Up to this point, John has been talking about our spiritual state, the position of our souls. Now, he moves to the relationship we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ, His Family.
Remember in Ephesians where Paul deals with the family of God, “To Him be glory in the church [His Family] and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:21. He now turns our attention to helping our brothers and sisters.
16 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. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
Our first order of business is to talk to God about them. We ask for His perspective on them. Knowing that He loves them and wants the best for them, we view them through that love. In what form will that LIFE come to them? Through us? We must be willing to be part of that life. God may or may not ask us to join Him in sharing life with them, but are we willing to be His hands and feet–and pocketbook– if He asks?
What is this sin that leads to death? It is often referred to as the unpardonable sin. There is at least one denomination that thinks suicide is it because the person has no time to ask forgiveness for the sin of suicide. What’s wrong with this thinking?
- We are not judged by individual sins. We are either under the blood categorically and positionally, or not under the blood.
- Yes, it is a sin, but it’s a sin like all others, and is forgiven at the cross.
- Granted, suicide is unfixable on this side of eternity, but those who have been to the cross for forgiveness are instantly glorified when we step from this world to His world, regardless of the circumstances.
So, what IS the unpardonable sin, the one that leads to death? Let’s read it:
“And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Matthew 12:31
“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke 12:10
What is blasphemy? It is, “the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.” It’s basically when a person resists the urging of the Spirit for salvation by deciding that he doesn’t need or want Jesus. Since the Spirit is the One who saves us and seals us, to resist Him is to resist Salvation itself. The one who resists the Spirit chooses to stay in their sinful condition. THIS is the unpardonable sin.
In John’s case, there were people who were going around to the churches spreading false Gospels:
- Jesus didn’t really come in human form; He just appeared as a human. This lie refutes the humanity of Jesus which was needed in order for Him to be our propitiation, our sin sacrifice, which satisfied the price of sin and put us back into a right relationship with the Father.
- We must keep the Levitical Law. This lie refutes the NEW COVENANT that Jesus established. We go back to the original covenant with Abraham where God took the mantle of fulfilling both sides of the covenant (see Genesis 15, particularly verse 17). We are saved by grace; the work was finished on the cross by Christ.
- You can fall from grace and be lost again. This lie refutes the permanence of the sacrifice of Jesus. All we need to do to expose this one is to look at the verses where it says that Jesus died ONCE FOR ALL. John makes it clear in 2:19 that anyone who walks away from the faith was never a full believer in the Gospel to begin with.
With this last one, we are back to the sin that leads to death, or, unpardonable sin. Can a person be led astray to the point of losing their salvation? Scripturally, I don’t think so. The real proof is in whether or not the LORD disciplines them “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Proverbs 3:12 and quoted in Hebrews 12:6. We pray for them that it is so, and that they would respond to His urging to come back into fellowship with Himself.
True born-again believers, who have trusted in the LORD for the forgiveness of their sins and received the Holy Spirit into their hearts and lives, do not continue in a life of willful sin. Instead, we work to break the habits of sinful behavior and to renew our minds through a consistent conversation with the Spirit. Through this steady walk with Jesus, we prove that we are His. Let’s walk with Him today and trust Him to lead us “higher up and further in.”
Abba, Your Spirit within me testifies with my spirit that I am Your child (Romans 8:16). Thank You that I don’t have to fight with doubt any longer! May I work tenaciously to emulate You and may I lift up my brothers and sisters in You in prayer that they might be strong in their faith. According to Ephesians 3, may You strengthen them with power in their inner being so that You may be President in their hearts; may they be rooted and established in Your love and dive deep into Your love for them. Fill them up to overflowing, Lord Jesus. Me, too! Amen.