What is the unpardonable sin?
I hope and pray that none of you will be offended by what I am about to say. It is something that God has been laying very heavily upon my heart for the past few days. I have tried to ignore it, but it will not go away . . . Please feel free to contact me with any comments and questions you might have. But mostly, I desire for you to study into this subject a bit more on your own!
“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matt 12:31-32)
The unpardonable sin. We’ve all heard of it, we’ve all heard sermons preached on this topic, and we’ve all probably said to ourselves each and every time we hear about it or read about it, that it is the sin we certainly DON’T WANT to commit!!! But just what is this sin that cannot be forgiven? What does it mean to “blasphemy against the Spirit”? I have always been taught that this means a “willing away” of God’s Spirit — a purposeful choice to ignore our conscience, until the little voice of God’s Spirit becomes so faint we can no longer hear it. It’s a good definition, one that is supported by Paul in the book of Ephesians (Eph. 4:30-32) But I would like to suggest that perhaps there might be more to the unpardonable sin then this!
Over the past few weeks as I have read my Bible, God brought the word “blasphemy” to my attention every time it was mentioned. After about the 8th time (I’m a little slow sometimes!), I began to wonder just why God wanted me to pay close attention to the word “blasphemy”, and I began to puzzle on just what the word meant.
My first stop was Mr. Webster. His definition? “Words or actions showing a lack of respect for God or for anything considered sacred.” Next, I began to try and apply this definition to the word each time I found it in scripture. The Bible texts read something like this:
1) Luke 5:21: “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow (whose words show a lack of respect for God or anything considered sacred)? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
2) John 10:33: “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for (showing a lack of respect for God or anything considered sacred), because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
3) John 10:36: “Why then do you accuse me of (showing a lack of respect for God or anything considered sacred) because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”
Things were becoming a bit clearer at this point in regards to what the word “blasphemy” meant. But I continued to ponder just why God was bringing it to my attention. This is when I read Matt. 12:31. Now, suddenly, the word was no longer used only in connection with Jesus, but in connection with the Holy Spirit. Using my Webster definition, this text now read: “And so I tell you, every sin and (lack of respect for God or anything considered sacred) will be forgiven men, but the (lack of respect) against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”
This lead me to another question. How can one be disrespectful to the Holy Spirit? I mean, we are disrespectful to God when we take His name in vane, when we fail to trust Him, when we make fun of spiritual things, etc., but how can we be disrespectful to the Holy Spirit?
For my answers, I went back to the texts that described blasphemy in regards to Jesus. Let’s take a moment to look at the contexts behind some of the other references to blasphemy:
John 10:33: Jesus is asked if He is the Christ. He doesn’t directly answer their question, but instead rebukes them for having seen His miracles and still not believing. He is then accused of blasphemy. (See John 10:24-33).
Luke 5:21: A lame man is let down through the roof for Jesus to heal him. Instead of healing him, Jesus tells him that his sins are forgiven. The Jewish leaders then proceeded to accuse Jesus of blasphemy because they did not believe that He was the Christ. They did not believe that He was sent of God. They did not believe that He was able to forgive sins. (See Luke 5:17-26)
Matt. 26:65, Mark 14:63: Jesus is on trial for His life. He is accused of blasphemy because the Jewish leaders and the people did not believe that He was the Christ.
In each one of these cases, Jesus is accused of blasphemy. Yet, in all reality, because of their unbelief in 1) Jesus miracles; 2) Jesus ability to forgive sin; and 3)Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God, they were the ones guilty of blasphemy! They are the ones showing the disrespect!
Let’s get back to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. If we show disrespect to God by not believing in His miracles, in His ability to forgive sin, and in His claim to be God, then does it not stand that we blasphemy against the Holy Spirit when we refuse to believe in His miracles? When we deny His power? When we claim that what the works of the Spirit was done, instead, in the name of the devil?
“Now wait a minute,” you say. “You’re really going out on a limb now! Don’t you think you’ve taken this just a bit to far???”
Have I? Let’s look at what Jesus has to say on the subject. The story is recorded both in Matt. 12 and in Mark 3. In both accounts, Jesus is being criticized for casting out demons. In both accounts, it is said of Him that it is only “By the prince of demons [that] he is driving out demons.” (Mark 3:22) Jesus’ response? To tell the leaders that:
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?” (Matt 12:25-27). Then, in BOTH accounts, He proceeds to tell the people that all sins, even sins of blasphemy will be forgiven, but that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven!
What am I suggesting? I am suggesting that when we deny the power of the Holy Spirit, we are committing blasphemy! When we write off supernatural healings, prophetic utterances, the gift of tongues, etc. as coming from the devil, we are denying the power of the Holy Spirit. We are being disrespectful to the Holy Spirit. We are committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit!
There was a time in my life when I did not believe in modern day healings, in modern day prophets, in the gift of tongues, etc. The mere mention of miraculous manifestations in the name of Jesus made me very uncomfortable, to say the least. So often I remember saying things like this: “yes she was healed, but by WHAT spirit?” I had the same criticism for the gift of tongues. If it wasn’t manifested in a known world language, then it was of the devil. And I also didn’t believe in modern day prophets and prophecies.
