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The Unpardonable Sin

Today we are tackling an issue that Christians have struggled with and, at times, misinterpreted for a long time—what is the unforgivable sin that Jesus mentions in Matthew 12:31-32 as the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Let’s work our way through this controversial passage and attempt to discover what the unforgivable sin is.

“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.”

The context surrounding these verses helps us to understand the dynamics at play: Jesus heals a blind and mute man (v.22), the multitudes were amazed saying, “Could this be the Son of David?” (v.23), the Pharisees, however, accuse Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons (v.24), and Jesus—knowing their thoughts—gives a strong rebuke to the Pharisees stating that the kingdom of God has come upon them because He is casting out demons by the Spirit of God, not by Beelzebub (v.25-30). Interestingly, the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit in the healing of the blind and mute man through Jesus led the crowds to ponder an important question about Jesus as the Son of David. But notice the Pharisees reaction of unbelief and blaspheme is completely opposite of the crowd’s “amazement.” With the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work
before them all they could do was to accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. Calling the clear supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (miraculous healing of the blind and mute man) the activity of Satan is at the heart of the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit.

What makes the unforgivable blaspheme in Matthew 12:31-32 different than other blasphemes? The answer comes from the designation that the Lord gives to Himself—the Son of Man—describing the Lord’s humanity. A person’s perception may not allow him to see more than the Lord’s humanity if he misjudges Him at a human level. John MacArthur says it well, “when a
person rejects Christ with less than full exposure to the evidence of His deity, he may yet be forgiven of that sin if, after gaining fuller light, he believes.” But, when someone—by persistent and determined hardness of heart, refuses to believe in Jesus Christ despite all the evidence necessary in the Spirit’s activity to a complete understanding—they have followed the pathway
to the unforgivable sin in the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees highlight what it looks like for someone to commit the unforgiveable sin—they saw the working of the Holy Spirit through Jesus but willfully refused to accept the revelation of God—even beyond rejection—they attributed the power of Jesus displayed in healing to Satan.

Can a believer in Jesus Christ commit the unforgivable sin? The answer is a resounding “no!” My brother and sister in Christ, once you have placed your faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior you are His child! ALL your sins have been forgiven because of the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross! Oh yes, at times we might FEEL like we are distant from our Father, but the truth is that we are His beloved children in Christ. His love is set upon us, His life is inside of us, His grace covers us, and His purpose drives us!

Walking in grace, Pastor George
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