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"Sin Unto Death"

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#1
chloe_fantastic

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1 John 5:16

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.

 

So what is the "sin unto death"?

 

This came up in Bible study tonight. Someone said that it was rejecting Jesus, based on the understanding that death in the verse refers to spiritual death.  I disagreed, reason being if this was so, then why are we told not to pray about it? If a brother or sister seemingly fell away, wouldn't that be something we should pray about? The only reason I can see to not pray about this is if the death being referred to is physical and prayers after this point are futile.

 

What say you?



#2
shiloh357

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John Piper, addressed this, and I agree with his assessment.  He said the following: 

 

"I believe that He does not have “kinds of sinning” in mind.  Rather, it is degrees of rootedness, and degrees of habituality and degrees of persistence.  So that the “Esau” factor comes in from Hebrews 12: 16-17 where Esau sinned against God’s benefits so relentlessly that  God finally said, “it’s over.”  The Bible says to remember your Creator in the days of your youth because if you pursue sin, you may think you are going to repent one day, but you will discover that you are unable to repent, just like Esau who sought repentance with tears but couldn’t find it. 

 

It is a frightening thing to think that you have lived thinking that after you have sowed your wild oats that you will then seek repentance in the end, but find that you are powerless because there is sin unto death and you don’t know when you crossed that line and God is done with you and He isn’t going to real you in again.   Beware because if you put it off, you will become so in love with your sin, you couldn’t repent if 10,000 horses pulled on your heart."



#3
2404

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Jesus' attonement is for anyone that will receive it.
If a person comes in contact with the workings of the Holy Spirit and rejects it (calling it the work of the devil) they are literally sealing themself off from devine intervention and therefore prayer for them is meaningless.

Edited by 2404, 27 March 2014 - 09:16 AM.


#4
chloe_fantastic

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Hey Shiloh

Does he mean the person eventually loses their salvation by not being able to repent (spiritual death), or that because they're unable to repent God eventually takes their life (physical death)?

 

Hey 2404,

Do you mean blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Can/would a believer commit such?

 

Thanks, guys, and I'm sorry I'm posting in this way. Ever since my upgrade to Windows 8.1, the quote feature no longer works for me. :th_frusty:



#5
Littlelambseativy

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Every sin is either forgiven if repented - if not the sinner is judged and is cast into outer darkness not eternal death. But what sin is a sin "unto death"? I as others thought sinning against the Holy Spirit but is that judged unto death? Then I thought suicide. Is it a sin unto death? Just curious - we are really not given an answer or clear explanation of what that really is. Sinning against the Holy Spirit is not a frivolous thing but "unto death" that is a curious phrase.



#6
2404

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Hey Shiloh
Does he mean the person eventually loses their salvation by not being able to repent (spiritual death), or that because they're unable to repent God eventually takes their life (physical death)?
 
Hey 2404,
Do you mean blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Can/would a believer commit such?
 
Thanks, guys, and I'm sorry I'm posting in this way. Ever since my upgrade to Windows 8.1, the quote feature no longer works for me. :th_frusty:


No, a believer can not because that is what they are. They may stumble but the attonment is applied.

#7
shiloh357

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Hey Shiloh

Does he mean the person eventually loses their salvation by not being able to repent (spiritual death), or that because they're unable to repent God eventually takes their life (physical death)?

 

No, the sin unto death doesn't apply to Christians.   The sin unto death is the attitude of unrepentance of a sinner.  A person who chooses continued separation from God and never comes to Jesus and dies in that condition has committed the sin unto death.



#8
chloe_fantastic

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Okay, so what I hear you guys saying is this isn't pertaining to Christians. My next question is, why does the verse say....."If any man see his brother...."? I always took this to mean "a brother or sister in Christ" when I read it in the NT. Is this a wrong understanding?