I know I am not alone in my reactions. Each of you has either said the same things yourselves, or you have heard other Christians say the same thing. But think about it: In so saying, are we not denying the power of the Holy Spirit? Are we not being disrespectful to the Holy Spirit?. Are we not committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Now, please don’t misinterpret what I am saying. The Bible tells us to put any and all spirits to the test! 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The Bible is even very clear on HOW the spirits are to be tested (which is material for yet another devotional!) But in telling us to test the spirits, the Bible does NOT tell us to discount them without putting them to the test! Simply stating that a supernatural manifestations in healing, prophecy, tongues, deliverance, etc. is all from the devil, my friends, if you have not personally studied into the subject and put the miracle doer to the test, is exactly what the Jewish leaders were accusing Jesus of when Jesus was prompted to say that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would NOT be forgiven!
My friends, we cannot be too careful when we deal with the supernatural, but neither can we deny the power of God’s Spirit as it is manifested in modern-day healings, prophecy, and other Spiritual gifts. For in so doing, we are committing the unpardonable sin!
Think about it!
“but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matt 12:32)
I have never been able to grasp some Christian’s confusion in being able to understand the scripture regarding the unforgivable sin.
When I was a new to the faith, a babe in Christ, I heard someone make a reference to it. When I asked what was being talked about, I was told that there is a sin so deadly that it can doom our souls to hell. It is the act of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I was also told that there is a lot of controversy about what that means.
I couldn’t wait to get my new concordance and my Bible with tabs so I could find my way to the chapters and verses I needed to understand this supposedly mysterious concept. Since I was thirty years old by the time I ever held a Bible in my hands, I sure didn’t know the order of the books in it but I also had not been brainwashed by years of preaching and teaching of doctrines taught by different denominations. My heart now belonged to Christ and my mind was a new page for God to write upon.
I began to read Matt 12:30-32. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come.
So we are told that we may speak against Jesus, the Son of Man and be forgiven. Saying such blasphemous things as that Jesus is not the Savior or even that he is a devil, a liar, or a sorcerer will be forgiven. All who spoke against him and even caused his death on the cross may have been forgiven, but those who speak against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. We are told that that warning applies to those in the age when the Word was being written or those in the age to come.
Now let us discover what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit. The description of the Spirit coming among us is found in Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
They or them, as is being referred to are the eleven Apostles, since Judas was already dead. The Holy Spirit entered the house in the form of the sound of high wind and the appearance of tongues of fire. The Spirit entered the apostles and caused them to begin to speak in language not known to them. The Bible goes on to explain that although the Apostles were Galileans and spoke and understood that language, all the foreigners who heard them understood what they were saying as if it was being said in their own native tongue.
The apostle Peter then further explained the work of the Holy Spirit in verse 17. “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.” He was quoting the prophet Joel in the old testament.
So we have seen straight from the pages of the Word of God that the essence of the Holy Spirit is to impart the gifts of tongues and prophesy, in that age and the age to come, the last days. Most Bible believing Christians agree that we are in that troubled time, the last days before our Lord returns. At any rate, we have just seen in his Word that we are either in the age when the spirit was given to us or we are in the next and last age. The only people he will not forgive and take with him to heaven, in bodily or spiritual form, when he returns for us, are those who have spoken against the essence of who and what the Holy Spirit is.
How plain must God speak to us? But still, I have heard many Bible believers and teachers say that speaking in tongues or speaking a word of prophecy is “of the Devil”. My spirit freezes with pain when ever I hear anyone say such a thing. I know when I hear those word that I am hearing the voice of their own doom. How hard it it to understand that small section of the Bible? Nothing can be taken out of context as it is all there in only a few verses that are obviously connected.
Please, I implore you, to make this teaching the first thing a new Christian hears so that they will not seal their own doom through ignorance of the word of God concerning the very essence of Him, His Holy Spirit. Make sure your children are taught this truth so that they, too, may see the kingdom of God because He warns us further, again in Matthew, verses 36 and 37. ” But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.” Now we know which words will condemn us.
All references are from the New International Bible.
The unpardonable sin is not accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The following scriptures point to this.
Matthew 12:31 says……… 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.
Mark 3:29 says……..But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
John 3:18 says…….He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Acts 4:12 says…….Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
As you read these verses for yourself, bear in mind part of the purpose of Jesus Christ’s ministry was to directly confront darkness with the light of truth in a public battle of pure good verses pure evil. The only being in the universe that is more powerful than the Evil One, is God. He is the only one with enough power to bind Satan himself and forcibly dispossess him.
