Have you ever wondered if you have committed that one unpardonable sin the Bible talks about? A lot of people spend a lot of time really concerned about this, so it may do them good to listen in as I talk about why I think it’s unlikely they have committed it.
I think every pastor, probably every Christian, at one time or another, is asked about the unpardonable sin. We read in scripture about one sin that can not, will not be forgiven. I think probably every one wonders at some time, have I committed that sin? Have I broken God’s law in that way so that I can not be forgiven? A lot of people spend a lot of time really concerned about this, racked with guilt, racked with worry. Today I want to address the unpardonable sin and say why I don’t think you’ve committed it.
There’s a couple of different places in the Bible where we hear about an unpardonable sin. Matthew chapter 3, verse 29 and Matthew 12, verse 31. I’ll read those to you, Matthew 12, 31, here’s Jesus, “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Then Mark 3, 29, very similar, “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin.” That sounds terrifying, really, it is terrifying. It’s good for us to think about, what is this sin and is it something we ought to be concerned about?
I’ve done a lot of research on this, done a lot of reading on it, here’s the consensus. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit involves ascribing the work of the Holy Spirit, accomplished through Jesus Christ to Satan. You get that? It’s saying, the Holy Spirit has done this work, He’s done it through Jesus Christ, yet I’m saying it was Satan who did all of that work. So, to commit that sin, you have to know that Jesus Christ is God and then despite that, ascribe the Spirit’s work through him to the devil. That is a serious, serious offense.
So, Rick Phillips, a wonderful commentator, here’s what he says. There is no sin so great that the precious blood of the Son of God of infinite value before God is not sufficient to pay for it. The issue is that forgiveness comes only to those who believe on the Lord Jesus. And someone who knows who Jesus is, who realizes that His work is by the Holy Spirit, and yet so refuses to believe that he actually ascribes the Spirit’s work to the devil can not possibly be saved. Why? Because that person is not just ignorant, but they willfully, knowingly reject Jesus as Messiah, as proved by the Holy Spirit. You see where he’s going? So this passage describes not someone who in a fit of anger, a temptation commits blasphemy, but someone who refuses to believe on Jesus Christ as the Messiah even when he recognizes the Holy Spirit at work.
Now, if you’re concerned that you’ve committed that sin, you’re racked with worry, this is what you need to think about. Have you done that? Have you fulfilled those requirements, right? Probably, you have not. Most people would say that they’ve said something, they’ve denied the Holy Spirit. Some people, it’s simply an act they’ve committed or a book they’ve read. That’s not what it’s speaking about here. It’s not so much that there’s a particular sin out there that can not be forgiven. That’s not the main concern here as much as, there comes a point where the Holy Spirit no longer convicts a person of sin and by convicting them of sin that drives them toward repentance, right. The Bible is very clear, if you repent of a sin, you will be forgiven. But people who commit this sin, they’re not concerned about it. They’re not seeking forgiveness. They’re not in the least bit repentant. Have you broken this sin? Well, not if you’re feeling guilt, not if you’re feeling remorse, not if you’re taking that sin to Jesus Christ and asking for His forgiveness.
Here’s what John Piper says. The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an act of resistance which belittles the Holy Spirit so grievously that He withdraws forever with His convicting power so that we’re never able to repent and be forgiven.
Have you committed a sin? Of course, you have. Do you feel the guilt, the sorrow, the shame for that sin? Good. Then let that sorrow, that sin, that shame, let that drive you to Jesus Christ. Look to Him, confess that sin and you will receive His forgiveness. If you’re concerned for your soul, if you’re concerned that perhaps you’ve violated this. If you’re feeling that sorrow in your soul, you haven’t committed this sin. Repent. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Take your eyes off yourself, elevate your gaze to Him, you are forgiven.