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So we can be devoured by the devil to which we also suffer by the devils attacks, but we are also not touched by the devil?

Q: How do we reconcile these 2 verses?

“We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭

So we are getting “touched/devoured/suffering” by Satan & not touched by him at the same time?

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  • The second text does not imply that the roaring lion achieves the devouring for which he prowls. The 'experience of suffering' being accomplished elsewhere is the experience of danger, fear, trepidation, peril. Not being devoured.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 9:02
  • @NigelJ Based on the immediate context, that seems highly unlikely.
    – Cork88
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 15:36
  • Suffering is not same as being touched by evil which means falling into sin. John says a righteous man cannot sin, he's not able to sin since he hates him and abides in God. Temptations to sin don't mean sinning.
    – Michael16
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 3:56
  • @Michael16 Can you elaborate a little more?
    – Cork88
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 4:52
  • @Michael16 The Greek word is ἅπτεται (haptetai) for “touch” in 1 John 5:18, yet, falling into sin as you say isn’t the most accurate idea. It would appear that the Greek word has the definition of: “lay hold of, touch, know carnally.” So Satan doesn’t lay hold on us, those who are born of God don’t practice sin: “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:9‬
    – Cork88
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 17:28

3 Answers 3

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The difference between these two texts, 1 John 5:18 and 1 Peter 5:8, 9 is the difference between what could be called "internal temptations" vs "external temptations". Let me illustrate.

Of my many and varied faults and failings, smoking is not one. Therefore, if someone tempts me to smoke by offering a cigarette, I am not tempted.

Note the two different ways that "tempted" is used here - one is the external temptation of someone offering me a cigarette, and the other is whether I feel any urge to accept. Only the second is a sin, the first is not.

1 Peter 5:8, 9 is effectively discussing external temptations in the form of suffering and persecutions in order to get God's people to abandon their faith.

1 John 5:18 is discussing what happens to the divinely transformed life in the face of such difficulties and external temptations - they have no effect and so the one being externally tempted can say, the devil does not "touch" me, that is, the temptation is ineffective in getting the person to sin.

This is one of the ways we imitate Christ because He said on one occasion:

John 14:30 - No longer will I speak much with you; for the ruler of this world comes, and in Me he has nothing.

That is, nothing in Christ was able to respond to what the devil brought against Jesus by way of temptations.

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  • nothing in Christ was able to respond to what the devil brought against Jesus by way of temptations. The bible says otherwise. Jesus overcame the world not by being immune from it, but by defeating it and it's ruler. That's why Rom 6:9 informs us he was 'mastered by death'.
    – Steve
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 7:11
  • @steveowen - you have misquoted Rom 6:9 which says that "Death no longer rules over Him".
    – Dottard
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 7:52
  • 'death no longer is master over him' NASB. If death was his master... ? The sentiment remains, your novel idea is not substantiated by scripture.
    – Steve
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 8:04
  • @steveowen - that is correct - during His earthly ministry, Jesus was mortal and subject to death and later actually died. There is nothing novel about this!! Jesus died for our sins on the cross.
    – Dottard
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 9:12
  • What is novel is your final statement. The verse you refer to has nothing about this idea of yours. If he 'could not be tempted' as you infer, then he was not really tempted like us, as we are told he was.
    – Steve
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 9:32
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Simple answer - they are different ages.

“We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9‬

The 1John verse refers to a future time when those 'born from above' will be transformed to new spirit life. They will not sin again because they are filled with God's seed.

No one who has been born of God practices sin, because His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin ('continually' is added to the text), because he has been born of God. 1John 3:9

In the future there will be no - our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion. He will be removed from the scene at this stage. So 1 Peter‬ is talking about this present age where the devil still influences God's people.

The matter of being born from above (born again), which has not happened yet is explained here.

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  • Those who are born again, have been born again in this present evil age. In order to inherit the kingdom of God you need to be born again here & now: John 3:1-5. - “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:23‬ ‭- NOTE: “have been born again” Peter writes to his recipients. - “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again…” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:3‬ - What do you mean it hasn’t happened yet?
    – Cork88
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 7:08
  • So say many others - but if you take the time to read what we are provided it does not make sense. Are you imperishable? No, I didn't think so. The link explains it sufficiently. "he has given us new birth into a living hope" 1Pet 1:3. If you are born again now you don't need hope. Who hopes for what they already have?
    – Steve
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 7:15
  • Uhh Steve, you said: “Are you imperishable?” Neither I, nor the Scripture says that. It says: “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable…” it’s the “seed” that is imperishable. We will get an imperishable body at the resurrection: “ “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:42‬ ‭- Are you thinking of Romans 8:24-25??
    – Cork88
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 7:22
  • The concept is mentioned several times - they all refer to the time yet future when we cannot die anymore. We are still flesh with a spirit deposit only - this is not the new life that is born of spirit. This is the only explanation that allows the 1John passages to read as intended without adding words to match a theology. As you can see from the other answer it is mostly opinion without support and is based on wrong ideas not of the text.
    – Steve
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 7:28
  • I am confused to your particular hermeneutic. Anyone can claim a theology as a polemic against someone else’s attempted exegesis of a particular text of scripture. Nowhere in Scripture, especially of 1st John; does any author make mention of being “born again” as a future tense reality in terms of “glorification” as per Romans 8:30, for example. 1 Peter 1:3 was written to the “elect” 1:2, “pilgrims” 1:1, and it was said of them that God has “given them new birth” ἀναγεννάω (anagennaó). Not that God will (as in a future tense). I don’t think your hermeneutic on the NB is right.
    – Cork88
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 7:37
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We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭ THIS IS TALKING ABOUT THE EVIL ONE HARMING THE BELIEVER BECAUSE HE SINS. OR THE THINGS THAT WILL BEFALL A BELIEVER WHEN HE MAKES PRACTICE OF SIN.

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭

THIS IS THE ATTACK THAT SATAN THROWS AT BELIEVERS IN OTHER TO SHIPWRECK THEIR FAITH.

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    How does this answer the question to resolve an apparent contradiction?
    – Dottard
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 11:03
  • My answer is similar as yours. Your just contains more theological terms Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 11:16

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