“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask (pray for them), and he will give him life for those who commit sin NOT leading to death. There is a sin leading to death: I do not say that he shall pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is sin not leading to death.” 1 John 5:16, 17
The Apostle here clearly teaches that there are TWO SORTS OF SINS: one that may be repented of and reformed from, and for which forgiveness and reconciliation may be prayed for and expected, the other a sin that “hath never forgiveness” (Mark 3:29), while those who commit it, “it is impossible to renew again unto repentance.” (Heb 6:4, 6; 10:26) It is a sin unto death, and none need pray for or expect its forgiveness. The latter is sometimes called a death-sin, or “MORTAL SIN,” while the former is termed a “VENIAL SIN,” or one, which may be forgiven. These distinct sins are recognized by these names by Roman Catholics. But this should be no reason why we or any others should reject a thought which we see to be Scriptural.
“A sin leading to death” is one which may be committed in a variety of ways. Whenever a wrong course is adopted intentionally, with a full desire to have it so, against a clear knowledge of the right and wrong in the matter, and not from weakness—physical or moral–such, to our understanding, is a sin that is unto death; it is willful, intentional sin against clear knowledge. It is unto death and not subject to forgiveness because not covered by Christ’s ransom-price. The ransom does not cover it, because it is not in any sense traceable to Adam’s transgression and its consequences.
Christ as Mediator stands between men and God’s perfect and exact requirements, to shield them from the exactness of that law to the extent of their weaknesses, ignorance’s and evil besetments, and to instruct them until they shall come to a clear knowledge of the truth. But Christ’s object and God’s object, in this mediation, is not to spare and shield willful sinners from God’s just law and its penalty, but to recover the unwilling captives of sin and to release and restore them out of their weaknesses. The mediation is extended to all, but permanently benefits only those who accept and conform to it.
Willful sinners are condemned to death–second death–by the Mediator’s law as well as by Jehovah’s law, for they are identical except that the Mediator (in the next age, during the Mediatorial reign) applies the merit of his own sacrifice to compensate for the Adamic weaknesses of those seeking to obey him, while they are coming up to perfection, under his instruction and aid during that period.
The Apostle teaches that this sin unto death (the sin against the Holy Spirit, Mark 3:29) can be committed now (ONLY) by the church, (that is the fully consecrated, those in covenant relationship with the Father, Psa 50:5), those begotten of the Holy Spirit.
If after clearly recognizing Christ as their Redeemer and Mediator, and enjoying the blessings of his ransom-sacrifice, they knowingly turn from this, God’s plan, to commend themselves to him in some other manner aside from the sin-offering which Christ presented once for all. Those who have been once enlightened and who have tasted of the heavenly gift [forgiveness of sins through Christ], and have been made partakers of the spirit of holiness (The Holy Spirit), who have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the coming age, and WHO THEN SIN WILLFULLY, are sinning on their own account, and intelligently, after having enjoyed their full share of the redemption and release from Adamic or “original sin” secured by God for all through Christ’s atoning work.
By such a willful course of opposition they clearly say to God, (not so much in words, but in thought), ‘Your great plan of redemption and reconciliation of the world through Christ appears to be a failure so far as we are concerned; we have no need of Christ’s work as Redeemer, nor do we recognize his blood (death) as the seal of the New Covenant, though we do recognize him as a very good man whose example is worthy of imitation; we see no purchasing power in his blood for us; he died for himself and we die for ourselves; he commended himself to God as worthy of life, and we shall commend ourselves to God as worthy of life by doing the same as he did–following his example (of righteousness, of doing good). They say, our case is in God’s hands; we expect he will bring us through; we need no purchase or ransom-price for our sins, and we recognize none.’
Thus, they do despite to the one and only plan of salvation provided by God—the salvation which is in Christ Jesus alone, through faith in his blood (death)–and fall into the hands of the living God; and by their rejection of the mediation for sin secured in Christ’s death they expose themselves to the full blaze of the perfect law which surely condemns any of the fallen race of Adam not under cover of the one and only RANSOM. And as Paul declares, their position then, without a Mediator, is a fearful one. (Heb. 10:31)
For as in the type all who despised Moses, the typical Mediator, and attempted to offer to God incense for themselves and not through Moses, the Mediator of their typical covenant, and his appointed channel, which recognized the sin-offering as the basis of forgiveness, were dealt with WITHOUT MERCY, so those who despise the blood and the Mediator of the New Covenant and place their case thus in the hands of God directly, and not through his recognized channel, the Mediator, will be dealt with upon lines of strict justice, without mercy (Heb 10:26-31); Whether in this age (The Gospel Age) or in the next age (The Millennial Age), God’s mercy for sinners all being provided in Christ, so that there is none other name than his in heaven or in earth whereby we must be saved. And under that strict justice the verdict would be, Imperfect, unworthy of life; sentence, Death.