We have looked at the “unpardonable sin” of complete rejection of Holy Spirit and then began looking at the “sin unto death” which is the last straw – a time when disobedience becomes a hindrance God will not tolerate, so He removes you from this earthly life. Moses died after sinning in such a way but, by the grace of God, still got into the Promised Land, as he stood with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. God is always gracious.
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles — that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).
Paul addressed this incestuous relationship with dismay, not believing they were tolerating this, for even heathen would not. His goal is for the man ultimately to be saved, not to be damned or going to hell. He wants what is best for this brother; and love dictates that they break down every hedge of protection until he returns to the Lord. In 2 Corinthians, we learn that it worked: Paul says, "Enough. Now reaffirm your love for that brother, lest it bring him further distress." This reminds us of John’s statement that there is sin that does not lead to death so pray; and there is sin that does lead to death so quit praying.
Many who commit a sin unto death simply die; others repent and live on. This brother was one who repented and was reinstated to Christian fellowship. David was another; he committed adultery and murder, both sins unto death according to the law. In Psalms 32, 38 and 51, we discover he was dying, out of fellowship with God; his bones were rotting, his flesh was decaying, his spirit was broken, bent and shattered. His family was disintegrating and his kingdom was languishing. David had committed the sin unto death and hadn't repented.
Finally, the prophet Nathan called him back to his senses and David's heart broke. After a lengthy season of being out of fellowship with God, he repented and acknowledged his sin. Then Nathan said, "Now you won't die." This teaches us to be quick to repent when we do something wrong. Hezekiah is another example. In trouble, he turned to Egypt for help whereupon God said, "Isaiah, tell Hezekiah to get his house in order; he can't be My leader." Isaiah obeyed and headed away but didn’t get far. God stopped him and said, "Go back. Hezekiah has repented. I have given him fifteen more years." You can shorten your life or lengthen it. He who is fast to repent will have a long life.
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). God's will for your life is expressed in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” God wants to be in fellowship with you, not just relationship. To be born again is to be related to God, but to stand before Him with a clean heart is fellowship. Doing wrong puts a breach in your fellowship, but does not end your relationship. Parents experience this, knowing that it's not until a child repents that you can turn from being judge back to being a warm, loving, compassionate, embracing parent again.
They might not like being judge. It might be an alien and strange work just as the Bible says it is for God. Nevertheless, they must judge; if they love the child, they must bring instruction and correction into his/her life. Unfortunately, when children do something wrong, they usually don’t quickly run to you and say, "I have done something wrong, please forgive me." Like David, they hide, which still leaves them related, but definitely impacts fellowship or communion.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). God's will is for us not to sin but if we do, we can be forgiven and cleansed through confession. This Greek word means “to say the same thing.” If we would be quick to admit as sin what He calls sin, we would see far more glory in the church because fellowship with God brings release of it.
Let us not justify ourselves, excuse our behaviors, or rationalize and explain to those around us that "I'm only human.” That’s not Biblically accurate; what is true is that a Christian is a new creation. On this basis, Paul rebuked the Corinthians for acting like mere humans. We will avoid remaining like babes, and we will grow up by being quick to repent from all that displeases God. Let us continue to be a people assured of the fact that true believers cannot commit the unpardonable sin, but they can fail to repent of sin until they go home early. Be quick to repent!
-Walter Healy, Founding Pastor