THE SIN UNTO DEATH
1 John 5:16-17 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, 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. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
In the previous few verses, John told us that all faithful Christians have the assurance from God that He will hear their prayerful petitions ,and grant all things that He deems needful for them. John now tells us that if any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. This passage brings to light many scriptural points of consideration. It tells us that a bother or sister in Christ, a fellow Christian, can be overtaken by sin. Becoming a Christian does not prevent, or insulate one from the temptations of life. Sinfulness is continually before us and, in our weakest hour, it can lead us astray. This passage also tells us that there will be times when we can witness sin taking place in the life of others. Knowing that God hears the prayers of His faithful children, we are taught in this passage to prayerfully seek God's guidance in delivering others from Satan's allurement of sin. We need the wisdom, that God has promised to give us, in order to help others see the error of their way, and lead them back into a righteous relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Savior.
To those that, through obedience, live in and continue a covenant relationship with God by the forgiveness of sins, He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. That is, God promises eternal life to every Christian man or woman that may be lured into sin by the wiles of Satan, but repents, seeks God's forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ by which he or she is reconciled, and returns to God as His faithful servant. Christians, in this scripture, are taught to continually pray for the godly wisdom and strength to overcome the power of sin in their lives, and also to intercede on behalf of all fellow Christians that may have given into sin, that they may also be restored into a righteous relationship with God.
Without too much controversy, all that read, and give diligent study to, them will understand these New Testament teachings. However, many fail to understand, and there is much debate over the meaning of "sin unto death," and "sin not unto death." First of all, we are given sufficient assurance that God will forgive all sinners of their trespasses, if, and only if, they seek His forgiveness, in the manner He requires. In the Old Testament, God's inspired word tells us that He will blot out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins (Isaiah 43:25). Of the wicked and unrighteous man, this is written: let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7). Returning to His grace assures us that God will forgive their iniquity, and ...remember their sin no more (Jer. 31:34). David understood God's forgiving grace when he penned this inspired confession: For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee (Psalm 86:5). Although there are many others, these Old Testament references give this assurance of God's forgiveness.
The writer of the Hebrew letter tells us that sinfulness is like a heavy weight that is to be laid aside in order for a Christian to successfully run the race of life (Heb 12:1). The forgiveness of sins is available to all, but it is conditional. Jesus taught that forgiveness could be ours, but only if we forgive others (Matt. 6:12). Acts 3:19 and 8:22 tells us that forgiveness is assured, but only if one repents of, and turns away, from such sinful ways. The apostle Paul says this about the relationship between Christ and a sinner. He says that it is God, Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14). From these few New Testament scriptures we are assured of forgiveness only IF we forgive others, IF we repent and turn away from our sins, and IF we are in Christ, that is,IF we have been born again by obedience to the will of God, and been added to the His church, through baptism for the remission of sins.
It is here that the skeptic usually reminds us of several other passages regarding a sin unto death. For instance, what about the scripture found in Hebrews 6:4-6, which says, For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame. The answer is, yes there are sins that have no forgiveness. However, such sins cannot be forgiven by God because of the hardness of the sinner's heart. One must possess the moral capacity, not only to recognize their sins, but the willingness to repent, and turn from them in order for such sins to be forgiven.
One cannot be forgiven if they continue to openly, and unashamedly, add to, subtract from, deny, or speak in a blasphemous way against the word of God, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit, as noted in Matthew 12:31-32. One cannot be forgiven if they willfully and deliberately reject the only source of forgiveness - Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice for the remission of sins, that He made on the cross of Calvary (See Hebrews 10:26-270. One cannot be forgiven if having once escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, (if) they are again entangled therein, and (are) overcome (2 Pet. 2:20). Becoming a Christian does not assure eternal salvation, neither does it assure that one will not be lured back into the sinful state of the Satan-inspired world. To be overcome by the sinful nature of the world, is the sinful state of mankind that is unforgivable; a state in which sin is not recognized as condemning; a state in which sin is accepted, and there is no concern or fear of its punishment.
Mercy and forgiveness is not available from God to those that refuse to accept His Son, Jesus Christ as their Savior - those that refuse to baptized into the body of Christ for the remission of their sins. Mercy and forgiveness is only available to all Christians that meet the conditions established by God. He has told us what is required for forgiveness. It is up to each individual to become, and remain, a Christian in order to obtain God's forgiveness through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. The conscience, that is, the heart and mind of every man or woman, can become as numb as flesh that has been seared by a hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2). Sins unto death are those from which a Christian cannot be forgiven, due to their hardheartedness, that is, their inability, or their unwillingness, to repent, and their refusal to be obedient to the will of God.
God has provided a way for the forgiveness of all sins, and with it, the hope of eternal salvation. It is His will that all mankind avail themselves of these spiritual blessings. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Unless we comply, any unforgiven transgression of His will is a sin unto (eternal) death.