#9
2404

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Okay, so what I hear you guys saying is this isn't pertaining to Christians. My next question is, why does the verse say....."If any man see his brother...."? I always took this to mean "a brother or sister in Christ" when I read it in the NT. Is this a wrong understanding?


Is it not proper from a Christian's perspective of mutual love and respect?

#10
shiloh357

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Okay, so what I hear you guys saying is this isn't pertaining to Christians. My next question is, why does the verse say....."If any man see his brother...."? I always took this to mean "a brother or sister in Christ" when I read it in the NT. Is this a wrong understanding?

I guess the answer would depend on whether or not one sees this as referring to spiritual death or simply physical death. 

 

I don't think it is referring to a brother in the sense of sibling and since I see this as referring to spiritual death, I think it might refer to one who participated in the Christian community but was not a genuine follower of Jesus.  There are "Christians" who are full members of churches who participate in the life of the church and are considered "brothers and sisters" but in the end, never really knew Jesus.

 

Now if one sees this as referring to physical death, then it would be easy to say that "brother" refers to a fellow believer who commits a sin like Annaias and Saphira or who were like the Corinthians who were sick and falling to fatal illnesses because they had defiled the communion table.

 

I see it as a spiritual matter, but there are those who see it differently.



#11
shiloh357

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Here is another point of view for you to consider that I found online.   Link is below

 

Sin unto Death

 

The expression "sin unto death" ( 1 John 5:16-17 ) appears in a context concerning confident, effective prayer (cf. 1 John 3:21-22 ; 4:17 ). First John 5:14-15 speaks generally about the confidence that God will answer requests made according to his will. Verses 16-17 speak specifically about the confidence that God will answer intercession for believers who are committing a sin not unto death and give life to them. But no such confidence is available when the sins is unto death. While all unrighteousness is sin, not all sin is unto death. Thus, the comment about sin unto death is something of an afterthought.

 

But what are the nondeadly and deadly sins? Some answers are unconvincing because they stress remote contexts rather than the immediate context in 1 John. The view that mortal and venial sins are distinguished is anachronistic. In another approach, death is understood as physical, but in 1 John death and life are spiritual (1:1-2; 2:25; 3:14-15; 4:9; 5:11-13). Another view connects 1 John 5:16-17 with the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit ( Matt 12:31-32 ; Mark 3:28-30 ), but 1 John says nothing about attributing the miracles of Jesus to Satan's power. Yet another theory sees the sin unto death as apostasy (cf. Heb 2:3 ; 6:6 ; 10:29-31 ), but 1 John 2:19 indicates that "apostates" were never really in the community to begin with. Thus, another solution must be sought.

 

The polemic of 1 John views sin very seriously ( 1:7-10 ; 2:12 ; 1 John 3:4-5 1 John 3:8-9 ; 4:10 ; 5:18 ). While believers do sin occasionally ( 1 John 1:7 1 John 1:9 ; 2:1 ; 5:16 ), they do not persist in ethical disobedience ( 2:4 ), social bigotry ( 2:9 ; 3:14-17 ; 4:20-21 ), or christological heresy ( 2:18-29 ; 4:1-3 ). In this qualified sense they do not sin ( 1 John 3:6 1 John 3:9 ; 5:18 ); in other words, their sin is not deadly ( 5:16-17 ). But those who walk in darkness while claiming to be in the light ( 1:6 ), who hate believers ( 2:9 ), and who deny that Jesus is the Messiah ( 2:22 ) are committing deadly sins. Thus, the polemic admits the reality of believers' sinning against the opponents' perfectionistic claims, but it also stresses the ideal of sinlessness. In this setting, the community is commanded to intercede for fellow believers who occasionally sin, but it is not commanded to pray for the deadly sins of those outside the community.

 

http://www.biblestud...unto-death.html



#12
chloe_fantastic

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Thank you, Shiloh, for taking the time to help me with this. I think I'm getting the picture much better.



#13
Openly Curious

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The letter that Apostle John wrote was to believers in general.....

