What is the unforgivable sin? We’ve taught that when a person refuses to believe, it is the unforgivable sin. True! How can one be forgiven if refusing to be forgiven or to even consider the need for it?
Some have spoken of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. True again; same thing:
Matthew 12:30-33 MKJV
(30) The one who is not with Me is against Me, and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.
(31) Therefore I say to you, All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men.
(32) And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come.
(33) Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.
When one takes a violent stand against the Spirit of God and Truth, does that attitude not pre-empt any opportunity of hearing and believing Saving Truth? How does it not?
While speaking to a fellow recently, I was given how one could demonstrate an unforgivable sin. We know by the Scriptures that Jesus Christ died and paid for all sin for all men, past, present, and future. This would necessarily mean that all sin is forgiven. At the cross, the Lord’s dying words were, “Forgive them, Father, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” We know the Father hears His Son’s prayer – He says so:
“Then they took away the stone where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You hear Me always, but because of the people who stand by I said it, so that they may believe that You have sent Me” (John 11:41-42 MKJV).
It’s argued that if people didn’t know what they were doing, then it wasn’t sin, after all. However, why would Jesus ask for forgiveness if there was nothing to forgive? And isn’t the murder of an innocent victim a crime against God’s Law? Or perhaps there are other things besides sin that can and must be forgiven, so that one can say that while all sin was atoned for, Jesus also asked that the act by the Jewish priesthood under God’s Sovereignty of performing the necessary sacrifice of the Lamb of God for the atonement of all sin was not a sin in itself, yet needed forgiving because of its horribly unpleasant nature.
Acts 2:22-23 MKJV
(22) Men, Israelites, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by powerful works, and wonders and miracles, which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know,
(23) this One given to you by the before-determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken and by lawless hands, crucifying Him, you put Him to death;
“Lawless hands?” Does that mean, contrary to the Law of God, or simply outside the Law of God?
Paul wrote: “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Let it not be said! But I did not know sin except through the Law. For also I did not know lust except the Law said, You shall not lust. But sin, taking occasion by the Commandment, worked in me all kinds of lust. For apart from Law sin was dead” (Romans 7:7-8 MKJV).
So, does sin come only by the Knowledge of the Law? Peter said the people killed the Christ in ignorance, not knowing what they were doing:
Acts 3:14-18 MKJV
(14) But you denied the Holy and Just One and desired a murderer to be given to you.
(15) And you killed the Prince of Life, Whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
(16) And His Name, through faith in His Name, has made this man strong, this one whom you see and know, His Name made firm. And the faith which came through Him has given him this perfect soundness before you.
(17) And now, brothers, I know that you did it through ignorance, as also your rulers did.
(18) But those things which God before had shown by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He fulfilled in this manner.
Then Peter says: “Therefore repent and convert so that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 MKJV).
So, there’s both known and unknown sin to be repented of and forgiven, from what these Scriptures declare. How then can there be sin that can’t be, or isn’t, forgiven? What can that unforgivable sin possibly be, or what can it be likened to?
Here’s the answer: I have a debt to pay but nothing to pay it. But someone freely places the needed amount in my bank account to cover that debt. At this point, my debt is as good as paid, but I need to follow through – that is, believe and repent. All I need to do is withdraw that money that is now there for me and put it against my debt.
No, we’re not talking “greasy grace” people, and repentance isn’t “works,” presuming virtue on our part. Repentance is the command of God to be obeyed:
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2 MKJV).
“And they went out and proclaimed that men should repent” (Mark 6:12 MKJV).
For those “Jesus’ Words Only,” people, Jesus declared:
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17 MKJV).
“I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3 MKJV).
However, let’s say I don’t avail myself of that wonderful deposit for whatever reason. It could be because I don’t believe that money is there; it could be because I don’t care to pay that debt off. Whatever the reason, that debt stands ready to be paid. I can pay it, but I don’t take advantage of the gift, and so that debt remains unpaid.
That’s how Jesus could speak of an unforgivable sin. John also mentions it:
“If anyone sees his brother sin a sin not to death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for those that do not sin to death. There is a sin to death, I do not say that he shall pray for it” (1 John 5:16 MKJV).
My debt is potentially covered by some benefactor but if I refuse to honor my debt with that gift, my creditor is not paid, and the debt still remains and is mine. That is the unforgivable sin.
Below is some additional correspondence on the matter of the unforgivable sin.
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2016 10:02 AM
To: The Path of Truth
Subject: Inexcusable sin
I want to ask a question of you, that of the inexcusable sin?
Hernan, you are surely referring to this Scripture:
“Therefore I say to you, All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come.” (Mathew 12:31-32 MKJV)
That sin (blasphemy) refers specifically to attributing the work of God to Satan, in spite of contrary evidence. Jesus had given enough evidence He was from God, but men, mainly the religious, thought He was working by Satan’s power. Why? Because they didn’t believe Him. So, they were subject to judgment if they remained in that unbelief, blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.
If a person is in unbelief, he/she cannot be forgiven. It is a state of being, of direct and willful rebellion against God. If that person ever believes and repents, by the Lord’s grace, forgiveness is granted. Look at the case of the Apostle Paul, for example. He says he was a blasphemer and made others blaspheme, not believing in Jesus Christ. He could not be forgiven as long as he was in that state, until the Lord intervened in his life. Here’s what he said:
“And I punished them often in every synagogue; I compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly furious against them, I persecuted them even to the outside cities.” (Acts 26:11 MKJV)
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who strengthened me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry– the one who before was a blasphemer and a persecutor and insolent. But I obtained mercy, because being ignorant, I did it in unbelief…” (1 Timothy 1:12-14 MKJV).
