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Lifting others in prayer

If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him—to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death. 1 John 5:16-17 CSB

Continuing on the theme of prayer from yesterday, we have a difficult passage here written by John. The big question from this passage is, “What sin then leads to death?” There is no clear-cut interpretation for it, but many options. Some interpreters say the sin that leads to death is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit, found in Matthew 12:31-32: “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” If that’s the case, then why is then John still giving the challenge to believers to pray over this fellow believer? Others then interpret this passage of “sin to death” as physical death, such as Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11, a couple who instantly dropped dead due to their sin. Yet, it is difficult to determine what a “sin to death,” after the fact, so the question then is, “How are we supposed to pray for someone if they are already dead so that they find forgiveness?” Finally, others interpret this “sin to death” as apostasy, choosing to reject Christ after previously stating to be a follower, yet 1 John 3:9 shows us that a true believer can never fall away from the faith. However, you come about this interpretation through prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, we can focus on the positive aspect of this passage, the challenge to pray for fellow believers who have stumbled and committed or are committing sin. Believers are to watch out for each other, encourage one another to pursue righteousness, and help restore relationships when one may fail, as seen in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”


Isaac De Guzman


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