still be able to be forgiven, still able to escape that judgment that only those who have been saved in Christ can avoid (Hebrews 2:3).
a sin unto death – This has been described as the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. Jesus said this when the pharisees stated that Jesus had an unclean spirit. Thus the unforgiveable sin is to declare that Jesus is of the devil.
Mark 3:28-30 – 28Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
Thus the unforgiveable sin is to declare that Jesus is of the devil because (they claimed) He cast out demons by the power of satan.
Mark 3:22 – And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
not unto death – If we assume that death here is spiritual, then the sin which is not unto death would be such a sin that could be forgiven (which assumes it is not the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit). Some people have committed such rebellion against God and thus declare God to be evil while the god they worship (satan) is really the good one. Many evil people today declare Lucifer to be good and Jesus to be the evil one. Others (such as freemasons) declare Lucifer to be good while satan is evil (even though it should be assumed that both Lucifer and satan are the same evil being). Romans 1:28 mentions those who have rebelled so much against God, replacing Him with their own god/s, that God has given them over to their turned-against-God lives, condemning them to remain the way they have chosen for too long.
Romans 1:28 – And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
life – zoe (life, either physical or spiritual) Here we could assume spiritual life as a contrast to the spiritual death also mentioned in this verse. However, life here may also refer to walking in fellowship with God as opposed to walking in the darkness of a lack of fellowship with God (1 John 1:6-9).
ask – (aiteo) Here it may be assumed that this is referring to prayer for another person (such as noted in James 5:14-16 where it refers to possible sin that might be forgiven through such prayer).
James 5:14-16 – 14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
his brother – It is likely that this refers to Christian brethren, and that if we see such brethren sinning a sin which does not lead to death, we should pray for that person and God (who hears and answers prayer according to His will) will give that brother life. (Some suggest that “he shall give him life” refers to the one praying making life available for the brother who sins, but if so, it would still be God who gives that life, no matter who we interpret “him” to be.)
This does suggest the possibility of a physical sin that leads to physical death and that praying for our brethren could return that person to being a good Christian and therefore life (see James 5:14-16 above) But it could also mean that we as Christians have an obligation to pray for one another to keep each other from sinning and thus falling away from God’s will.
James 5:16 – Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
In that case, “life” could then refer to life in terms of a proper fellowship with God through avoiding walking in the darkness of sin (1 John 1:6-7), and the necessity of confessing and repenting of our sins in order to remain in that walking in the light of God’s fellowship (1 John 1:9).
Effectively what this verse is saying is that we should pray for the sins of our Christian brethren to keep them in life. But why then would John tell us to not pray for those who sin the sin which leads to death if those prayed for were Christians? It could suggest then that genuine Christians could still sin the sin that leads to death, but, if that were so, then shouldn’t other Christians pray for that Christian to back off from such a sin?
I think that such a sin (which was used to describe the pharisees) should not be a part of our Christin brethren. Therefore, is John actually saying that if a person commits a sin unto death, then they have excluded themselves from being our brethren and thus should not be prayed for as we would a Christian brother?
However, please note carefully that John is not actually saying that we should not pray for those who we might consider have committed the unforgiveable sin, keeping in mind that only God knows exactly what is in a person’s heart. “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” John does not say, “He should not pray for it!” either. It does not appear to be a commandment in this case.
Another point to consider is that Mark 3:29 (But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:) might not be actually saying that such a danger is permanent. In fact, it could be read as while a person blasphemes the Holy Spirit he can never be forgiven, yet it may not actually be teaching that such blasphemy guarantees condemnation to hell without an option of repentance and forgiveness. “in danger” is enochos ( subject to; liable) and may not necessarily be permanent. Keep in mind that Paul (as Saul) was probably one of those pharisees to whom Jesus was talking. Paul may have been guilty of this “unforgiveable sin”, yet was forgiven upon his repentance on the road to Damascus.
It is clear that we are not to judge anyone as having committed such a sin, especially if they claim to be fellow-Christians. We may assess such people as probably non-Christians, yet we should still consider the possibility that such people may be back-slidden Christians who need our prayers and not our final condemnations (thus writing them off as Christians). A back-slidden Christian can sometimes appear to be totally lost, yet according to 1 Corinthians 12:3, “no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed”. Even if back-slidden, a Christian must still have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit even if grieved or even quenched.
1 John 5:17 – All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
Ultimately, says John, all unrighteousness is sin, and whether or not it is unforgiveable is not in our hands to judge, for even just one sin condemns us to the same penalty of death that is reserved for those who might commit all sins (James 2:10). We therefore should pray for all who sin, particularly for those who claim to be our brethren. While there is also a sin unto death – the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit – much sin is not unto death. In fact, Jesus taught that every sin could be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29).
