The Sin Unto Death

September 16, 2014 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,

1 John 5:16-17 — “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. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.”

The sin unto death is a serious sin in the Christian life that is not repented of. It is a rejection of God’s discipline.

“... he that hateth reproof shall die” (Prov. 15:10).

The Bible teaches that God disciplines His children, and those who are not disciplined are not His (Heb. 12:5-8). The goal of His discipline is that “we might be partakers of his holiness” (Heb. 12:10). If the believer refuses to respond to God’s discipline and refuses to repent and persists in his sin, God will take his life. This is the sin unto death.

We see the sin unto death in 1 Corinthians 11:30-32. Some of the brethren died because of their unconfessed sin (1 Cor. 11:30-32).

We see the sin unto death in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, who died because they agreed together to lie to the church and to God (Acts 5:1-11). God made an example of them.

We see the sin unto death in the case of King Amaziah, who died because he rejected God’s reproof (2 Chronicles 25:14-16).

We see the sin unto death avoided in the case of David, who was told that he would have died had he not repented (2 Sam. 12:13).

Under the Mosaic law, there were many crimes which required the death penalty, including murder (Le. 24:17; De. 19:11-13), idolatry (Le. 20:2; De. 17:2-7), witchcraft (Le. 20:27), adultery (Le. 20:10; De. 22:21, 22), homosexuality (Le. 20:13), bestiality (Le. 20:15, 16), rape (De. 22:25-27), incest (Le. 20:17), blasphemy (Le. 24:11-16,23), presumption (De. 17:12-13), kidnapping (De. 24:7), and rebellion against parents (Le. 20:9).

1 Corinthians 5:11 might provide a list of the type of sins that become the sin unto death if not repented of.

As for praying for others in regard to the sin unto death (1 John 5:16-17), apparently this is something that the Holy Spirit will reveal as the necessity arises. Compare Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 14:11 and 15:1.

Even though God told Moses not to pray for rebellious Israel, he persevered anyway, and God answered the intercessor’s prayer (Exodus 32:10-14).

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