 

1John 1:1-4 - That WHICH was from the beginning, Which we have heard, Which we have seen with our eyes, Which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, Which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us:)  That Which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ .  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 

 

It seems that John within his letter to the saints was concerned over certain opinions or philosophy that had been mixing in with the Christian faith.  One of them was the opinion that Jesus had only appeared to have a body but he really didn't have one (speaking of the body of Jesus after his resurrection).  The second opinion that seemed to be of concern to John that was going around was that the things (deeds) we do while living in our bodies (which are inherently evil as we were born in sin) couldn't make us unclean or pollute our souls (which are inherently good).  Of course this is gnostic philosphy or teaching.  And apostle John is making it clear to the believers at the start of his letter that the gospel was based on the actual evidence of the physical senses in that he had heard, seen, and even touched Jesus himself after the resurrection when Jesus had appeared to ten of the apostles in......Luke 24:36-43 - And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  But they were terrified and affrightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me haveAnd when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and feet.  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them,  Have ye here any meat?  And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took it, and did eat  before them.   So the apostle John is giving witness to the believers that Jesus did have a literal resurrected body that he himself saw and touched with his own hands as Jesus even ate broiled fish and honeycomb in his resurrected glorified body.

 

Apostle John further into his letter says in......1 John 3:9-10 - 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 (1 Peter 1:23).  In 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 his brother.  John is pointing out and insisting that no one who is a true Christian can go on living a sinful physical life in his body after salvation because there is eternal consequences (Galatians 6).  John states this in.......1 John 4:2 - Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (body) is of God.  Every Christian must acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh.  Apostle John has built his whole letter around this knowledge or wisdom of God and on the live we have in Christ.  If there are brothers and sister among us that deny these truths.  Then even if they are among us Apostle John says they are not of God they do not have the Spirit of God abiding with in them.  We as believers must turn away from such people and not listen to them because they are really not for Christ they do not believe him and they are anti- Christ and have not been regenerated or born again and made a new creature in Christ Jesus.   Our salvation rests upon the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and the confession of these truths. 

 

Getting to the question in the OP.  It is our guilty conscious that condemns us before God when we sin or mess up and do wrong in life.  Our conscious if not seared convicts us of our wrong doing before God and if we have unconfessed sin in our lives then our fellowship with God is broken during those times.  Our guilty conscious they will not let us approach God and ask or make our petitions known to him.  Unconfessed sins will take our confidence towards God away from us as John says this to the believers in...1 John 5:13-21.

 

Now let's look at 1John 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: (1 John 3:20-24; Job 42:8; James 5:14) There is a sin unto death: (Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:29; Hebrews 6:4, 6) I do not say that he shall pray for it (Jeremiah 7:16; John 17:9).  All unrighteousness (wrongdoing) is sin:  and there is a sin not unto death (1 John 3:4).

 

If we see a fellow believer in Christ doing wrong we should offer to pray with them and give them godly counsel so they can confess their faults (sins or wrongdoings) and be restored in their relationship (fellowship & confidence) with God.  Both Apostle Paul and James the apostle wrote in their letters in......Galatians 6:1-2 - BRETHREN, IF a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.........James 5:13-20 - vs. 16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed (spiritually). The effectual fervent prayer of a righteouss man availeth much......vs. 19-20) Brethren, if any of you do err (stray) from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.   It is the same way if someone is sick they are to call on the elders of the church to pray for them and they can be healed of physical sicknesses by the prayers of the righteous.

 

Jesus told us that any kind of sin can be forgiven if we just confess and forsake it.  But if a person blasphemes the Holy Ghost of God then this sin will never be forgiven a person they can pray and repent all they want too but God will stop up his ears and not hear their prayers of forgiveness and pardon them.  They will have no hope ever of reconciliation with God the Father.

