[CF Devotionals] 2009-01-28 - Unpardonable Sin

1 John 5:16, If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

We have touched on this topic several times before over the years, and it may be helpful to re-visit it from time to time. I hope to do so in a way slightly different than before. I hope this is helpful and edifying to you.

The fact is that there is a sin that is not pardonable. However, ask 100 leading theologians what that sin is, and you are likely to get 120 answers. Scripture does not clearly tell us what the sin leading to death is, and while many have come up with creative, even convincing arguments as to what the sin against the Holy Ghost is, the clear-cut reality is that we are not told in Scripture. I want to argue today that it is a blessing we are not told, and I will tell you why in a moment..

I worked in the area of personal security for many years. We had various means of keeping the property safe. You would not likely know when you had crossed an infrared beam somewhere on the property, but the guard on duty would know. You might not know many of the traps and measures that were in place at the estate, and if you came to the door and asked me what they were, and where they were, I would not have told you - even if you asked nicely. The hindrance of the security in place was partially that an outsider did not know that they were there, or where they were, or what they were.

In a similar manner, we are told in the vast field of sin that there is one that is a "sin leading to death." We are not told what that sin is, and thus we have an encouragement to keep away from all sin. Just as the thief where I used to work, by not knowing where the traps are set is encouraged not to test the system, so also are we encouraged not to chance things by falling into any sin. Our wisdom is to keep away from all sin, whether it is the sin unto death or not. By not knowing what the sin unto death is, we do well to cease from all our sin entirely.

A couple practical matters are needed here. The fact that there is a sin unto death and that it is not made explicitly known in God's word, what that sin is, means that we can always pray for anyone that they might come unto Christ - no matter how deep they are in sin, or what sins they have committed.  personally, we must always have hope that we have not committed the unpardonable sin. It is wise advice that if you are worried about having committed the unpardonable sin, you probably have not done so. If you had, you would not be concerned about it. If you had committed the sin unto death you would not feel remorse in this life, because hardened sinners don't grieve over sins - they plunge into them deeper without pause. They will only show concern and remorse in the next life, when it will do them no good, and they are experiencing the holy, perfect wrath of God.

Our wisdom is to cease from all sin. It is then that we have no worries. Our comfort is that only a child of God would have such propensities and desires to cease from all sin. Let this be our comfort if such is true with us..

Soli Deo Gloria,

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