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#41073 - Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:02 PM The Sin Unto Death  
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This past Sunday, my pastor preached on this text:

Quote
If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not concerning this do I say that he should make request. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (I John 5:16-17, ASV.)


So, what is the "sin unto death"? Is it the same as the "unpardonable sin" (Mt. 12:31-32, Lk. 12:10)? Is it related to those who "fell away" (Heb. 6:4-8)?

What do you think?


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#41075 - Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:17 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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From my reading of this text in the context of the Epistle up to it, I have come to understand the "sin unto death" as not being a particular, specific act or thought. Rather, I believe John is referring to a course of life in a person. It may be a person who professes faith in Christ (Matt 7:22; Heb 6:4-8) but who refuses to repent of some sin(s) and/or believe savingly upon Christ. We know that those who live a life of sin cannot inherit the kingdom of God, (1Cor 6:9, 10; Gal 5:21). And if John was saying that there was some particular sin, a sin which led to death, he doesn't mention it and thus any attempt to define it would be nothing more than speculation.

But the intent of this passage doesn't appear to be a revealing of some "sin unto death". Contrariwise, John's emphasis is upon intercessory prayer for those who are involved in sin, of whom we all are guilty. It would seem consistent with all Scripture that John is encouraging the brethren to pray for one another as they see a brother, real or simply professing, ensnared in some sinful practice. What he discourages is in such prayer is the tendency to overlook God's uncompromising holiness and sovereignty by asking that He overlook that brother's sin(s). There are those whose lives are a denial of the One through whom salvation can only come; Christ Jesus. And if they continue in that course of life, then there is no way they can be saved. To ask of God to somehow make an exception for such an individual is at best, dishonoring to God and a smear upon the atoning work of Christ. That God can save even the vilest of sinners is a truth we should never forget but always rest upon. Yet, the salvation that comes to sinful men always comes by way of repentance and faith. Thus, our intercessory prayers should forever include the sovereign working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of men Who brings conviction of sin and a desire to repent of sins and seek reconciliation with God through Christ alone.

That's my my2cents.

Side Note: There is a textual variant in the last phrase: "...and there is a sin not unto death." which would strongly suggest that the word not should not be there so that the text would then read, "...and there is a sin unto death." If taken in this way, I think the passage reads far better to my understanding of what John is saying, i.e., all unrighteousness is sin [which one can be forgiven of by repentance and faith in Christ but if one continues in such sin], there is a sin that ultimately leads to [eternal] death. The Gnostics of course denied that the soul was negatively effected by sin; only the body suffered. Thus one was not to concern himself about sin since the body was going to be eliminated at death anyway.


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#41079 - Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:25 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Side Note: There is a textual variant in the last phrase: "...and there is a sin not unto death." which would strongly suggest that the word not should not be there so that the text would then read, "...and there is a sin unto death." If taken in this way, I think the passage reads far better to my understanding of what John is saying, i.e., all unrighteousness is sin [which one can be forgiven of by repentance and faith in Christ but if one continues in such sin], there is a sin that ultimately leads to [eternal] death. The Gnostics of course denied that the soul was negatively effected by sin; only the body suffered. Thus one was not to concern himself about sin since the body was going to be eliminated at death anyway.


I wasn't aware of the textual variant, that's interesting. I'll be waiting for some more replies from other members here & then I will say what my pastor thought & also what I have thought.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#41129 - Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:41 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim

Side Note: There is a textual variant in the last phrase: "...and there is a sin not unto death."


Which manuscripts contain the textual variant of which you speak? As far as I can tell, there are no variants for this pericope in the textual tradition.


Jim

Jud 1:3 . . . contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

#41130 - Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:33 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: Machaira]  
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Originally Posted by Machaira
Which manuscripts contain the textual variant of which you speak? As far as I can tell, there are no variants for this pericope in the textual tradition.

