If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. -1 John 5:16-17 ESV
Everyone wants to know how to respond correctly when someone sins. This scripture makes it clear. Above ‘correcting them’, or reciting the law, you are supposed to pray that God gives them life. To put this in practical language, I’ll tell you what I pray for people more than anything else. ‘Show them who You are.’
The only stipulation is that it has to be a sin that does not lead to spiritual death. We are not supposed to pray for that. I don’t completely understand why we aren’t supposed to pray for that, so I have been studying up to try to find the answers in scripture.
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. –Matthew 12:31 ESV
The sin that leads to death is blasphemy. Blasphemy is speaking sacrilegiously about things of the Spirit. A person who speaks sacrilegiously is someone who misuses things of God or things of the spirit. A blasphemous person misuses scripture, the Gospel.
I hope you’re following me. I am trying to be as clear as I can be. This turns everything on its head. This changes everything. According to scripture, it is not the person who falls down in their spiritual walk who is at risk for losing their spiritual life. We all fall and Jesus came to give us life in spite of our mistakes. God does not give up on the person who fails morally. This puts the pressure on the person who uses things of God to undermine what Jesus did and attempts to condemn that person. The person who ignores the life giving power of the resurrected Christ is the one who blasphemes (misuses) the message of Christ.
‘Everything we do wrong is sin’, but all of it can be forgiven. The only thing that cannot be forgiven, the only sin that leads to death, is believing there is something that a human can do that cannot be redeemed. When you water down the Gospel in such a way that you remove the hope of salvation and redemption by putting the responsibility on the person and not on the free gift of grace, you blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
It’s a bizarre twist of human logic for scripture to not be pointing at the sinner, but at the one who claims scripture as the grounds to give up on the sinner. People who use the name of Jesus as the fuel to hold another under the strong arm of guilt and shame are the one’s who are committing the sin that leads to death. I believe that we are instructed to not even pray for that situation because it is so muddled and twisted that we can get caught up in the confusion that we end up trapped in the barbed wire logic in the process. Scripture is trying to protect us from the traps of logic the enemy (who knows scripture better than we do) sets to trip us up and make us feel like we’re pleasing God when we’re kicking our fallen.
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? –Hebrews 10:29 ESV
The punishment is worse for the one who has disrespected the gift of Jesus, grace, because grace is the only thing that made them okay in the first place. To say it another way: When a person, who is saved by grace, makes it harder for another to believe in the free gift of God’s forgiveness (the blood of the covenant), they remove that covering from their own sin. It’s worse for that person because they are trying to make another earn what they, themselves, did not earn. It is a person who was forgiven a debt they could not pay, but will not forgive the debt of another. The only reason a person would hold another’s sin over their head, fail to restore them with forgiveness, or give up on them altogether is because they believe that is what Jesus did for them. Those people may be religious, they may know scripture, but they do not know Jesus. Blasphemy turns the Gospel into a lie. It turns grace into something that has to be earned. It ‘outrages the Spirit of grace’.