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Let’s read the portion that speaks about this sin unto death.  It is found in 1 John 5:16 which says, “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.”  There has been much speculation about what sin this is talking about, but the Bible doesn’t really tell us what it is.  One thing that we do need to understand is that this is in reference to physical death, not spiritual death.  With that in mind, we can look at a few passages where someone sinned a sin, and as a result of that sin, had their life taken from them.

In Acts 5:1-10, we have the story of a husband and wife named Ananias and Sapphira who sinned a sin unto death.  It says, “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.”  Here, they both lost their lives because they lied to the Holy Spirit.  It wasn’t because of holding back part of the money, it was for lying.

In 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 we learn of some who sinned a sin unto death.  It says, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”  1 Corinthians 11:23-32 gives instruction of the Lord’s desire to be remembered by those He has saved.  I’m sure most of us are familiar with this.  We sometimes call it communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the remembrance feast.  There were those in Corinth that were taking part in the Lord’s Supper, but had no thought as to what the emblems represented.  As they partook of the bread and the cup, they were not thinking of the Lord Jesus.  Their thoughts were on other things.  The Lord took this very seriously, and because of this, some were weak and sickly, and some had done this so long that they were now asleep, or dead.

One of the great heroes of the Bible sinned a sin unto death.  The Lord told Moses to speak to the rock in the wilderness and water would come forth for the children of Israel to drink.  In his frustration, Moses disobeyed the Lord in front of the nation of Israel, and the Lord took his life for doing that.  Numbers 20:7-12 says, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”  Notice that although Moses acted in disobedience, the Lord still provided water for His people.  And although Moses lost his life because of this instance, his death did not come until later.  Deuteronomy 34:4-5 tells us, “And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.”  So, Moses was allowed to see the land of Canaan, he was not allowed to enter because of his sin.

So although the scriptures do not tell us exactly what the sin unto death is, we can see from these examples that it involves disobedience to the Lord.  Let’s look again at 1 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.”  This also teaches us that if we see our brother or sister sin, then our responsibility is to pray for that person.  So, let’s be sure we are not disobedient to the Lord’s words when He tells us to pray for those who are in sin.  (12.2)