“If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.” 1 John 5:16-17 NLT
This is a complicated passage to correctly interpret and apply. I will attempt to address this. All sin is wrong. All sin is an offense of the standard. “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” 1 John 3:4 NLT Some sins are outright and clearly immoral. Murder, adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness, etc. These are the sins that grab our attention and make us "categorize" sins. Some sins are more "socially" acceptable. This doesn't make them right or acceptable to God. Even some of the more blatant sins are becoming "socially" acceptable in our time. Adultery and other sexual immorality such as lesbianism, bi-sexualism, transgenderism, etc. Where are the preachers who call it for what it is? Sin!! Yet, often, we have things going on in our lives, under the radar, that are hidden to the majority but nag at us in our hearts and minds. Let me explain it this way:
There are two main categories of sin:
1. Commission - behavior that we that we know is wrong and clearly offensive to God.
2. Omission - things we know we should be doing that are right, yet we don't do them.
We may not have killed someone, but if we hate our fellow man, we are murderers at heart. "Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” 1 John 3:15 NLT We may not have committed the act of adultery in the physical act, but if we have lusted in our hearts, we are an adulterer. “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 NLT Some sins are hidden to man but not to God. He sees all. His ever watching eye is aware of everything, even things we aren't. If we know we should forgive someone and don't, we sin. That sin will fester into bitterness. That bitterness will lead to death (early death physically and disrupt our fellowship with God spiritually. Jesus clearly spoke about forgiveness in what we call the "Lord's Prayer" (Matthew 6:9-13). He went on to elaborate on the forgiveness aspect immediately following that model prayer (Matthew 9:14-15). Hebrews tells us that a root of bitterness will defile many. "Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15 NLT Simply "categorizing" sins according to the "obvious" can be misleading. God wants us to be just as conscientious of doing what we should as not doing what we shouldn't. If you know something is right and don't do it, you are guilty of sin. “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
James 4:17 NLT Right now, some of you know you should go to church, but you don't. You know you should get more involved in the ministry of the church, but you don't. You know you should tithe, but you don't. You know you should visit someone, but you don't. There are many more. Sure, you go to work, come home, have a fear of the Almighty, and you are a "good" person (at least in your own estimation). What about God's view of your life. Are you listening to His voice? Do you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Let God give you His analysis of your life. Only He can see everything about you. Indeed we should find comfort and assurance in knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior! However, that doesn't mean that we are living in line with His perfect will. Think about that today! Ask God to show you things that you may not see. He waits to forgive you and sanctify you. “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:8-9 NLT
Rev. Curtis Norris