Will God forgive any sin or is there one sin that He considers unpardonable? That’s a 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.)
I should point out that there are reputable commentators who 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, the “unpardonable sin” no longer comes into play. Speaking for myself, however, I agree with those who believe this sin can be committed today.
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/salvation (Genesis 6:3). Third, He works to convince the sinner to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and thereby receive that forgiveness/salvation (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 the Spirit’s entrance that creates the “born again” experience inside 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 because, at some point, the Holy Spirit will simply stop working on that lost sinner. You see, when the Spirit stops striving with the lost sinner, that sinner has committed the unpardonable sin. Why? It’s because no one will ever come to Jesus who isn’t first drawn to Him by the ministry of the Spirit.
Let me use 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. For whatever reason, though, 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. Finally, after his best efforts have been rebuffed repeatedly, the doctor says, “Alright, if you want to die, go ahead. I’m through trying to help you.” And so you die. Okay, 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. That is, of course, to say nothing of your lack of the cure.
So now let’s apply this illustration to the committing of the unpardonable sin. The individual’s fatal disease is sin. The doctor who is trying to help the individual is God the Holy Spirit. And the cure the Spirit is trying to get the individual to put to use is Jesus Christ. Therefore, when the individual rejects the Spirit’s conviction to the point where the Spirit says, “I’m done trying to help you,” that is how an individual commits the unpardonable sin today.
Well written Thanks
Thanks John. I appreciate you reading the post and taking the time to comment.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
If you think I committed it then just say so because im at my wits end.
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.