 

Bottom line is that as a Christian all of our faults and failures can be forgiven us if we confess them to God and he will forgive us and will hear our prayers and have fellowship with us and our confidence will be restored to us toward God.  It is good to know as a Christian if I mess up and sin that no matter what it is or how bad it is in my conscious that I can pray and ask for forgiveness and it will be granted as he will give more grace to help us in times of need.  But if I blaspheme the Holy Ghost my prayer of confession will not be heard it will be unto death (eternal seperation from God). 

 

But we are to turn away from the false teachers who do not believe Jesus came in the flesh.  Because we are saved through faith by the grace of God who sent his only begotten Son into this world that we could be saved.  Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins.  2 John vs. 7-12



#14
chloe_fantastic

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Thanks for all your answers, guys. :emot-heartbeat:



#15
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I think it is illustrated in 1 Corinthians by the man who fornicated with his father's wife and was to be delivered to satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit would be saved. I think it is persistence in gross sin and that chastisement of physical death is in order.

#16
19Duggarfan

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I agree with Atwood.  Especially when Ananias and Sapphira, who did not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit but surely lied to Him, so we see they lied to God, which cost them their lives,and IMO, where just one step short of committing the unpardonable sin, so no need to pray for them for God was taking them both home before they could cause themselves eternal damnation, see Acts 5:1-11.



#17
ConnorLiamBrown

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Okay, so what I hear you guys saying is this isn't pertaining to Christians. My next question is, why does the verse say....."If any man see his brother...."? I always took this to mean "a brother or sister in Christ" when I read it in the NT. Is this a wrong understanding?

 

I guess the answer would depend on whether or not one sees this as referring to spiritual death or simply physical death. 

 

 

I think we can rule out physical death on the logic of the text.  To have in mind physical death, the verse would be telling us that God will give physical life to him who is not near physical death--kind of pointless.

 

The grammatical construction of the Greek seems hesitant--οὐ περὶ ἐκείνης λέγω ἵνα ἐρωτήσῃ. (1Jo 5:16 BGT)

 

Literally it reads, "not concerning this one do I say that he ought to pray": This is far softer than the strong prohibition "I say do not pray concerning/for this one".  Is it possible that the author is consciously ambiguous concerning this class of sinner? 

 

My chief difficulty with this verse is the impracticality of it--how should I know when one is so far gone that there is no point to pray for him anymore? Is that not God's decision?

 

clb



#18
chloe_fantastic

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My chief difficulty with this verse is the impracticality of it--how should I know when one is so far gone that there is no point to pray for him anymore?

 

This is what leads me to include physical death as a possibility.



#19
ConnorLiamBrown

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My chief difficulty with this verse is the impracticality of it--how should I know when one is so far gone that there is no point to pray for him anymore?

 

This is what leads me to include physical death as a possibility.

 

I've done some thinking on this since, and I suppose physical death should not be ruled out; but it doesn't solve much for me.

 

But what would a sin that leads to death be? Armed robbery might get you shot; or murder might get you hanged?

 

But perhaps there need not be a direct, natural correlation between the sin and the ensuing death.  In New Testament times even there was the belief that sickness was a judgment of God upon the sick.  Perhaps John is saying that if the man's sins have brought this judgment, then there is no point praying for him.

 

However, how do I know if my ailing mother is dying because of some heinous sin unknown to me?  Should I pray for her?  So the practical problem remains.

 

clb



#20
chloe_fantastic

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But what would a sin that leads to death be?

I'm thinking along the lines of an Ananias and Sapphira situation, or this one...

 

1 Cor 11

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world

 


 

However, how do I know if my ailing mother is dying because of some heinous sin unknown to me?  Should I pray for her?  So the practical problem remains.

That's just it. If it's already led to death is the only reason I can think of why we shouldn't pray, because after death is the only time we know for sure prayers for that person are to no avail.

 

But I gotta admit, I'm not sure about it....I'm just trying to work this one out.






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