Updated: Aug 21
Have I committed the unforgivable sin?!
The Bible clearly states that all of us are sinners, that the wage of sin is death, and that Jesus took the wage of sin for us and gives the gift of eternal life to all who would receive it (Romans 6:23, John 1:12, etc.). Scripture also makes it clear that no matter what “kind of sinner” we may be, sin is sin in God’s eyes and no one is any more or any less eligible for the penalty of sin; death/destruction, without the grace of God, nor is anyone any more or less eligible for the forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus provided for us, if they would only believe and receive it (John 1:12, 3:16, 6:47, James 2:10, Acts 16:31, etc.). This is most assuredly one of the greatest comforts, if not the greatest comfort known to man.
Nonetheless there is this very troubling idea of the unforgivable, or unpardonable sin that is clearly presented in the New Testament by Jesus Himself, not only once, but 3 times:
Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
Matthew 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
Luke 12:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
All 3 of these passages speak directly of what this unforgivable sin is; blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, as rendered in many other translations. Unfortunately, many people over the years have been troubled by the uncertainty of whether of not they have committed this unforgivable sin. I would first venture to say, that if you have concern about such a thing, you are not guilty of it, at least not at this point in time.
I believe that in order to understand these passages correctly it is first important to have some insight into just who the Holy Spirit is and what His primary role is, at least concerning us. It is also important to understand what blasphemy is. Let us begin by identifying who the Holy Spirit is.
The Holy Spirit is indeed an entity; He is the 3rd person of the Trinity [of God]; He is God. He was present during the creation week. He is one of the “Our” in Genesis 1:26; part of the conversation, where we read:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
He is a person of the Trinity; we are made in His image, just as we are made in the image of the Father and the Son, the other 2 persons of the Trinity. He was just as responsible for giving us dominion as were the Father and the Son.
He seals the believer [of the Gospel] with Himself (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30).
He indwells the believer (1 Corinthians 3:16).
The believer’s second birth, which is sinless (1 John 3:9), and therefore must go to Heaven, is of Him (John 3:3-6).
He has emotions, and can even be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). I would say that each of us has grieved Him much.
He intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
It is He who equips the believer to live a godly life (Galatians 5:16-26).
His primary role concerning humanity is to guide us and to testify of Christ, who is of course our salvation. It is He who descended on Jesus like a Dove to identify and point Him out to us (Luke 3:22). It is He who inspired the writers of the Scriptures. The ultimate purpose of the Scriptures is to testify of Christ, and ultimately to the Gospel of our salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). All Scriptures point to Christ in one way or another. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes unto the Father, but by Him (John 14:6). The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to write this down for us.
We can now make the following simple deduction: the Holy Spirit testifies of Christ and of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is God. God cannot lie. If we do not believe the Gospel (the one and only requirement of salvation), we are not believing the Holy Spirit’s testimony, and we are calling His testimony false, thus we are calling Him a liar. To call God a liar is blasphemy, because blasphemy is speaking untruthfully of God.
Obviously, at some point each of us who now believe the Gospel did not believe the Gospel. Some of us believed it early on and some of us did not. Some of us believed it immediately with little to no resistance, others not so much. The Bible is clear that when we believe the Gospel we ARE saved. If blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the lack of believing the Gospel before believing it, or if it amounts to nothing more than some sort of unholy thought that may have trailed through someone’s mind at some point in life, then we are all damned, Christ died for nothing, and God would then indeed be a liar, thus making the whole business of Christianity and the Gospel null and void at the very best. It is therefore obvious that this sort of thing is not what Jesus was talking about.
I would argue that the unforgivable/unpardonable sin is something that is most likely not committed, or at least made manifest, until physical death without believing the Gospel has occurred. Making the ultimate final decision to call the Holy Spirit’s pinnacle message to mankind a lie [calling Him a liar], and ultimately choosing to reject the Gospel are one in the same. He or she who has blasphemed the Holy Spirit has called Him a liar throughout and with his or her very life, right to the bitter end; he or she has made the final decision not to believe and close his or her mind to the truth of the Gospel. He or she has made the final decision not to trust His ultimate message of hope and salvation to mankind. God has made Himself known and all are without excuse (Romans 1:18-32).
If you are uncertain of what the Gospel (the good news) is, it is very simple: You are a sinner. Sin separates us from God. The deserved wage of sin is death (most importantly the second death, see Revelation 20). A wage must be paid; God is just, and therefore He cannot just sweep sin under the rug, so to speak, without paying the wage. Jesus became a man, who conceived of the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin, and lived a sinless life. Being sinless, he went to the cross and bore/paid for all of our sins; past present and future (all of your sins were future 2000 years ago when this happened). He was buried, and then on the 3rd day, He rose from the dead, thus ultimately conquering death once and for all. The only requirement from you is that you believe, as in fully trust in what He did; adding nothing of yourself (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once you do this, you have everlasting life that can never be lost (Ephesians 1:13, Romans 11:29, John 3:16, 6:40, 47, etc.). Church rituals and “sinner’s prayers” do nothing to save you. Many of them are fine, but we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; NOTHING else. Water baptism is good, and every believer should do it if they can, however it is an act of obedience (and is indeed a blessing) for those who have believed the Gospel and received the gift of salvation, not a means of obtaining salvation (Acts 8:36-38 [some translations erroneously omit verse 37], Luke 23:40-43).
Is striving to live a righteous life important? Indeed, it is, and the believer is rewarded for doing so, and misses out on many eternal blessings by not doing so (1 Corinthians 3:11-15), but trying to do so is meaningless and impossible without first believing the Gospel and receiving/being borne of the Holy Spirit (John 3, Ephesians 2:10, etc.) and being irrevocably saved. Trying to do so under your own power is repulsive to God (Isaiah 64:6), and does nothing to save you, or to keep you saved, for that matter. The Holy Spirit who indwells the believer gives us the power to please (and trust) God. Galatians 5, which is written to believers, starting in verse 16 provides excellent insight on this.
Unfortunately, there are many who preach a false gospel in supposedly “legitimate” churches all over the world that mixes works with grace, in terms of obtaining and maintaining salvation. These folks (yes, even elders, pastors, etc.) who die in this mentality without ever trusting in Christ alone for salvation are unfortunately guilty of the unpardonable/unforgivable sin, no matter how “good” they may have appeared to some. In terms of salvation, Christ plus nothing is everything and Christ plus something is nothing. Please click the button directly below this paragraph for more on this.
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