December 23 — The Sin Unto Death (1 John 5:16)

            1 John 5:16: “If anyone should see his brother sinning a sin not towards death, he shall ask and He shall give him life–those who are not sinning towards death. There is a sin towards death, not concerning that am I saying that he should make request.”

            Verse 16: “If anyone should see his brother sinning a sin not towards death, he shall ask and He shall give him life–those who are not sinning towards death. There is a sin towards death, not concerning that am I saying that he should make request.”

There is “sin” which leads to “death.” Then, there is sin which happens in the life of a Christian. This sin is an accident that comes in a moment of weakness or frustration. This is the “sin” John is referencing.

The apostle returns to his thoughts in chapter 3:9: “Everyone who has been born of God is not practicing sin, because His seed is remaining in him; and he is not able to keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

Sometimes a Christian may sin so seriously that God judges that sin with swift, physical death. In this case, it is a sin that leads to death. In Acts 4:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira are an example of this extreme sin.

However, most of the sins one sees a Christian brother commit are a common occurrence, not of such a serious nature. For these sins, a believer ought to pray, knowing that if any sin is continued long enough, it is a threat to a fellow Christian’s life.

My responsibility regarding the problem of sin in my life was spoken about in chapter 1:9: “If we are confessing our sins, faithful is He and just that He should forgive us our sins, and should cleanse us from every unrighteousness.”

We can have boldness to come into His presence even to the point where we can pray for a sinning brother and see him restored in the things of the Lord.

“If anyone should see his brother sinning,” referring to a Christian brother, “not towards death,” because his sin has been forgiven and cleansed by faith in the Lord Jesus, “he shall ask and He shall give him life.”

“There is a sin towards death, not concerning that am I saying that he should make request.” There is “sin unto death” for the person who is not a Christian, but also for the one who is. The “sin unto death” for a person who is not a Christian is the rejection of Jesus Christ or the denial that He has come in the flesh to die on the cross for our sins. The “sin unto death” for a Christian is physical death.

John is writing to Christians and addressing our fellowship with the Father. I believe he is referencing the same issue Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 11:30: “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.”

The “sin unto death” for the Christian is the Father saying to His sinning child, “If you are going to persist in disobedience, it is better for you to come on home with Me than to remain there on earth jeopardizing My cause.”

This morning, please join me in worship and praise as we sing verses 2 and 3 of “Calvary Covers It All”: “The stripes that He bore and the thorns that He wore Told His mercy and love evermore (evermore); And my heart bowed in shame as I called on His name, And Calvary covers it all. How matchless the grace, when I looked in the face Of this Jesus, my crucified Lord (of my Lord); My redemption complete I then found at His feet, And Calvary covers it all. Calvary covers it all, My past with its sin and stain; My guilt and despair Jesus took on Him there, And Calvary covers it all.”