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1 John 5:16-17
16 If [ean] any man [tis] see [eido] his [autos] brother [adelphos] sin [hamartano] a sin [hamartia] which is not [me] unto [pros] death [thanatos], he shall ask [aiteo], and [kai] he shall give [didomi] him [autos] life [zoe] for them that sin [hamartano] not [me] unto [pros] death [thanatos]. There is [esti] a sin [hamartia] unto [pros] death [thanatos]: I do not [ou] say [lego] that [hina] he shall pray [erotao] for [peri] it [ekeinos].
17 All [pas] unrighteousness [adikia] is [esti] sin [hamartia]: and [kai] there is [esti] a sin [hamartia] not [ou] unto [pros] death [thanatos]. KJV-Interlinear
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. NASB
There are two definitions of sin in this passage. Sin leading to death, a death which is an eternal death, and then there is sin which does not lead to eternal death.
Death is a separation. In this case eternal death is separation from God for all of eternity. That is the eternal condemnation of the unbeliever and their destiny will be the Lake of Fire.
Sin in the case of the believer becomes a separation from fellowship. That is to say, when we confess our sins to God the Father, then we are placed into fellowship with Him. When we commit a sin, then we are ejected out of fellowship. This is a death of our functional spiritual life (out of fellowship) while we are still living on this earth.
Physical death is when the soul leaves the body and the body begins the rotting process. The soul goes to heaven of Torments whichever it appropriate for the believer or unbeliever respectively. All believers go to heaven. All unbelievers go to Torments until the last judgment, the Great White Throne. No believer will ever stand before the Great White Throne.
All sin is unrighteousness, but the spiritual position of the individual determines the proper dispatching of that sin.
Jesus Christ went to the Cross and died there for all of the sins of mankind. This includes all of the sins of believers, and all sins of unbelievers. Christ did not go to the Cross to pay the price for mans rejection of Him. That is merely the term of mans salvation. Believe in Christ or not.
Since all sin has been paid for, then there is no sin which can send one to the eternal Lake of Fire. However, God has given mankind a chance to live with Him forever. Just because Christ died on the Cross and wiped out all sin, does not make everyone automatically saved. People have to believe in Christ in order to be saved. Refusal to believe is in effect the single non-compliance act which will condemn a person forever. We can call it a sin if you wish, but it is really a refusal to accept Gods plan for dealing with sin and death.
The only other thing that unbelievers have to fall back on in order to get into heaven is their own good works. This study is found in Revelation. The books of works are opened and the works of man are weighed against the work of Christ. The works of man fall infinitely short of getting them into heaven and thus works becomes their indictment and doom.
All other sins are a matter of discipline for believers. For unbelievers all other sins are a matter of the jungles dealing with them. Since the unbeliever has no spiritual life then spirituality and fellowship are irrelevant. A person has to have salvation and that initial admittance into the family of God before an ongoing relationship will become relevant.
Therefore, all of that said, then if we see people (who we know are believers), then we can pray in their behalf. You of course have to be in fellowship before God will hear your prayer. We know that God will also not interfere with the volition and free choice decisions of people. We too cannot ask in prayer for this intervention. However, God will make the matter clear to the individual in question and then it is up to the individual for whom you are praying to follow through with their own confession and conduct of their spiritual life - ie. daily study, learning, compliance, and so forth.
Forewarned. Do not sit in judgment of other people. That is not your right. Don't get caught up in your own subtle form of self righteousness.
If we see people sinning, and we do not know their spiritual status (believer or unbeliever), then we should not ask for the ultimate sin which is that which leads to the Lake of Fire. Refusal of believing in Christ is that unpardonable sin. It is the only unpardonable sin.
By the way just because a person may be a very bad person and commit murders, and rapes and such, if they are a believer, these sins will not cancel their salvation. They will still go to heaven. If Hitler was saved as a child, then even though his had an entire disgusting life of sin and atrocities, that will not cancel out his salvation. Likewise we should not pray and ask God to keep someone out of heaven just because we think that they are a pathetic person. That is not our prerogative. God can take bad people and use them to punish other bad people in history. We do not have the facts, and therefore we have no opinion as to the outcome of someone's life.
We have already studied, that if we are in compliance with Gods will, and compliance covers a very wide range of subjects in your life, all of which begin with the principles taught in the Bible, then your prayers will be heard and answered. However if you are constantly in and out of fellowship and your spiritual life is more or less unstable, then don't expect much from God. You cannot have life both ways. You either live under Gods roof and are subject to His rules, or you live in the jungle and are subject to the laws of the jungle.
Neither can you run someone else's life. Every individual has to make their own decisions and grow up on their own. You can pray for them, but pray in such a way such that God will bring their flaws and the solutions to their attention, and then they can correct their own life with their own compliance.
For unbelievers, their sins are not the issue but faith in Christ is the issue. Any unbeliever can clean up his life but even a clean living unbeliever will still go to the Lake of Fire.
Likewise, for believers, the issue is fellowship and spiritual growth. They learn and advance through spiritual understanding, their life style of sin is not the issue. Their attitude toward a daily Bible study is the issue.
But, before you get on some crusade wagon to save the world, get your own life in order first.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.