Robert Candlish in his commentary on 1John (Geneva Series - BofT) makes mention of the textual variants which he himself deemed very persuasive, but makes no mention of the actual manuscript evidence. However, in B.F. Wescott's, The Epistles of St. John, he does list: "vg syrhl the Tert." as having omitted "ou" (not).


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#41131 - Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:36 AM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Well, you just confirmed what James White said on the Dividing Line on Tuesday. He said that pastors have their book shelves full of commentaries and most of those commentaries cannot or choose not to deal with textual issues.

As you point out, Wescott points to "vg syrhl the Tert." I recognize 'vg' as 'vulgate'. With that in mind I found that the Douay-Rheims which follows the vulgate, does not contain 'ou.'

Thanks


Jim

Jud 1:3 . . . contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

#41132 - Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:38 AM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: Machaira]  
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I think "Tert." is Tertullian. My guess is that those manuscripts which do not include the "ou" would mainly if not exclusively belong to the Byzantine group. Funny, depending upon where one stands, even if unconsciously, on the matter of Alexandrian vs. Byzantine, this subject will be referred to conversely. For example, those who are pro TR will refer to the word as being an "addition" or "insertion". While those who are pro Alexandrian will refer to it as being "omitted". giggle

For me, the passage brings the same meaning either way. But with Candlish, I have to admit that I lean toward reading it without. It isn't something I would get pushy over at all. But it is interesting to read the text with the "not" and without the "not" and look at the different perspectives or emphasis each brings. grin


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#41135 - Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:52 AM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
This past Sunday, my pastor preached on this text:

So, what is the "sin unto death"? Is it the same as the "unpardonable sin" (Mt. 12:31-32, Lk. 12:10)? Is it related to those who "fell away" (Heb. 6:4-8)?

What do you think?


All sin leads to death. It is only forgiven sin through the shed blood of Christ Jesus that escapes death (Hell). Since the 1 John verses are just after the verse on assurance (1 John 5:13) he cannot be thinking of a 'falling away', so I wouldn't link it with the Hebrews passage.

As to whether it is the same as the 'unpardonable sin' I cannot say for sure, but they would be very similar.


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
#41269 - Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:33 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
This past Sunday, my pastor preached on this text:

Quote
If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not concerning this do I say that he should make request. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (I John 5:16-17, ASV.)


So, what is the "sin unto death"? Is it the same as the "unpardonable sin" (Mt. 12:31-32, Lk. 12:10)? Is it related to those who "fell away" (Heb. 6:4-8)?

What do you think?


I meant to follow up with this sooner but this week turned out to be much busier than I expected. I wanted to give my pastor's thoughts & my own. In the sermon, my pastor went over a number of different views that have been expressed by various expositors as to the meaning of the "sin unto death," pointing out their strengths & weaknesses, and then concluded with what he took to be the strongest interpretation. To sum up, we know from Scripture that all sin leads to spiritual death, so it does not seem likely that John is writing about a sin that leads to spiritual death. Rather, John is speaking of physical death. The understanding is, therefore, that we are not to pray for one who dies as a direct result of some sin. As an example, say someone dies in the course of committing a robbery - we would not pray for him.

This interpretation seems strained to me. First, the immediate context of the passage is our assurance of eternal - not merely physical - life in the Son, and the confidence with which we may therefore make petition of God the Father. Indeed, just a few verses earlier John writes, "he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life" (I Jh. 5:12), i.e., such a one is dead. So, while I agree that all sin leads to spiritual death, John does seem to be speaking of sin that permanently seals spiritual death, i.e., to the point that God will not regenerate the one who sins the sin unto death. Second, why would John say specifically that we are not to pray for one who physically dies as a direct result of some sin, rather than simply issuing a blanket prohibition on praying for the dead, which is already prohibited by Scripture? It seems that John must be distinguishing the state of one who sins the sins unto death from the state of one who is simply physically dead.

