There is Sin that Leads to Death
1 John 5:14-21
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: Over the years many people have asked me if there is an unpardonable sin. The New Testaments does teach that there is an unpardonable sin which applied to the Jews in the dispensation of the Old Testament. But this is not a sin that Christians can commit. However, there is sin that can lead to chastisement or their deaths. God in certain circumstances will take a believer's life. It is important that every believer understand this important truth that concerns the chastening of God.
I. ASSURANCE OF SALVATION.
A. 1 John 5:13, gives the child of God a promise and assurance of eternal life. Based upon this foundation the Christian enters into a closer relationship with the Lord.
1. Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Galatians 4:6 "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
2. Because Christians are the children of God they can ask of the Lord and have the confidence that he will answer within His will. Ryrie says there is a gracious limitation on God answering believers prayers in that He only gives us what is best and correct for us. We also must be aware that God does hear the prayers of his children. Once a missionary to natives in South American, told the story of a tribe which poked long sticks into the air before they worshiped their god to wake him up. The Bible tells us that we have full confidence that God is hearing our prayers.
3. He. may not answer in the time frame we desire or as we want. But we know that His answer will be the proper response which is best for us.
a. Praying is in a real sense having a oneness with the Lord. As a Christian lives for the Lord, confesses and turns from sin, studies the Bible, and applies the principals of Scripture to every area of his life, he becomes more sensitive to the Lord's will and prayers more in line with God will.
b. As this process of spiritual growth develops the Christian's mind and also his desires come more in line with God's. c. There will be a response! "he heareth us" literally means he "grabs our words."
B. Verse 15. The verse can be summed up to say that it is a real blessing when a believer realizes that God is listening and will answer our prayer.
Also we already, in a real sense, have received the answer before it becomes a reality! What a wonderful truth to know that the Lord hears our prayers and answers.
C. As sure as is the fact of God hearing believers is the fact he does not hear the prayers of unbelievers meaning those that have not received Jesus Christ as their Savior.
1. John 9:31, "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth His will, him he heareth." Note the condition even to a believer - He must also do the will of God.
2. God only hears the prayer of repentance from the lost person. He also does not hear (which means he does not regard) the prayers of believers who are in sin or who have unconfessed sin. James 4:3 says, "Ye ask, and receive not because ye ask amiss."
3. James also says to ask in faith. James 1:6-7 Tells us that the prayer of unbelief is worthless.
II. THE SIN UNTO DEATH.
A. John gives some very specific instructions about praying for a brother who is in sin. Verse 16.
1. 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."
John makes a distinction between the believer's occasional failures that cause sin and habitual sin that is unconfessed. Verse 17 states, "All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." This is a chilling statement.
2. John uses the indefinite article "a" sin, it actually is referring not to a single particular sin, but to certain serious sins that person may commit and not confess.
a. There is "sin" (singular) that leads to death. It is not a particular sin.
b. It is not the "unpardonable sin" of the Old Testament mentioned in the Gospels in Matthew 12:31-32, Luke 12:10, and Mark 3:28-29.
c. The unpardonable sin is in context a part of the dispensation of the Law. It is a specific sin of blasphemy, in which a person would credit the devil for the work of the Holy Spirit. The special circumstances involved in blasphemy can not be duplicated today. The Scribes and Pharisees committed this sin in attributing the work of Jesus to the Devil. (see Matthew 12:24, Mark 3:22, Luke 11:15)
3. What is in view here in 1 John can be understood by looking at 1 Corinthians 11:27, 30.
b. What it means is this, they were in fact believers who lived lives in sinful disregard for the sacrifice that Christ made for their sins.
c. By the sinful pattern of their lives they showed a callous disregard for Christ's sufferings for them. It would be like ridiculing or belittling a person who had given their life to save yours.
d. Hebrews 12:6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Read verse 7 and 8)
e. A person who "professes" to be a Christian and who lives continually in sin and there is no chastening in his life shows he is not saved. God does not chasten the unsaved who are not His children. However, if a genuine Christian continually sins, God will chasten him and that is evidence he is saved.
III. GOD WANTS BELIEVERS FREE FROM HABITUAL SIN. 5:18-21
A. V18, says the child of God does not sin. It does not means the Christian will be perfect and never commits any sin, but rather that the Christian's sin is completely forgiven. He therefore stands without sin before the Lord as to judgment. Romans 8:1 explains "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)
1. The true Christian is for all eternity forgiven of sin.
2. All believers will sin as 1 John 1:8,10 state, yet God will not allow a Christian to remain in a habitual state of sin. God will take the life of His child in order to stop him from sinning when he refuses to repent. This is not casual sin committed by a believer, but deliberate sinful acts done with the full understanding that God does not approve. The person who falls under this severe chastening of God is in gross rebellion against God and further refuses to turn from their sin. 3. In other words, when a believer sins, God the Holy Spirit begins conviction to their hearts bringing to their attention their failure. If they repent (turn from sin) as 1 John 1:9 says, the Lord helps them overcome the sin so they will not continue to commit it. However, it they refuse to repent, God not only brings conviction, but chastens them with some type of difficulty in their lives. The chastening of God is a warning to turn from the sin and avoid the negative consequences of sin. God loves us and wants the best for us. It is the same as a parent who disciplines a erring child who is endangering himself. If the child of God at this point rebels and refused to sin he puts his life in peril. In love, God will take that believer's life so as to stop his rebellion and it consequences in his life.
The believer who is committed to the Lord as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says is a new creature and the old carnal nature will have less and less a hold on him as he serves and in obedience lives for the Lord.
We must understand that doing a few charitable acts is not serving the Lord. One must be attentive to their everyday lives. Living a Christian life is more than doing good works. It means a Christian will show the love and nature of Christ in his life as he grows in the Lord. He will be sincerely be attempting to honor the Lord with his life.
B. John says the whole world is controlled by the Devil and is in wickedness. Verse 19.
Clearly that is apparent as we observe all that is going on around us. As time goes on things become worse and this indicates that someone is manipulating world events and influencing wicked people to do evil things. Nations and people are becoming worse in the sins they do. John is saying there is a conspiracy and the Devil is the one doing the conspiring.
C. READ Verse 20: The child of God is delivered from the grips of sin and death. He is enlightened and knows the truth. And this is truth, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and there is eternal life in Him. The believer is but a pilgrim and stranger here on earth. This is not the home of the child of God who has an eternal residence in heaven with the Lord. The lost world around us has only a carnal nature that has an all encompassing bent toward sin. Yet, the Christian has the very nature of God and is not comfortable in a world that seeks only after evil things.
D. Verse 21 states "Keep yourself from Idols!" In other words let nothing come between you and the Lord. John is warning about letting sin have free course in our lives. Colossians 3:5 was written to believers and warns us to "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." To "mortify" means to put something to death...to kill it.
Paul instructing the Corinthians gave the assurance that sin did not have to rule their lives and God was with them at every step of the way providing a means to escape temptation and resulting sin.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:1-2).