There is a Sin unto Death
Last week I talked about the idea of two classifications of sin; Mortal and venial sin. A mortal sin being a sin that brings death, unless repented of and forgiven. Whereas a venial sin would be a sin that does not incur death, and would not require any action to be forgiven.
Of course that’s a bunch of hogwash according to the bible. The bible says that “..when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death”, James 1:15. No classifications of sin there, just sin resulting in death. Spiritual death.
And then Isaiah 59:2 which says; “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God (that’s what spiritual death is, a separation between you and God) and you sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.” No classification of sins there either, just sin and separation.
And of course James 2:10 which tells us that “Whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, has become guilty of all.” No classification of one sin or another that causes your guilt, simply that if you stumble in one, you have become guilty of all.
I also talked about some verses that speak about the forgiveness of sins. Such as 1 John 1:9 which says; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Not just some unrighteousness, but ALL unrighteousness. That little three letter word “all”, (it’s even three letters in the Greek) means.. “each part, every part, the totality of parts”.
There’s not a sin that cannot be forgiven, IF the condition is met. The condition specified in this verse of course is “confess”. “If we confess our sins..” Remember, this is being written to Christians, there’s no need to be baptized again. If you’re “born again” once, that’s enough.
But there is another condition specified elsewhere in the bible, in order for a Christian to have their sins forgiven. Last week I also gave the illustration from Acts chapter 8, of Simon the sorcerer, who was baptized after believing in Christ, but very shortly afterwards, he once again sinned. And here’s what this Christian man was told to do about his sin, in verse 22; “Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord, that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.”
Repent and pray, Peter said. Confess, John said. The confession would obviously go along with the prayer, wouldn’t it? When a Christian sins, he must repent of his sin, and pray to God, confessing his guilt, and asking to be forgiven of that sin. ANY sin can be forgiven. ALL sin can be forgiven, IF you meet the conditions that God has ordained.
And you remember the “unforgivable sin” that I talked about, from Mark 3:28 & 29; “Truly I say to you; All sins shall be forgiven the sons of men (if you meet the conditions) and whatever blasphemes they utter. But, whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit, never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”
And do you remember WHY that particular sin cannot be forgiven, when all other sins CAN be forgiven? It’s because of the conditions that God has ordained. You must repent of your sin, and then go to the very Spirit of God, and pray for forgiveness, confessing your guilt. But if you hold God, and the Spirit of God, in contempt, (that’s what it means to blaspheme, to hold in contempt) then how could you possibly go to God and ask for forgiveness? To blaspheme the Spirit of God, is to remove from yourself, the only possible means of forgiveness. And then you’re lost eternally.
The apostle John wrote, in 1 John 5:16 & 17; “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin NOT to death, he shall ask, and God will for him, give life to those who commit sin not to death. There is a sin to death. I do not say that he should make request for this. all unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin NOT to death.”
Do you think that this is one of the passages that lead people to believe that there are two classifications of sin? One type of sin that leads to death, a mortal sin, and one type of sin that does not lead to death, a venial sin? It could be, but only if they don’t take into account the other verses that we’ve already considered.
What type of sin “brings forth death” according to James 1:15? Just plain old sin, that’s all. No “type” of sin, just sin. All sin “brings forth death”. It all separates us from God, IF we haven’t met the conditions of forgiveness. And which type of sin can be forgiven? There is no “type”, it’s all just sin, and it all can be forgiven, IF we meet the conditions.
So now, back to 1 John 5:16. Let’s name a sin that is “unto death”. And don’t worry about the fact that your bible says there’s “A sin”, as if it’s a particular, one sin. The word “a” isn’t even in the original text. It simply says; “There is sin unto death.” Not A sin, but just sin.
So let’s name a sin unto death.. I’ll name a bunch of them; Lying, stealing, fornication, adultery, murder, idolatry, divisions, strife, envy. They’re all “unto death” if they’re not repented of and confessed. And John’s writings are telling us, that if we see a brother, or sister, who is sinning a sin that they will NOT repent of, and confess of, then don’t pray for that sin to be forgiven them, because it won’t be. They’ve not met the conditions of forgiveness, so why would we pray for forgiveness?