With that in mind, it is helpful to take into account the broader context of the epistle. John is clearly writing to a church that has recently suffered schism as a result of the teachings of certain false brethren who "went out from us" (I Jh. 2:19). From what I can see, John refers to these people or their teachings in the following verses: 1:6, 8, 10; 2:4, 9, 11, 15, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26; 3:4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17; 4:1, 3, 5, 8, 18, 20; 5:10, 12, 16. This is 29 verses; I John has 105 verses altogether. So, referrences to false brethren, their behavior, or their teachings occur in more than a quarter of the book, and furthermore, in every chapter. To me, the connection to Heb. 6 is immediately apparent, as another place in Scripture where men who had been in the midst of the church "fell away." As the author of Hebrews writes,
Quote
"For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:4-6).
I think, therefore, that the sin unto death is apostasy, that is, a knowing & deliberate rejection of the true faith which was once credibly professed.

Now, I admit this interpretation is not without its difficulties; but as it stands, I find it the most convincing & consistent with the rest of the Scripture.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#41270 - Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:35 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: John_C]  
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Originally Posted by John_C
All sin leads to death. It is only forgiven sin through the shed blood of Christ Jesus that escapes death (Hell). Since the 1 John verses are just after the verse on assurance (1 John 5:13) he cannot be thinking of a 'falling away', so I wouldn't link it with the Hebrews passage.

As to whether it is the same as the 'unpardonable sin' I cannot say for sure, but they would be very similar.


Hi John,

I'm not sure why John couldn't be talking about "falling away." True, the immediate context has to do with assurance of salvation, but the broader context of the letter does deal with those who have fallen away, so it would make sense that this is what John has in mind with the "sin unto death."


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#41272 - Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:43 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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I would agree with you here as does what I wrote; sharing my view, i.e., John is speaking about those who are at least professing faith in Christ. Therefore, it would appear that they have fallen away, apostatized, e.g., 1Jh 2:19, which is consistent with Heb 6:4-6.


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#41369 - Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:33 AM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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I see that the only sin un to death is becoming a reprobate against Jesus or rejecting Him as your Lord, and rejecting the relationship!


But, if I clearly taught elsewhere that repentance/belief alone was sufficient no one would think coming forward is necessary for salvation,or water baptism is necessary for salvation.
#41373 - Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:20 PM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: evangelist]  
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Originally Posted by evangelist
I see that the only sin un to death is becoming a reprobate against Jesus or rejecting Him as your Lord, and rejecting the relationship!

Does one have to "reject Him as Lord" to be worthy of eternal death? Aren't all men by nature under the just wrath of God and subject to condemnation by the virtue of the very fact that they are sinners by nature and thus hate God from the moment they are conceived?

What "relationship" do sinners have with God that they reject, in your view? Does an unbeliever even have a "relationship" with God other than being at enmity with Him? scratchchin

In His grace,


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#41627 - Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:58 AM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: Pilgrim]  
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I believe they have to accept what was done for them as being righteous through Jesus , and if not they are damned now to hell according to Mark 16:16.
Also an unbeliever has no relationship when they don't know who they are in Christ!

Shalom



But, if I clearly taught elsewhere that repentance/belief alone was sufficient no one would think coming forward is necessary for salvation,or water baptism is necessary for salvation.
#41634 - Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:13 AM Re: The Sin Unto Death [Re: evangelist]  
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Originally Posted by evangelist
I believe they have to accept what was done for them as being righteous through Jesus , and if not they are damned now to hell according to Mark 16:16.
Also an unbeliever has no relationship when they don't know who they are in Christ!

Your reply doesn't really answer the questions that you were asked.

Here are the two questions again for your reading and perhaps you could try to answer them directly?

1. Does one have to "reject Him as Lord" to be worthy of eternal death? Aren't all men by nature under the just wrath of God and subject to condemnation by the virtue of the very fact that they are sinners by nature and thus hate God from the moment they are conceived?

2. What "relationship" do sinners have with God that they reject, in your view? Does an unbeliever even have a "relationship" with God other than being at enmity with Him?

In His grace,


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