I 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.
One of the themes of I John is love. This love is defined as the love of God. God’s love cannot cower in a corner. God’s love cannot overlook sin. There is a difference between loving someone and meddling in their lives.
John was directed in verse 16 to write about a brother that is sinning. To observe a brother that is sinning and trying to help that brother to deal with that sin is not meddling. Jesus saw Peter sinning when he tried to stop Jesus from going to the cross. He rebuked Peter and told him his heart was in the wrong place. He called him Satan.
In Luke 7 Jesus was dining in the house of a man named Simon. A woman had come into that house and had washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and had kissed them and then taken an expensive ointment and anointed Him with that ointment.
Simon thought within his heart that Jesus must not be a prophet because if He were, He would know this woman was a sinner. Jesus knew what Simon was thinking and he addressed this man’s hypocrisy.
Simon was guilty of prejudice. He did not honour Jesus when He was in his house. This woman had worshipped Jesus from a genuine heart of humility. She was a sinner, but so was Simon. He assumed he was pretty good, but he had adopted a false view of sin. He needed to be taught the truth.
John was directed to write about a sin that is not unto death. Paul wrote that the wages of sin is death in Romans 6:23. All sin is a transgression against God’s law. However, John was directed to remind us that there are some sins that God will punish with death sooner than others.
We have an example of this in Acts 5. Ananias wanted to be in the group of those who gave their all to God. He wanted to be in that group, but he did not want to give his all to God. He was a liar. He was a deceiver. Peter was told by God that Ananias was a liar. Peter did not pray for Ananias. He boldly rebuked him and watched him drop dead right before his face. They carried his body out. His wife came in a short time later and was asked if they had sold the land for the sum that her husband had stated. She agreed to his lie. Peter did not pray for her either. He rebuked her and watched her drop dead before his eyes.
Peter was not the judge. Peter was called upon to be the faithful messenger of God. Peter fulfilled his task. He did not try to interfere with God’s will. Earlier in Peter’s life, he tried to interfere with God’s plan. Jesus rebuked him for that. Peter learned some important lessons. He still had more to learn after Acts 5, but in that moment, as a man of God, he obeyed God. Every true man of God will have things to learn as he walks with God.
I Corinthians 11 warns of those who are asleep due to unjustly partaking of the Lord’s supper. God knows the time of each person’s death. He determines if a saint needs to be removed early and why. It is not for us to sit and try to figure this out. It is for us to obey God and follow His Word.
He has shown us in His Word when a person is openly defiant against Him. If we walk with Him, He will guide us in our prayer life. John was directed to remind us that there is a sin unto death. When a person crosses that line, God will help those around him to know how to respond to that. God does not need “enablers”. He needs faithful men who will walk humbly with Him and serve Him faithfully. As we have already learned, we need to humbly pray according to God’s will. God is not calling on His people to be like modern day politicians.
In I Kings 22 we read of wicked king Ahab and compromised King Jehoshaphat. They were planning a battle. King Ahab called in his false prophets to give words of encouragement to those in attendance. All of his false prophets declared that they would be victorious in their fight. Jehoshaphat, even though deeply compromised here, knew there was something wrong with this prophesy. He asked if there was not a man of God in Israel. He did not ask for an army. He asked if there was a man of God. King Ahab admitted there was one man, but he also stated that he hated this man. This man never prophesied good for Ahab. Jehoshaphat asked that this man be brought in and Ahab agreed to do so. Micaiah came in and agreed with the false prophets at first. King Ahab knew he was not telling the truth, and demanded that he tell the truth. Micaiah told both kings how this war was going to go. The false prophets publicly rebuked Micaiah and the king had him locked up and given bread and water until he would return safely. Micaiah declared that if the king came back home safely, then his words were not of God. Micaiah wanted all who were there to know the truth. He was not interested in winning a popularity contest. He wanted to please God.
There are no prophets today, but there are Godly evangelists, pastors and teachers. We need to listen to God and glorify Him. He needs to be exalted, not man. When we exalt Him, others can learn the importance of the fear of the Lord. That is greatly needed in our day as in any age. Jehoshaphat was given a great opportunity to learn the importance of fearing God. He was a slow learner, but he received some very powerful messages to help him to wake up. King Ahab was beyond hope. His life would be taken soon.
There is a sin unto death. God knows when that line has been crossed. When He says, don’t pray for that, then we are wise to listen to Him. When people see the importance of the fear of God in life, it can turn some to repentance and true salvation. When professing Christians reject God’s holiness, they are a stumblingblock to other people who need to be saved. God will deal with each one according to His will.