That sin against the Holy Spirit has been discussed from many angles by many theologians. But we can look at it from a different angle. That which gives us eternal life (and therefore not death) is to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13). The word used for “Lord’ in Romans 10:13 is kyrios (he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord). Calling upon the name of the Lord must assume the meaning of that word kyrios. If we confess that Jesus is kyrios, and believe that this kyrios has been raised from the dead by the authority of God (Romans 10:9), then we can call on the name of kyrios Jesus Christ and be saved (Romans 10:13). Therefore, that which guarantees our everlasting death in hell is to not call upon the name of the kyrios Jesus Christ and thus be condemned merely for rejecting the kyrios Christ (John 3:18). This rejection of Christ who is kyrios has to be seen as a rejection of His lordship through claiming that the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth is actually declaring lies and not the truth. This appears to be the basis of the unforgiveable sin: to declare the truth of the Holy Spirit about Christ to be lies, or even that the Holy Spirit (and therefore Christ) is of satan.
1 John 5:18 – We 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 3:9 – Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
keepeth – tereo (to attend to carefully; take care of; guard; keep watch over)
John has used tereo also in 1 John 5:2 & 5:3, both referring to the keeping of God’s commandments.
Whoever is born of God (through salvation in Jesus Christ) does not sin (habitually) because he who is born of God (through Jesus Christ) keeps himself (keeps a careful watch over everything he does) according to God’s commandments. That is, he walks his life as Jesus walked His life (1 John 2:6). Because of this keeping of himself by walking as Jesus walked, those born of God cannot be touched by the wicked one (poneros).
the wicked one – poneros (the wicked one; the evil; the hardships, struggles and sufferings of life) Also used for “wickedness” in Vs 19 below. Translated “the wicked one” in 1 John 2:13 & 14.
It cannot be saying that Christians are exempt from the attacks of the wicked one, for that would deny the reality of spiritual warfare.
It is the wicked one’s works which define the wicked one’s servants.
1 John 3:9-10 – 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
In spite of spiritual warfare, the wicked one cannot remove us from God’s hand.
John 10:28 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
toucheth – haptomai (to fasten one’s self to; adhere to; cling to) It has the idea of not just touching someone but laying hold upon someone in order to restrain or control that person, to grab hold of a person so that he cannot act freely on his own. It has the idea of having a significant effect on the person who is “touched”. When Jesus touched someone it was often to cause healing in that person.
The wicked one may be able to come against us but should not be able to take hold of our lives in order to influence or control us (unless, of course, we make the decision to be “touched”). It is not likely that this would refer to spiritual warfare where the wicked one may be permitted to cause us great suffering (note Job). In Vs 18 above it would refer to the temptations of the wicked one which, if we keep ourselves well in Christ, should not be able to take hold of us and drag us down into the darkness of sin. (See also James 4:7)
1 John 5:19 – [And] we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
wickedness – poneros
the whole world – holos (whole) + kosmos (world). John uses this phrase one other time in 1 John: to describe the whole world for which Jesus was the atonement (1 John 2:2).
lieth – keimai (to lie – as of a child, or one buried; to be destined by God’s will; to lie in subjection to one such as the wicked one or the devil)
Thus the whole world lies under the subjection of the wickedness, or the wicked one (who would be satan, the devil).
Mankind is divided into two major groups: those who are of God and those who are not of God. The whole world is under the influence of wickedness and therefore a threat to those who are of God, those ones who are not to love that world which is subject to wickedness or have anything to do with it (1 John 2:15-17). John says that we who know we are born of God should be aware that the world is a wicked place (and therefore should be careful regarding how we walk in this world).
Ephesians 5:15-16 – 15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil (poneros).
And “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, ….. to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
Thus while those of the world walk according to the ways of the world, Christians should walk according to the way of their Lord and master (kyrios), Jesus Christ.
1 John may be seen as a checklist for Christians to tick the boxes that will define the genuine Christian as opposed to the false Christian. We have looked at many of these criteria throughout our study on 1 John. If you tick too many false Christian boxes, then you may not be a Christian (or you have a lot of growing to do!) However, a genuine Christian may not end up ticking all boxes; perfect Christians do not exist in this world, only forgiven ones. But a genuine Christian should either tick or be striving to tick all boxes. All unticked boxes may then be seen as goals for further improvement in the life of the genuine Christian. This is consistent with Philippians 1:6 which teaches that the good work which was begun in Christians (when they were saved) will continue until the day we end our time here on earth.
Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] (epiteleo – to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, complete) until the day of Jesus Christ: (where “will perform it” is similar to the love “perfected in us” of 1 John 4:12; thus the good work commenced in us will finally achieve perfection.)
