Certain Old Testament concepts are types of the real and excellent grace of God in the New Testament. The disciple John, writing about sins that lead to death and sin that do not lead unto death, was making an allusion to a distinction in the Jewish law where there was ‘a sin unto death’ and ‘a sin not unto death.’ The first refers to sin, or transgression, to which the law assigned the punishment of death (e.g. idolatry, incest, blasphemy, breach of the Sabbath, and the like).
The second refers to sin or transgressions of ignorance, inadvertence, etc, which in their own nature, appeared to be comparatively light and trivial. These are types of two statuses a human can be in before God, and the principles that work death. The first status is unregeneration wherein the natural man is condemned to death already John 3:18, because of his/her own sin with inherited sin and curse and their consequences. When death or rapture catches up on a person in the state of unregeneration, all his/her sins are unto death. The second is the status of regeneration (new birth) wherein God’s children by adoption, grace, and faith are to continually keep themselves from lawlessness (1 John 3:4; 1 John 5:18). But when they commit lawlessness, they can still come to God through Christ in penitence, genuine repentance, and faith, and thereby are set free from the condemnation that comes with sin or unrighteousness – spiritual death on earth and in eternity. Their sins then are not unto death.
As believers, let us keep sanctifying ourselves by keeping away from committing sin (every sin is unrighteousness), and renewing our dedication unto the Lord if we fall. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, IF WE CONFESS. This is the confidence we have in Him 1 John 5:14.
And we pray:
Lord, I thank You for translating me from the region of sin and death to righteousness and life; help me to continually sanctify myself on a daily basis by keeping away from sin and renewing my dedication unto You, Amen.