What is the Sin Unto Death?

What is the sin unto death?

In 1 John 5:16 we read, “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.” The ASV translates the last part of this verse as follows: “There is a sin unto death: not concerning this do I say that he should make request.”

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the Greek language is its lack of the indefinite article. In English, the indefinite article is the word “a” or “an.” When an indefinite article is expected, the syntax of the Greek sentence just gives the noun itself without the definite article. It is up to the translator to either supply the indefinite article or to leave it out depending upon the context. In this particular context, it makes better sense to me as a translator to leave the definite article out so that the sentence would read, “There is sin unto death.” This has the force of removing the idea that there is some particular sin that is unto death. In other words, there is no particular sin unto death, it is just a case where someone commits sin and that sin leads to death. Additionally, John uses the Greek word “PROS” in this verse, which is translated “unto” in the King James Version. A better translation for this preposition would be “toward.” That would help us to understand this statement even better. “There is sin toward death.” In other words, if one continues in one�s sin, eventually that will lead to one’s spiritual death. What is such a situation?

We must note that John is speaking to those who are Christians. He says, “If any man see his brother sin�.” What kind of sin could a Christian commit that would lead to death? James says in James 1:14, 15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” According to James, any temptation can lead to sin and death. So, how do we avoid sinning toward death? John gives the answer in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The sin that leads toward death is the un-repented and un-confessed sin. This follows naturally with the next thought, the sin that is not toward death. That is the sin of which on has repented and confessed. For this sin, we can pray for our brethren and God will forgive.

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Why Do Christians Partake of the Lord’s Supper on Sunday?

In Matthew 26, it talks about the Lord’s supper. However, it never says anything about taking of the Lord’s supper, on the Lord’s day (Sunday). Why do we partake on Sunday? Does the Bible say we should?

We read in Matthew 26:25-29 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father�s kingdom.” It is interesting to note that in this passage, Jesus says that He will drink of the cup with the apostles in His Father’s kingdom. The kingdom was established on the day of Pentecost (Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1, 4) which was always observed on a Sunday according to Leviticus 23:15, 16. It was on this day that Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), and it was on this day of Pentecost that many became Christians for the first time. Acts 2:42 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles� doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” This is the first mention that we have of Christian worship within the kingdom, and it includes the breaking of bread, one of the elements of the Lord’s Supper.

Paul writes concerning the Lord’s Supper, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord�s death till he come” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Notice specifically the phrase, “As often as.” This indicates regularity to the matter. In other words, it was not just once in a blue moon that they partook of the Lord’s Supper, but on a regular basis. What was that regular basis? It was the first day of the week. In Acts 20:7, we read, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Immediately before this particular verse, we see Paul waiting in Troas for a period of seven days. Paul expected the church to meet and he knew the day of their meeting. We can conclude from this that it was customary for the church to meet to worship once a week, (every seven days, upon the first day of the week) and that this day was when they partook of the Lord’s supper. So, “as often as” means “upon the first day of the week, every week.” Such was also true of the contribution that was to be taken on the first day of the week. 1 Corinthians 16:2 states, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” The church met upon the first day of the week to worship and this included observing the Lord’s Supper.

In thinking about the principles of worship, one of the most important is the principle of authority (Colossians 3:17). We have the command to partake of the Lord’s Supper. We have several examples of the early Christians partaking of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week. If we were to suggest that we could partake of the Lord’s Supper upon some other day of the week, we would find ourselves in the position of not having any authority to do that. There is no command, example, or implication within the scriptures that authorize the church to partake of the Lord’s supper upon any other day than the first day of the week and with that we must be content if we are going to walk by faith–if we are going to live and act based upon the word of God (Romans 10:17).

But how do we know that we need to partake of it upon every first day of the week. This should be obvious from the expression, “upon the first day of the week.” The expression does not indicate any other time value except a weekly value. If I were to say to you that I go to volunteer at the community center on the third day of the week, you would understand me to mean, every Tuesday. If I did such any less than every week, you would expect me to qualify that statement with a “once a month” or such like. So also is the meaning of “upon the first day of the week.” The correct understanding of that phrase without additional clarification is a weekly.

Such was also true regarding the Sabbath day under the Old Law. God said, “Honor the Sabbath.” If the Israelites were to honor the Sabbath once a month, would that have been what God commanded? No. They were to honor every Sabbath and that was understood. We are on safe ground by partaking of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week, every week. We know that this is something with which God cannot be displeased and faith seeks to please God (Hebrews 11:6). By observing the Lord’s Supper in some other way or less than weekly, we step out of God’s authority and onto our own without any biblical statement of support for such practices.

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Must a Christian Know the Purpose of Charity to the Poor?

Do we, as Christians, have a responsibility to know for what purpose moneys will be used as we give to those who would ask us for help?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:42, “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” We read in Ephesians 4:28 “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” In Luke 6:35 we read, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” In Luke 14:12-14 we read, “Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”

As Christians, we have a personal and individual responsibility to give to the poor. The church also has a responsibility according to Galatians 6:10 but this does not negate our individual responsibility to help the poor. When we help the poor, we are not to expect anything in return. We should not expect them to pay us back. We should not expect them to return favors. We should not expect them to use the money in a certain way–anything that we expect in return for our giving to the poor is expecting too much according to the words of Christ. So we should not expect the poor person to even use the money in any particular way.

The natural response to this answer is, “Well, what if the person specifically said that he was going to use the money to buy alcohol, drugs, or do something illegal with it?” Most poor people who ask you for money are not going to tell you how they are going to use. Most are probably just going to say thank you and go on. So don’t ask. You have no responsibility to do that. You have the responsibility to give. The person who receives the money then has the responsibility before God to use it properly. After you give the money, then your responsibility is completed and his or her responsibility begins. Now I must say that if the man gets up and says, “Thanks, now I can go buy that gun I have needed to kill my wife,” then I would want to have a few words with him. I would want to report the situation to the police. It would be criminally negligent of me to allow such a situation to go forward unchecked and as Christians, we must obey the law. Rarely is such a situation going to occur. But if we give, God says that we have done well. That should be sufficient for us provided the recipient of our gift does not tell us the purpose for which he is going to use the gift.

The passages at which we have looked do assume that one will be giving money, but they do not assume that this is the only way to give. We can give other things besides money. When Peter and John were on their way to the temple in Acts 3:6 Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Peter gave this lame man the gift of walking. We can give in other ways than “silver and gold.” If you personally are not comfortable with giving money, then you can give food, clothing, or shelter. This ensures that the person to whom you are giving is going to receive the things that he or she needs. Even these things, however, can be used inappropriately. So in giving, there is never the 100% certainty that those who are receiving the gift will do what they are supposed to do with it.

The bottom line is that if you give money to someone who asks, you have done that which is right (period). It is not your responsibility to make sure that person uses the money you give for good things. As soon as the gift is complete, then that person has a responsibility to use it appropriately and God will bring him or her into judgment for how he or she uses that gift. Is this not also true regarding the gift of God’s Son, Jesus? God gave to us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). He gave us what we needed–what we could not do for ourselves–a sacrifice to wash away sin. His gift is complete. Now does He have a responsibility to make sure that everyone uses His gift appropriately? No. It is the individual’s responsibility to use this gift in a way that will please God and so will he be judged. When we give, we are no more responsible to ensure that those to whom we give a gift use it properly than God is responsible to ensure that those to whom He gave His gift use it properly. Let us give and be children of our Father!

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