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.