SIN THAT LEADS TO DEATH
If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who is born of God; the One who is born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them (1 John 5: 16-18).
John seems to be speaking in riddles here. What is the sin that leads to death?
First of all, we know that all sin leads to death. “The soul that sins shall die,” said Ezekiel (Ez 18:20). Sin brings death. Adam and Eve died to God when they sinned in the Garden of Eden.
Through Christ, however, God has forgiven all sin and he forgives the sin of those who repent and turn to Him. How, then can there be a sin that leads to death?
Jesus spoke of two sins that God cannot forgive, and for a very good reason. The first is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil. If we deny the work of the Holy Spirit, there is no one who will apply the work of Jesus to our hearts.
Jesus had just driven a demon out of a man when the Pharisees accused Him of driving out devils in the power of the devil.
All the people were astonished and said, ‘Could this be the son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.’ (Matt. 12: 23-24).
Jesus knew their thoughts. He responded by reminding them that a divided kingdom would not last. The Pharisees were uttering dangerous words. They accused Jesus of casting out demons in the power of the devil. Jesus, however, knew that He had been anointed by the Spirit of God to release captives from Satan’s power.
If it by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matt. 12: 28).
Then He spoke these sobering words to His accusers:
And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come (Matt. 12: 31-32).
The second sin which God cannot forgive is the sin of unforgiveness. Peter asked Jesus a question:
Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? (Matt: 18: 21).
Peter thought he was being big-hearted by being willing to forgive his brother seven times for the same sin. Seven is the number of completion – the number of God. Peter believed that seven times was enough to please God.
Jesus responded to Peter’s question with a story about a king who called his servants to account for the debt they owed him. One servant owed him an unpayable amount. The king was about to sell him, his family and all his possessions to pay the debt. When the servant pleaded for mercy, the king has compassion on him. He cancelled the debt and released him.
The same man found a fellow-servant who owed him a small amount of money. Instead of treating him with the same compassion as he had received, he grabbed the man by the throat and demanded immediate payment. No amount of pleading would soften his heart. He had his fellow-servant thrown in prison until he could pay.
The other servants reported him to the king who recalled him, reinstated the debt and handed him over to the jailers to be tormented until he repaid the full amount. Jesus concluded His story with these words:
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each one of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from you heart (Matt. 18: 35).
The issue is not how many times must I forgive but why I should forgive. The unforgiving servant did not appreciate the measure of the king’s mercy towards him. God has forgiven us so much that any debt that our fellow man owes us is minuscule compared with the debt we owed God.
Jesus said that these two sins are unforgivable. Therefore, it is useless to pray for anyone who has committed either of these two sins because God will not forgive them, even if we pray for them.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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