The Pharisees had long observed the sinless Jesus Christ. They observed him doing undeniable powerful miracles that were clear evidence of power supplied by God. These miracles were freely given in pure kindness and love to release people from obvious suffering of horrible evil. However, the Pharisees had so firmly set their hearts against accepting Jesus as the Messiah that they rejected the obvious truth before them and perversely twisted it to influence the crowds. They publicly credited the most evil being in the universe with these Godly miracles. In other words, they called the precious and Holy Spirit of God, the degrading unclean spirit of Satan. They charged Jesus Christ with sorcery; one who is in league with Satan. These charges are not only appalling and extremely serious, but clearly absurd. THIS is the unpardonable sin. MAY ALL BE BLESSED.
The unpardonable sin is refusal of the wooing of the Holy Spirit of God. Never saying yes, to God. The sacrifice of His Holy Blood will cover every imaginable sin. It is opaque…but He will not make us say yes, and even when we say “No!” He just goes back to square one and begins to woo us all over again. How can you ever beat a love like that?
Joan Clifton Costner
(I have used Capital letters for emphasis)
Jesus declares what it is: “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST SHALL NOT BE FORGIVEN UNTO MEN…whosoever speaketh AGAINST the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matt. 12: 31-34
Jesus made this statement because the Pharisees declared that He was casting out devils by the prince of devils – Beelzebub. He let them know that they were in danger of “Blaspheming the Holy Ghost” by giving CREDIT to the devil for what the Power of the Holy Ghost was doing. The word blaspheme means: to vilify, defame, speak evil of, to revile; to blacken the character of.
Isaiah says, “Woe unto those who call evil good, and good evil”. (Ish.5: 20) This comes from a mind that is “confused” (mixed up) about the powers of “good” and “evil”. These 2 powers are directly contrary to one another as blackest darkness is to bright light.
By saying to them: “if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself”- Jesus is telling us that it is not possible for Satan, our adversary to do good. He went on to say that if Satan would cast out Satan, then his kingdom (rule) would be divided against itself.
During a Sabbath Lesson Study, a woman sat nearby and put out a question to the audience. She said, “how do we know when someone is healed, if the Lord healed them, or Satan healed them ?” She was confused about the “character” of these 2 powers. Out of her mouth came forth a “mixed fruit”. By not seeing that healing – a totally good thing – could only be attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit. By subjecting the mind to the Scripture, which is able to make us Wise, the confusion is cleared up, and we are able to “see clearly” what Jesus is saying. Praise God for the “Truth” that sets us free!
IN Christ’s Love, Ginny
Mar 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Mar 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
12:31Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
12:32Whoever 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 one to come.
OK, this is obviously the unforgivable sin, but what does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost? Also did not the sacrifice of Christ atone for the sins of the whole of mankind from start to finish?
Luk 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Luk 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Act 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand [to be] a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Act 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee
God would not ask this of a servant and not do it Himself. These verses hold the clue. Forgiveness comes only after repentance. If there is no repentance there can be no forgiveness.
It is the work of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) to rebuke us and bring us to repentance.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
All three of the members of the Godhead have a role to play in our justification. The Father offers forgiveness; The Son paid the price of our sins so that if we repent we will have forgiveness; The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and leads us to repentance. Therefore to fail to repent is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness cannot come without repentance.
There are many examples in the bible of people who have so resisted the Holy Spirit that they have reached the stage where the Spirit has abandoned trying to convict them because their conscience is so dull that He can no longer get through to them; they have reached the stage of unforgivable sin. Here are some examples you can look up.
# SIN AGAINST Isaiah 63:10; Matthew 12:31,32; Mark 3:29; Luke 2:10; 12:10; Acts 5:3,9; 7:51; 8:18-22; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 10:29; 1 John 5:16
# WITHDRAWN FROM INCORRIGIBLE SINNERS Genesis 6:3; Deuteronomy 32:30; Psalms 51:11; Proverbs 1:24-28; Jeremiah 7:29; Hosea 4:17,18; 5:6; 9:12; Matthew 15:14; Luke 13:7; Romans 1:24,26,28
Should any reader think they have committed this unforgivable sin, it is not too late while you live to cry out to God in repentance. Should you wish to do this answer ‘The Savior’s Call’ in this newsletter
I think this is probably one of the more difficult passages in Scripture to understand, and it took a lot of prayer for this passage to become clearer to me. I think the “unpardonable sin” is refusal to repent after knowing Who Jesus is.
Mark 3:28 “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”
Here, Jesus was being confronted by some religious leaders who accused Jesus of committing evil acts and being a blasphemer, even though they had seen that He was the Messiah through His actions. When we become Christians, all of our sins are forgiven. However, how can our sin of unbelief be forgiven if we don’t accept Jesus’ gift of forgiveness?
I think another passage in Scripture, too, reinforces the belief that the unforgivable sin is refusal to accept Jesus after knowing Who He is. From the epistle to the Hebrews: 10:26 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (NIV)
If you have not yet accepted Christ into your life, or have fallen away from Him, I invite you to answer the Savior’s Call.
In His love from your sister in Christ,
I don’t know about being unpardonable or not but I believe it says in the Bible “one who curses against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven”. I guess its similar to” Thou shall not use the Lord’s name in vain”.