"If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death" (1 John 5:16-17).
How do you handle those verses? I have never completely understood them, and I have no idea how to apply them to my life. How do you know the difference between the sin that leads to death and the sin that does not lead to death? As far as I can tell, the apostle John never defined those terms in his writings. Have I overlooked something? Did his student Polycarp ever mention those terms in any of his writings from the second century of the church? What am I missing?
In addition, how do I know when I'm wasting my prayers on someone? I have seen people become Christians whom I would have written off as unreachable. I have seen people return to Christ who looked like they had rejected him forever. However, the apostle John indicates that it's a waste of effort and time to pray for people who have committed the sin that leads to death. How do I know when I should not be wasting my emotional energy on people who will never turn to Christ for life?
I would appreciate any help my readers could provide. Please leave a comment if you can help me with this in any way. Thanks!