If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
 

5:16 sin unto death. The “sin unto death” does not refer to the unforgivable sin, which yields eternal spiritual death. That sin is, ultimately, refusal to accept Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:36). No other sin precludes at least the possibility of repentance, faith and forgiveness. Therefore, the “sin unto death” can only refer to such flagrant sin on the part of a “brother” that God’s chastisement finally becomes physical death (I Corinthians 11:27-33; 5:5).

5:16 pray for it. There is thus no warrant in praying for the dead.


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