This is also consistent with Christians not being required to be perfect all at once, but to be changed over time from imperfection to perfection. Some (such as Ray Comfort) teach clearly that we must repent of all our sin before we can be saved; that if we have even one unrepented sin, then that must be repented of before God will save us. This would require Christians to tick all the boxes before they could claim to be genuine Christians. This is a heresy.
John is stating a truth that Christians should know: that they are born of God yet dwell in a world that is subjected to wickedness, a world that can (and does all too often) contaminate those who enter therein. It’s why John has warned in 1 John 2:15-17 that Christians should avoid such contamination. Haggai taught that if clean is put together with unclean, then the clean will become unclean, not the other way.
Haggai 2:11-14 – 11Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests [concerning] the law, saying, 12If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 13Then said Haggai, If [one that is] unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 14Then answered Haggai, and said, So [is] this people, and so [is] this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so [is] every work of their hands; and that which they offer there [is] unclean.
Christians must of necessity live in a world subject to wickedness, yet must avoid the contamination of that wickedness. Therefore John makes this point: that we know we are Christians so live accordingly. We might know, but do others see us and know it to be true of us as well?
1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
know (1) – oida (a knowledge that includes understanding of how it works)
an understanding – dianoia (the mind as a faculty of understanding; the mind of thinking and feeling; thoughts, either good or bad) The ability to reason things out.
know (2) – ginosko (knowledge based on simply having done something)
We as Christians can know with understanding (oida) that the Son of God has come (in the flesh) and has therefore led us into an understanding or comprehension (dianoia) (an understanding that permits us to reason things out) that we may know by experience (ginosko) Him who is true, and that we are in Him who is true, that is, God’s Son Jesus Christ.
If we are genuine Christians, then we will know Jesus Christ who is the truth (John 14:6) and that we are in Him, the body of Christ who is true; therefore we also must be true. If we are not true (if we live a lie in this world), then we cannot be in Him who is true. Our lives will demonstrate what we are: genuine Christians or hypocrites.
Colossians 3:1-3 – 1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
This is the true God, and eternal life. – “This” is a nominative masculine singular pronoun and may refer to either God the Father or Jesus the Son, or it may refer to the set of attributes (that we should have) that demonstrate God to be the true God (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). In any case, whether it refers to God or to the attributes (which we should have) that define the true God is not important. It is saying that this is the true God who alone can provide eternal life (John 6:66-69; John 17:3). He alone is true and therefore all those in Him must also be true to His character.
There are those who claim to be genuine Christians yet who do not do as those who are in Him who is true should do. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, then it is a duck. If we are genuine Christians, we will act like genuine Christians. Our lives will be true to the one whom we serve. We must tick enough boxes to demonstrate our Christian status, and we must be striving to tick even more boxes as we grow in Christ.
Paul told the Corinthians that we were Christ’s ambassadors, those who plead (standing in the place of Christ with the authority of God) with others regarding reconciliation with God. To do so we would have to be like Christ Himself, true to His character.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 – 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Note that Christians are to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
John has written 1 John to define those who are born of the true God; those who are born of this true God will be defined by the criteria that John has listed in 1 John. Any other God is not true. Even if we tick all the boxes for another god, that god can never be the true God unless He requires the characteristics of a genuine Christian. And, says John, there is one very important and necessary description of the true God: He grants eternal life to those who are His.
John 6:66-69 – 66From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 17:3 – And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
If we look at these final 2 verses of 1 John, we can see that Vs 20 looks at the true God while Vs 21 then looks at the false alternatives.
1 John 5:21 – Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
idols – eidolon (image; likeness; image of a heathen god; a false god)
That which is most important in any person’s life is his god. You define your god by the way you live. If you serve an idol (false god), then you will tick boxes that define you as that false god’s servant. If you are a Christian, then you should not tick the false god boxes. You cannot serve two masters at the same time. If you serve God, then He is your master. But if, even as a Christian, you serve the requirements of another god (an idol; a false god), then at that time that idol is your master, your god, your kyrios. For the genuine Christian there can be no compromise. Sooner or later you will have to choose between one or the other. Christians should choose the true God, yet how many will choose the compromise that enticed them away from true God worship in the first place.
Israel was warned that when God had settled them in their promised land by removing the inhabiting nations, they were not to get curious about what it was like to worship the false gods of those nations. They were to obey God to the letter of the law, no more, no less. They were to just leave the world around them alone.
Deuteronomy 12:29-32 – 29When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
And Christians have to do exactly the same. No curiosity. No enquiring after the things of the world. No desiring to have what the world has. Just the latter of the law, no more, no less.