If you want to pray for that person, pray that the Lord will soften their heart, so that they WILL repent and confess their sin. Whose will is it, that we should pray to be done? Should we pray that our will be done, or our brother’s will be done? No, we need to pray that God’s will be done. “Not My will, but Thine be done”, Jesus prayed in Luke 22:42. So then, God is telling us, don’t bother praying for the forgiveness of someone’s sin, if they won’t do God’s will in bringing about forgiveness.
1 John 5:17 says; “All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not to death.” If a sin that someone refuses to repent of, is “a sin unto death”, then what is “a sin NOT unto death? Obviously, it is a sin, that a person is wiling to repent of, and go to God in prayer over, confessing their guilt, and their need for forgiveness. Any sin can be forgiven, if we will simply humble ourselves to God.
But what about that “eternal sin”? The one that’s the result of blaspheme against the very Spirit of God Himself? After committing that sin, can a person have a change of heart, and a change of mind, that results in a change in their action (that’s what repentance is, a turning FROM sin, and a turning TO God) can a person do that, and then once again be forgiven of even THAT “eternal sin”?
Are there any examples in the bible, of that actually happening? Well, I believe that there is, one example of that very thing happening. And the example is Saul of Tarsus. Here’s what our the Spirit of God, inspired the apostle Paul tow rite concerning himself. In 1 Timothy 1, verses 12 thru 14, Paul wrote; “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though, I was formerly a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly, in unbelief.”
Saul was a blasphemer! But who did he blaspheme? Did he blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God? Yes, as matter of fact he did. Acts 8:3 says; “But Saul began ravaging the called out (the church) entering house after house, and ragging off men a women, he would put them in prison.” That’s the body of Jesus Christ, that Saul ravaged. Acts 26:9 says; “So then, I thought to myself, that I had to do many things, hostile, to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
Saul “ravaged” the body of Christ, and he was “hostile” to the authority of Christ, and he said that he was a “blasphemer, and a persecutor, and a violent aggressor” of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the Life from God. And that was what Saul blasphemed against.
Saul did all that, but he was still able to say, “And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.” So then, if you’ve never believed in Jesus Christ before, and even blasphemed the Spirit of God which is the Christ, you can be forgiven is you repent, and confess your sins, and ask God for forgiveness.
When Saul blasphemed the body of Christ, and the authority of Christ, he blasphemed the very Spirit of Christ. And remember, the Spirit of Christ, is the “Holy” Spirit of God. It says in Romans 8, verse 9; “However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
If someone wants to try to draw a distinction, between the Holy Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ, good luck with that, because the bible does not draw such a distinction. You are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you, but if you do NOT have the Spirit of Christ, then you do not belong to Him. It’s a simple as that.
I just want mention one more scenario, one more example. What about a person who has been faithful, but then falls away? What if that person should begin to blaspheme the holy, Spirit of God? Saul obtained mercy because he had acted “ignorantly, in unbelief”. What about a person who is NOT ignorant of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ? Can that person ever find forgiveness?
That’s a very difficult situation. But here’s one thing that God tells us of that very situation. Hebrews 6:4 thru 6; “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have been partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have fallen away; It is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves, the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.”
Putting the Son of God to “open shame” is the exactly the same as blaspheming Christ. And blaspheming Christ, is blaspheming the Holy Spirit of God. Now you’ve got the very same situation that is spoken of in Mark 3: 28 & 29. “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”
So once again; If you reject the only source of forgiveness that there is, you stand eternally guilty. “There is no other name under heaven, that has been given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
If you reject The Spirit of God ignorantly, you may still find mercy, like Saul did, and come to faith. But if you reject the Spirit of God, after having already received His mercy, God says that you’ll never be brought to repentance again.
Can an erring child of God repent and return? Of course he can. Just look at the parable of the prodigal son. But if you have come to know God, and then reject God as the source of salvation, then there’s nothing left for you.
So then let’s pray for the hearts of the erring to soften once again. And let’s pray for the hearts of the ignorant to find mercy. And let’s pray for the repentant sinner to be forgiven. And let’s pray for one another for God’s continued blessings.