The Unpardonable Sin
Have you heard of the unforgiveable sin? The sin that Jesus Himself tells the people in His day will not be forgiven by God.
Here’s the thing, if there is an unpardonable sin then it is really important that we know what it is so that we can avoid it.
Also, I know from talking to many Christians that they have some point wondered if they have committed this unpardonable sin or they are petrified that they will. Consequently they live under the cloud of fear.
What is the Unpardonable Sin?
Jesus describes the unpardonable sin as something He calls blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.
Here it is in Mark’s Gospel:
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”
Mark 3:22-30 New International Version (NIV)
It is important that we understand the context of this account. The religious leaders had just witnessed Jesus cast out a demon from someone. In response to the miracle they accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan and by inference they were saying that Jesus was doing His miracles by Satan’s enabling.
Many of us have at times accused something of God as not being from God. Years ago people were talking about a new move of God called the Toronto Blessing. I was convinced that what they described as happening in the meetings were not from God. But I was wrong and later embraced what was happening and was blessed by this move of God. Although I ascribed something God was doing to not being of God, this was not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
The Pharisees accusation that Jesus’ miracle of healing the demon possessed boy was not a one time slip. They had hardened their hearts to Him and refused to embrace what was in plain sight.
Author, pastor and theologian Sam Storms says
This was a persistent, life-long rebellion in the face of inescapable and undeniable truth. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not a careless act committed only once in a moment of rage or rebellion, but a calloused attitude over time; a persistent defiance that hardens and calcifies the heart.
In other words blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is knowable act of ascribing the work of Jesus to Satan. Personally, I believe that what makes it the unforgivable, is not so much that God won’t forgive the person, but rather that they have locked themselves in such hardness that they won’t repent and acknowledge Jesus as their King. This was what the Pharisees had done. They were calling Jesus’ work the work of Satan and refused to receive Him as God’s Son and Messiah. Their sin remained because they refused to bend their knee.
I also believe that if a person who had been saying something was not of God and even that something God was doing was of Satan, turns their heart to Go and repents of their sin God would forgive them. This was true of the Apostle Paul wasn’t it. He had been trying to snuff out the Christians in his day. He was against what Holy Spirit was doing. Had he died in this state he would have remained unforgiven. But Holy Spirit did not give up on him.
On the Road to Damascus Jesus said to him:
‘It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ Acts 26:14
In other words, God had been on Saul’s (Paul) case. Up until this point Saul remained unrepentant. But here on the Road to Damascus he softened his heart and repented. Had the Pharisees softened their heart and repented God would have similarly released forgiveness. But sadly they chose to remain hardened to Him.
A Sure Fire Way to Know You have not Committed the Unpardonable Sin
Are sorry for your sin and you want to turn back to God? If your answer is “Yes,” your very act of softening is indicative you are not locked in hardness towards Him and, therefore, have not committed the unpardonable sin.
God is then quick to forgive you and release the forgiveness that Jesus won for you by giving His life for you. Your job is to receive that precious forgiveness.
If you have been struggling with thinking you have committed the unpardonable sin I’d encourage you now to pray this prayer:
Father God, I have been locked in thinking I have committed the unpardonable sin. Father forgive me for thinking I am beyond the veil of your forgiveness. I forgive myself for what it is that I believe I did that pushed me beyond your grace. Right now I receive your forgiveness for my sin. Thank you Father for your kindness to me.
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