Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
Chapter 22, Paragraph 4.
“…nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.”
1 John 5:16
There is a sin leading to death. The Bible discusses this in 1 John 5.
What is this sin? It is hard to say. It is generally agreed that it is a sin against the Holy Spirit, but there are differing opinions as to the exact nature of this sin. John Gill in his commentary on 1 John wrote,
…[the sin unto death] is the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is neither forgiven in this world nor in that to come, and therefore must be unto death; it is a sinning wilfully, not in a practical, but doctrinal way, after a man has received the knowledge of the truth; it is a wilful denial of the truth of the Gospel, particularly that peace, pardon, righteousness, eternal life, and salvation, are by Jesus Christ, contrary to the light of his mind, and this joined with malice and obstinacy…
Apostasy – those who have rejected Christ and revile Him, although they have seen the blessings of the Gospel – appears to be the sin that leads unto death. There is such a strong hatred and rejection of the truth in the apostate. But how do we know who has committed such a sin? How can we be sure?
We must be careful that we do not diagnose this sin in every unbeliever that has been active in a church and then walked away. Yet we know that apostates exist, for Scripture tells of them. When dealing with those who have turned away from the church, we should err on the side of caution. Francis Turretin advises:
This wickedness is not to be rashly charged upon anyone….and as it is ascertained only from external signs…therefore we must proceed very cautiously and be more prone to cherish a good hope in charity than to condemn rigorously.
If we are absolutely certain that they have committed that sin, then our prayers for them are useless. Until that certainty occurs, there is hope. Continue to pray for those you see in sin, and those struggling with sin.
Questions to Consider
- Does knowing we are not to pray for those who have committed the sin leading to death affect how you pray?