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.
study on ominous verses in the Bible comes from none other
than John— “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Although
John’s Gospel and epistles are known for their emphasis on
God’s love, here we see a verse that should strike terror to
the heart of any believer— “There is a sin unto death.”
Although it is clear from the context that this verse is
directed toward believers, we must ascertain what this
sin is, and what kind of death is John talking
21:20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom
Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast
at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
already studied, in previous chapters, that there is no sin
for which a believer cannot be forgiven; and the only sin
that cannot be forgiven by an unbeliever is to blaspheme the
Holy Spirit and reject His testimony concerning Jesus.
However, these verses plainly teach that either some sin or
a certain kind of sin brings serious consequences. We know
that “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven
unto men”; so we see that there is no mysterious
diabolical sin, which when committed brings death. Many
people throughout the Scriptures, believers and unbelievers
alike, were struck dead by God for their sins. Korah,
Ananias and Sapphira,
and others all received immediate physical death for their
sins—and none of their sins were similar or committed under
similar circumstances. Korah was sent down to the pit for
his rebellion against Moses; Nabal was struck dead because
of his hardness of heart toward David; Ananias and Sapphira
were struck dead because they lied to the Holy Ghost; and
Herod because he failed to give God His rightful glory.
12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and
blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy
against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever
speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven
him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall
not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the
world to come.
Therefore, from the standpoint of Scripture, there is no one
particular sin that brings about the death of a believer.
What we do see however, is how the attitude of a believer’s
heart can bring about this judgment. The “sin unto death”
is the continual, unremorseful, unrepentant practicing
of known sin by a believer; who, in the hardness of their
heart, has turned their back upon God. We have already seen
how that a believer can become complacent and cold towards
God and the things of God by not maintaining their spiritual
how they can fail the grace of God when they stop
availing themselves of the means of grace;
and how committing presumptuous sins leads to
the great transgression.
Everything we have studied in previous chapters brings a
believer to the point where their lifestyle becomes
intolerable to God; and He must deal with them by the most
drastic of means. There is a point in a believer’s life when
they will not turn from their sin; and the damage they are
doing to themselves and the cause of Christ must be
restrained. There is a line that a believer can cross when
God will irreversibly choose to act upon their lives by
taking them out of this world.
36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his
messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had
compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his
words, and misused his prophets,
until the wrath of the LORD
arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
8:19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD
thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and
worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall
20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your
face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient
unto the voice of the LORD your God.
11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you,
and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are
judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be
condemned with the world.
have made this point so many times that we feel we are
needlessly repeating ourselves— “unto death” has
nothing to do with a believer’s eternal state. No matter how
bad a child of God becomes, Christ saves them “to the
uttermost”—or as someone has said “to the guttermost.”
How good we are or how bad we become, never did have, or
ever will have anything to do with our salvation. The
sacrifice of Christ paid for every sin that every believer
will ever commit. God cannot and “will not impute sin”
to the account of any child of God. Our sin causes much
grief and suffering to ourselves, to others, and to God; but
it cannot cause us to lose eternal life.
7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever
liveth to make intercession for them.
10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice
for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and
it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of
grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man,
unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are
forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the
man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
‘Howbeit,’ some may
argue, ‘what if a believer gives up their faith in
Christ? If we are saved by faith we can surely be lost again
if we lose that faith.’ If a Christian ever had anything
to do with their salvation, including having faith in
Christ, we might concede the possibility. However, the
Scriptures plainly teach that a believer’s faith came as a
gift from God. Unredeemed and unspiritual men cannot conjure
up true saving faith by themselves. God must produce the
faith by which we are saved, and God sustains that faith. I
don’t believe it is possible for a true child of God to ever
deny their experience of salvation which brought them to
Christ. They may, in the hardness and bitterness of their
carnal mind, say that they no longer believe; but if they
were ever truly saved to begin with, they know in the depth
of their hearts that Christ is their Saviour.
2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not
of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our
faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right
hand of the throne of God.
1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of his
glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty,
dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Furthermore, in spite a believer’s disbelief and disavowal
of Christ—“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our
spirit, that we are the children of God.” It is also by
the Holy Spirit that we are “sealed unto the day of
redemption.” Jesus Himself testified that of those which
the Father had given Him “none of them is lost”; “neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand”; “and they shall
never perish.” Therefore, no power in earth or hell can
separate a true child of God from Christ—no demon, no sin,
not even their own unbelief and rebellion.
8:16 The Spirit
itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the
children of God:
4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the
day of redemption.
17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy
name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of
them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the
scripture might be fulfilled.
10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they
28 And I give unto
them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things
present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor
depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
the “unto death” that John is warning about is the
death of the body; and although we all expect to experience
physical death, he is talking about the premature ending of
a believer’s life that comes about by the hand of God. Many
believers refuse to believe that God has anything to do with
sickness, suffering, and death; but the proof of the
Scriptures is overwhelming. Many want to attribute all of
the evil of this life, including death, to the power of
Satan; but Satan is only a pawn in the hand of the Sovereign
God. Nothing touches the life of a child of God unless God
permits it—including Satan, sickness, evil, accidents, or
1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my
servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a
perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his
house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou
hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is
increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath,
and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath
is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.
So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my
servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a
perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and
escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity,
although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without
4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea,
all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his
flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine
hand; but save his life.
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and
smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his
45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no
God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from
the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD,
and there is none else.
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace,
and create evil: I
the LORD do all these things.
thing we will consider is—what means does God use to bring
about this untimely death? God may use a natural means such
as the unhealthy lifestyle of His disobedient children
and\or a disease; or He may use instant heart failure, a
freak accident, murder, and even suicide. Those saints may
never be aware of their impending judgment or the
circumstances in which they are going to die. They may, like
Ananias and Sapphira, in an instance fall down dead; or they
may “pine away” for many years in ill health until
2:19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy
backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see
that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken
the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the
Lord GOD of hosts.
28:20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and
rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do,
until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly;
because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast
21 The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto
thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land,
whither thou goest to possess it.
22 The LORD shall
smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an
inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the
sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall
pursue thee until thou perish.
The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with
the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof
thou canst not be healed.
28 The LORD shall
smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of
The LORD shall smite
thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that
cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of
24:23 And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your
shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye
shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one
can a believer sink in sin and rebellion before prayer and
the grace of God cannot restore them? It is hard to say, but
I doubt that anyone who is spending their time reading this
book has reached that point. As long as a believer still
feels some pangs of conscience, and as long as they have
some desire for restoration, the “sin unto death” has
not been committed. Only those who have hardened themselves
beyond the call of the Holy Spirit are in danger of going
too far. For this reason, the Bible’s message for those who
are troubled by this passage of Scripture is to “Seek ye
the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is
near.” God is always ready to restore a wayward child if
that believer is willing to “forsake his way, and the
unrighteous man his thoughts” and “return unto the
LORD.” God “will have mercy upon” them and “he
will abundantly pardon” them. A true child of God need
not despair because there is always hope in God. Therefore
keep praying, keep seeking God’s face, and keep knocking on
Heaven’s door until restoration comes.
55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon
him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and
let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon
him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he
was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had
compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned
against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to
be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best
robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and
shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us
eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was
lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
1:13 Wherefore gird
up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for
the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation
of Jesus Christ;
Matt 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye
shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that
seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.