I have been taught that any sin may be forgiven. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. And yet this does not fit with 1 John 5:16-17 -- which says there is a sin that leads to death, and about which we should not pray. Can you explain this difficult passage? -- Angelo Campos

You are right: any sin can be forgiven. But will God forgive a sin we refuse to repent of? Let me share my opinion: I realize I may be wrong, but the following explanation makes sense to me.

I believe the sin that leads to death is the sin a brother refuses to let go of, to repent of. Certainly, death is the end result of the process of sin (James 1:13ff). But forgiveness without repentance is not God's way. See Proverbs 28:13, for example. It is vain to pray for God to forgive people who deep down do not care for him and his ways--who do not want to be forgiven! For more on this, see also Jeremiah 11:14 and 14:11. To sum up, the sin that leads to death is not one particular sin, rather any serious sin which we refuse to relinquish.

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