Can we ask forgiveness for the sins of another person?
1 John 5:16 - 17
ESV - 16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life - to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
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All men sin and fall short of the glory of God. In God's eyes, a sin is a sin. There is no scale. Jesus died for the forgiveness of all sins. Different levels of sins are man-made and not God-made.
There's no mention of venial or mortal sin in God's word, just a Catholic tradition. Years ago when I was Catholic venial sin was telling lies and mortal sin was killing or raping someone but there are two primary views of this. There are different levels of sin All sin is equal in God's eyes. Unfortunately, they're both pretty sound beliefs. All sins are not equal There are many verses to back up this belief that all sins are not equal. Here are some of them: Matthew 12:31-32 (NIV) 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come 1 Cor. 6:18 (NIV) Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. John 19:11 (NIV) Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” Matthew 7:3 (NIV) “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" All sins are equal The idea that "all sins are equal in God's eyes" comes from the idea that any one sin will lead to death. If we commit a single sin, we are as guilty (in God's eyes) as if we had committed the worst sin--regardless of which sin we committed. It's based on the idea that God's holiness is so extreme, that even one transgression is greater than he can accept. This idea is supported with two key verses James 2:10 (NIV) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. Romans 3:23 (NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God The argument goes, therefore, that if even the smallest sin prevents us from attaining the perfection that God calls us to seek, then that one single sin is as great as the worst sin. Summary We can reconcile these two seemingly opposing viewpoints: we can clearly see that some sins are greater than others, but that any sin will prevent us from going to heaven without the saving grace and sacrifice of Jesus.
Let us examine what the Bible says in JAMES 2:10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. This confirms that sin is sin. Every other thing contrary to this is heresy.
Sin is certainly an abomination to God regardless of its gravity but I agree that certain sins are more grave than others. I have often heard some Christians argue that indulging in bodily appetites such as alcoholic beverages and other addiction substances have not been expressly disallowed by Scripture. God has put into the heart of every child the means by which to sense any sinful circumstances and by his Word, the tools for discerning and avoiding sin. Paul teaches in 1 Cor 3:16-17 that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and any person who defiles it God shall destroy. If we are conscious of our eternal destiny, our fight against sin and evil should inform our Christian living. Thankfully God has given us his grace by which the blood of Christ covers all sin. (1 John 1:9-10). We can certainly overcome because of Christ and our affinity to him draws us away from the magnate of sin and evil. We must guard our faith so that, as Paul says, we shall be presented perfect before God when he is revealed. There is no shortcut about this; we are either of Christ or of this world of sin and wickedness.
The Catholic Church, in my research of this, considers a "mortal" sin one that will keep you out of heaven and results in the spiritual death of the soul. They cite 1 Cor 6:9-10. If you commit a mortal sin and die without confessing, you end up in hell. Venial sins are lesser sins and don't even necessarily need to be confessed to a priest. Although I would agree that the sins listed in 1 Cor 6:9-10 are sins that can keep you out of heaven only because those practicing such sins as a way of life in defiance of God are most typically not believers, I would disagree that an institution or a man on earth can determine the state of the person's heart and declare where that person will end up at death. 1 Cor 6:11 indicates that people practicing these "mortal" sins came to Christ AFTER verses 9-10, which means they were going to hell for their rejection of Christ and that their rejection in Christ resulted in their sinful lifestyle, not that they were believers practicing "mortal" sins that would keep them out of heaven. Only God can determine a sin leading to death--not a priest, pastor or Joe-Blow next door. Only God. A "sin leading to death" can be a continued unrepentent and unconfessed sin of any variety until God has had enough and ends the believer's life. Failure to repent of and forsake sin may eventually lead to physical death as part of God's judgment and no intercessory prayer on the person's behalf will stop that judgment. An example would be Ananias and Sapphira, whom God struck down ON THE SPOT for lying. I doubt any of us has never lied. But God determined that, maybe because this was habitual with them and also to show the newly-formed church that sin meant something to Him, to take them out on the spot. "Venial" (lesser) sins may not lead to physical death but divine discipline. The important thing to remember is that God, and not man, is the judge of sins leading to death and God will decide what to do with that believer. There is no authority on earth that can determine a "mortal" sin versus a "venial" sin because only God can determine the heart of the sinner/believer. Furthermore, committing one of those "mortal" sins does not keep a believer out of heaven since we get to heaven by grace alone and are, therefore, not kept out by the sins we may commit since we are no longer judged for our sins in terms of acceptance into the family of God. We have the righteousness of Christ when God looks upon us and can't suffer the spiritual death of our soul once we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, although we can certainly quench or grieve the Spirit with the things we might do. 1 Thess 5:19; Eph 4:30
My opinion is that venial sins are types of sins that do not result in complete separation from God unlike mortal sin. They can be forgiven by confession or praying to God by the heart. Examples can be grumbling, telling lies, etc. This has been answered by a nine year old girl.
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