1 John 5:16-17 states, "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."
Notice in verse 16, "...see his brother sin a sin..." The case here is that of one Christian brother seeing another Christian brother sin a sin.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 5 and notice verse 1: "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife".
So, here in the Church at Corinth, and reported commonly, there is a young man living with his stepmother in an immoral way. The Church has overlooked it and in fact is puffed up as we see in verse 2. They thought their overlooking showed great love. They were the forerunners of the liberal preachers and churches today who will not take a stand for Bible truth and exercise Church discipline. Notice in verse 2 Paul uses two words with strong meaning: "taken away." Also notice in verse 2 and again in verse 3 it was a "deed." He was having an affair with his stepmother! What is to be done by the Church at Corinth? The answer is in verse 5. "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
Friends, it is as simple as this; The young man had committed the sin unto death. It was reported commonly. It brought shame and reproach on the name of Christ and the Church at Corinth. Read the rest of the chapter and notice that God commands Believers "not to company with fornicators" verse 9, and "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner: with such an one no not to eat." Verse 12: "do not ye judge them that are within?" Verse 13: "Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." Please read 1 Cor. 11:17-34 and notice that in verse 29-30 believers can bring damnation to themselves and "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (die)." Another sin unto death!
As stated above, 1 John 5:16-17 speaks of a "sin unto death." Also, 1 Corinthians 5:1-3 shows how this young man in Corinth was living in an immoral relationship with his stepmother. The Apostle Paul directs the Church at Corinth to practice Church discipline on him, and "deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Also, it can be seen in Acts 5 than Ananias and Sapphira committed the sin unto death, which in their case was lying to the Holy Ghost and keeping back part of the price of the land. They had made a public committment to sell a possession and give to the work of God. Then they lied about the sale price and laid less that the committment at the Apostle's feet. (verse 2) And both fell dead 3 hours apart and were buried. This doesn't mean that everyone who makes a committment and then fails to follow through has committed the sin unto death. If you will, notice in Acts 5:2, "his wife also being privy to it,"
My father was a drunkard from the time he was in his early teens until he was saved at age 71. Shortly after he was saved, his drinking buddy/cousin badgered him to drink until he did. Almost immediately, he "had a spell" and from there it was downhill until his death. I believe God drew a line and my father crossed it committing his "sin unto death." I have known several people during my ministry that crossed the line and committed the sin unto death. Friends, these are accounts of saved people whose bodies of flesh were destroyed, yet the spirit was saved. (1 Cor. 5:5) I am personally convinced that every believer is warned by the Holy Spirit when they are dangerously close to committing their own "sin unto death." Notice again in Acts 5:3,"why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost,"
There are three ways God deals with His children:
- At the Altar. The Holy Spirit will convict and if we will confess and forsake our sin according to 1 John 1:9, He will forgive and cleanse.
- At the Woodshed. If we fail to confess and forsake our sin, God will chastise us to correct us and bring us back to a holy life. Hebrews 12:6 states, "Whom the Lord loveth, (he chasteneth, and scourgeth)every son whom He receiveth."
- At the Graveyard. If the first two fail, God will eventually remove the wayward believer to preserve the testimony of the Gospel. (1 John 5:16-17) Acts 5:5 states, "and great fear came on all them that heard these things." Verse 11 states, "And great fear came upon all the Church, and upon as many as heard these things." MAY I ASK YOU, SAVED PERSON, ARE YOU LIVING FOR GOD?