Was the apostle Paul (formerly Saul) forgiven his blasphemy? You bet he was! And the Lord had other plans with Saul.
And we have this other Scripture:
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins…” (Hebrews 10:26 MKJV)
Here again we’re talking about those who choose to sin deliberately even after receiving the Truth, knowing better now. That’s a token of unbelief, the root of all sins. As long as a person continues in that state, he cannot be forgiven in this life or in any other.
Now, the question is, “Can the Lord deal with the unforgivable sin? Or is He limited?”
If He cannot deal with a certain sin ever, He is limited, therefore not Almighty. Since we know that’s not true, we know the Lord has a plan, a time, and a way to deal with all sins of men, now or later on. Before that, His wrath is over sinners, willful or otherwise.
We also have an example of when Paul talked about some blasphemers:
“Among these are Hymeneus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan so that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:20 MKJV).
We see those men were blasphemers. Paul, led by the Lord, delivered them to Satan, so they would learn not to blaspheme. Why would they need to learn that, if it was to no useful end? The idea here is they would learn, and therefore, stop blaspheming, thus obtaining mercy and forgiveness from the Lord, in His time.
And there is Paul’s warning to believers, those having already been grafted into the Lord by faith:
Romans 11:21-24 MKJV
(21) For if God did not spare the natural branches, fear lest He also may not spare you either!
(22) Behold then the kindness, and the severity of God; on those having fallen, severity; but on you, kindness, if you continue in the kindness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
(23) And those also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in. For God is able to graft them in again.
(24) For if you were cut out of the natural wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more these being according to nature will be grafted into their own olive-tree?
A website visitor, Craig, asked about the unforgivable sin:
I recently came across your web site and have found myself drawn back to it time and again. I have read many of the teachings so far with great interest. I have many questions I would like to ask you. Let me start with one concerning ultimate reconciliation.
You have laid out a very convincing argument, and I want to believe it is so. However, there is one passage of scripture which I find particularly troubling concerning this matter:
(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.
(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.
Also, what is the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost? And why is there no forgiveness for it? This is something I have never clearly understood.
Thank you for time and consideration.
There’s no doubt Christ died for all and not just a few. There’s no doubt that when He sets out to do something, He, being God, can’t fail. There’s no doubt that in the fullness of times, we will all see and experience the fruits of His doings.
Concerning your question on Matthew 12:31-32, the passage isn’t a difficult one to understand, provided we make no assumptions based on preconceived notions. I just wrote this to another:
“Not believing the Lord and what He has told you edges toward that sin called ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.’ Its essence is unbelief. In unbelief, we can never be forgiven, whether in this world/age or the one to come. Without faith, the Scripture says, it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Unbelief is unbelief and it avails nothing anywhere. Indeed, concerning the Kingdom of God, it stops you cold. And if you deliberately decide to not believe Him, it becomes that sin, the unpardonable one, that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
But contrary to popular opinion in nominal Christian circles, one can repent of this sin, by God’s grace. Repenting, that one will be forgiven. It isn’t as though one can never cease that sin or never be forgiven for it.”
Craig, deliberate unbelief is the essence of sin. Choosing sin, there is no forgiveness, nor can there ever be, whether here or hereafter. It is essentially calling God a liar, the opposite of What or Who He is – Truth. When the religious called Jesus’ works satanic, they were attributing His good works to evil-doers, calling Him a deceiver and refusing to honor Him for Who He is.
But is there no hope for blasphemers? You’ll recall that Paul the apostle caused people to blaspheme:
“And I punished them often in every synagogue; I compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly furious against them, I persecuted them even to the outside cities” (Acts 26:11 MKJV).
Paul confessed to being a blasphemer himself:
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who strengthened me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry– the one who before was a blasphemer and a persecutor and insolent. But I obtained mercy, because being ignorant, I did it in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14 MKJV).
Paul wasn’t just blaspheming against Christians, but also against the One Who dwelt in them, which was what made them saints (Christians). As Jesus asked Saul on the Damascus road, “Why do you persecute Me?” (Acts 9:4). Jesus IS the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28). If persecuting Him isn’t blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, what is? Read Jesus Christ Is God.
If Paul was blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, against the Spirit of Christ, it is obvious there is forgiveness for that sin, seeing he was forgiven. There’s no indication that there remained any sin unforgiven with Paul. Therefore, it isn’t as though the sin continues forever and ever. If that were so, we would have to say that man’s unbelief is greater than God’s grace and power to overcome it.
Romans 5:17-21 MKJV
(17) For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ.)
(18) Therefore as by one offense sentence came on all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came to all men to justification of life.
(19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.
(20) But the Law entered so that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,
(21) so that as sin has reigned to death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Craig, if God can’t overcome the gravest of sins He isn’t omnipotent, and none of us has any hope of redemption. Therefore, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not that omnipotent sin that God is powerless to overcome. His grace is greater.
Yes, it is the unforgivable sin, but then, God removes or overcomes it so that blasphemers can be forgiven and redeemed.
Remember, nothing is forever but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega.
June 14, 2018
On October 21 we attended the Lewis and Clark Library board meeting to witness the decision of the board on The Joy of Gay Sex. To no one’s surprise, the board unanimously approved the review committee’s and director’s decision to retain this vile book in the library’s active collection.
Lisa Marshall's Letter to the Editor with All Comments
One day this past February, Paul perused the “New” bookshelf at the Lewis & Clark Public Library in Helena, Montana, and he saw The Joy of Gay Sex. Taking a glance at its contents led to a formal request to remove the book from the library and public hearings over, “Does such a book belong in the public library?”