The Sin unto Death
1 John 5:16-17
If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not to death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not to death…

Noble men and women have gone mad over this sentence. In the shadows of this mystery the gentle spirit of William Cowper wandered many a weary month, wounding itself with bitterest accusations — the noble intellect distraught, "like sweet bells jangled out of tune," weaving the phantasies of despair — the burden of its sad song being, "There is a sin unto death."

I. There are DEGREES in sin. Guilt has its gradations. There are sins of ignorance and of deliberation — of weakness and of wickedness: sins which show a lack of goodwill, and others that express intense malignity of will. There are the sins of a Peter, and there are the sins of a Judas.

II. EVERY ONE SIN TENDS TO OTHERS MORE GUILTY THAN ITSELF. It gives the will a wrong bias. It breaks the prestige of virtue. Fact tries to become precedent. Acts become habits. Choice hardens into destiny. Sin becomes master and the sinner a slave.

III. THIS SAD DEVELOPMENT REACHES ITS CLIMAX IN THE SIN UNTO DEATH. Beyond this it cannot go. What then can it be? It is evidently not any one act or word. It .is a condition, a settled state of heart and mind — a state of opposition to and hatred of good as good, and God as God. The sin unto death is unbelief of heart and mind: rejection of the holy as holy.

IV. THIS IS SIN UNTO DEATH. It hath no forgiveness under law or gospel. Why? How so? Because God will not? No. The way of return to God is closed against no one who does not close it against himself. The unholy cannot be saved.

V. LET US LOOK AT OUR RELATION TO THE SIN UNTO DEATH. With regard to ourselves let us not yield to morbid fears, nor sleep in over security. The door is never closed till we close it, and yet all sin tends to the sin unto death. Let us then beware of all sin.

(J. M. Gibbon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for those who sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I don't say that he should make a request concerning this.

The Sin unto Death
Top of Page
Top of Page