The Unpardonable Sin

Will God forgive any sin or is there one sin that He considers unpardonable? Good question. In Matthew 12:22-32, the Bible gives us the record of an incident in which a group of Jewish Pharisees attributed Christ’s miracle-working power to the power of the devil. In the context of this story, Jesus gave the following warning:

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (N.K.J.V.)

Some students of the Bible contend that the sin of which Christ spoke (the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit) cannot be committed today because it specifically involved attributing an obvious miracle of Jesus to the power of Satan. According to this view, since Jesus is no longer personally on the earth working miracles today, the “unpardonable sin” no longer comes into play. As Dr. Harry Ironside wrote,

“The unpardonable sin of Israel at Christ’s first coming was the rejection of the Spirit’s witness to His Messiahship.”

However, with that said, I agree with Dr. J. Vernon McGee who wrote:

“The Holy Spirit came into the world to make real the salvation of Christ to the hearts of men. If you resist the working of the Spirit of God when He speaks to you, my friend, there is no forgiveness, of course.”

Along the same lines, the previously mentioned Dr. Ironside also wrote:

“…if they speak against the Holy Spirit, that is, in the sense, of course, of utterly rejecting His testimony, then there can be no forgiveness, for it is only through the Spirit’s testimony that the Son of Man is made known.”

You see, to rightly understand this whole subject, it is vital that we understand the role that God the Holy Spirit plays in salvation. First, the Spirit convicts the lost sinner concerning the sinner’s sin (John 16:8). Second, He (the Spirit is not an “it”) strives with the sinner over the sinner’s need for forgiveness and salvation (Genesis 6:3). Third, He works to convince the sinner of the sinner’s need to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior (John 15:26, 16:14). Fourth, at the moment the sinner chooses to believe in Christ as Savior, the Spirit comes to indwell the sinner’s body (Romans 8:9-11, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Titus 3:5). It is this indwelling of God the Holy Spirit that creates the “born again” experience in the person (John 3:1-8).

But what if a lost sinner time and time again refuses the Holy Spirit’s convicting, striving, and convincing? Well, that is where the issue of blaspheming the Holy Spirit comes into play, and at some point the Holy Spirit will simply stop working on that lost sinner. And it is then that the lost sinner will have committed the unpardonable sin. I think that Dr. John R. Rice described the potential situation perfectly when he wrote:

“The unpardonable sin is a complete and final rejection of Christ so definite and blasphemous that it insults and drives away the Holy Spirit forever. Then He no longer moves the heart, brings conviction or arouses desire for salvation.”

Let me close with an illustration that I trust will help. Let’s say that you have a life-threatening disease, but your doctor knows about a cure and tries repeatedly to tell you about it. But, for whatever reason, you refuse to hear his words. When he walks in to see you, you get up and leave. When he calls on the phone, you hang up. When he sends you a letter, you throw it away without opening it. When he sends you an email or a text, you immediately delete it. And so what happens? Well, finally, after his best efforts have been repeatedly rebuffed, the doctor says, “Alright, if you want to die, go ahead because I’m through trying to help you.” And so you die. But what killed you? Was it the disease? Yes, in a sense. But in another sense it was your refusal to heed the doctor who was trying to point you to the cure, to say nothing, of course,  of your lack of the cure. Now let’s put it all together. Your fatal disease is sin. The doctor who is trying to help you is God the Holy Spirit, and the cure He is trying to get you to take advantage of is Jesus Christ. Now do you understand? That is how one commits the unpardonable sin today.            


This entry was posted in Belief, Forgiveness, Salvation, The Holy Spirit, The Unpardonable Sin and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Unpardonable Sin

  1. John says:

    Well written Thanks

  2. Robert says:

    And what if someone is afraid they have gone so far in resistance that the Holy Spirit has given them up? What if you have committed this sin and then want to be saved?

    • russellmckinney says:

      My answer would be that such a person’s fear is clear evidence that he hasn’t committed the unpardonable sin. You see, the person who has truly committed this sin is completely numb to the conviction of the Spirit.

      If a doctor applies a local anesthesia to a finger he can then do anything he wants to that finger but the person won’t feel it because the anesthesia has completely numbed the finger. Well, when the Holy Spirit is rejected enough by an individual He simply doesn’t visit that person by way of conviction over sin anymore. In effect, this intentional abandoning amounts to an anesthesia that causes the individual to no longer feel fear when it comes to the matter of salvation-damnation.

      • Robert says:

        So then its an intentional rejection of the Holy Spirit and not something that is done without one being aware that they are doing it?

      • russellmckinney says:

        Yes. Going back to the passage from Matthew chapter 12, those Pharisees knew exactly what they were doing when they chose to accuse Jesus of being demonically empowered rather than embrace Him as Messiah. They made a willful choice there.

        From the sounds of what you’ve written, you certainly haven’t committed the unpardonable sin. However, that’s not the same as having authentically placed your belief in Jesus as your personal Savior and thus been “born again” (John 3:1-21). I don’t know you but a genuine Christian who has the assurance of his salvation (the kind of assurance described in 1 John 5:10-13) wouldn’t have a fear that he has committed the unpardonable sin. You see, you either don’t have the salvation or you don’t have the assurance. But I can’t tell you which one you are lacking.

      • Robert says:

        For the past 4yrs since this fear began I have prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart repeatedly but nothing ever happens and the more I read the scripture and try to get close to him the more I feel condemned or like God is pushing me away because I resisted him for too long in my earlier years.

        I also found a passage in Proverbs which speaks of those who call out to God but God says he will not answer them because they didnt listen to God when God called them. This is why I think its possible to be afraid and it still be too late.

        Im sorry for being difficult, just having a hard time with this and am severely depressed and now on medication for my depression.

  3. Robert says:

    If you think I committed it then just say so because im at my wits end.

    • russellmckinney says:

      Honestly, Robert, if I thought that you had committed the unpardonable sin I’d be honest enough to say so. But what you are describing just doesn’t sound like that to me. What I do know is that you have sincerely tried (repeatedly as you say) to come to Jesus for salvation. Well, in John 6:37 Jesus promises that He will not cast out any who come to Him. In my opinion, your problem has nothing to do with the unpardonable sin and everything to do with spiritual warfare as Satan and his demons are lying to you about your lack of salvation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s