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. (1John 5:16-17)
When a Bible class gets to 1 Jn 5:16-17, the discussion immediately turns, often with heat, to consideration of exactly what is the “sin unto death” and the “sin not unto death” since the wages of [all] sin is death. Then, someone will opine that the sin unto death is the same as the unpardonable sin of which Jesus spoke (Mt 12:32). All these things are fun to speculate about and, being unknowable, do not cut anyone with the sword of the Spirit.
But, consider the one thing we can know for certain from this passage. If we see a brother sin, we are to pray for him, pray for life for him. This is a far cry from some of the attitudes often expressed. “He is not so high and holy after all.” “Did you hear what she did? “I may not be perfect, but at least I don’t…” “There he goes again.”
What is your thought when you see a brother (or sister) sin? Is the first thing that comes to mind to go pray for his soul? No wonder we spend our time arguing over “sins not unto death.” That one cuts. (Me too!) How many other Bible class wranglings come from just such attempts to avoid the backswing of the sword of the Spirit?
If it is not helping us improve our service to God, it is not fit discussion.
Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Gal 6:1
Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. Jas 5:16