“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”
John continues his discussion on prayer in this verse, but he extends the issue to praying for those in spiritual need.
If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin
The object of prayer in this verse is a believer out of fellowship. The word “brother” clearly indicates that the person in need is a Christian (2:9-11; 3:14-15; 5:1). The words “a sin” indicate that the issue at hand is a specific sin or an identifiable sin.
The person who prays about this situation must “see” the sin for himself. He does not buy into religious gossip or slander.
We must operate on objectivity when correcting fallen Christians.
Spiritual Christians do not operate on religious gossip or slander. They look at things objectively and dispassionately. The issue here is not rumor or gossip via the grapevine but objective knowledge about the fact of a Christian’s sin. Secondhand information might be false. The normal reaction is to react subjectively to some sin in a believer. The spiritual believer does not pick up the phone and tell everyone he knows about it.