Did you know that the Bible talks about a sin that God can never forgive? Throughout the centuries since the New Testament was written, millions of people have lived in fear that they may have committed it. Is it really true? Is there something that God is unable to forgive?
The Bible says in Matthew 12:31 – “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven unto men”. So, it turns out there really is a sin that can't be forgiven, and it's blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
That raises a really important question, just what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? In order to understand what the sin against the Holy Spirit is, it's important that we understand exactly what the role of the Holy Spirit is. In John 16:8, referring to the Holy Spirit, the Bible says, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Holy Spirit works as a kind of "conscience" for the whole world.
What happens when you decide not to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit? What happens when you feel the pang of guilt and you know the right thing to do, but you deliberately choose against it? Many theologians teach that this is when people actually step into the territory of the unforgivable sin. They refer to it as grieving the Holy Spirit.
I will agree that it is a serious issue when we tune out the Holy Spirit, but is it unforgivable? I have to say NO! As a matter of fact it is not grieving the Holy Spirit; at least that is not what is being talked about in Ephesians, the only place that it is mentioned. Ephesians 4:30-32 says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”.
According to the Bible it is bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and malice that grieves the Holy Spirit along with a lack of kindness and forgiveness; although I am quite sure that He is also saddened when we tune him out.
How can I be sure that grieving the Holy Spirit is not the unpardonable sin? Matthew 12:31 reads, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”.
This is a strange verse. There are two facts separated by a “but”. Fact number one is, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men”. Fact number two is, “the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”.
Notice that EVERY SIN will be forgiven. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Now, you might have noticed that there were no exclusions in that verse. It says that if we confess our sins, Jesus will both forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and there are no "ifs", “ands”, "buts", or "maybes" attached to that promise.
Is there a sin that God cannot forgive? The answer is yes, and the sin that God can't forgive is the sin you don't repent of. If there is no sin that God won’t forgive if we confess it, then what was Jesus talking about there in Matthew 12?
We need to look at the whole chapter to see why he made such a statement. There are several incidents that happened before Jesus made the statement that blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Incident number one; the disciples pick and eat grain on the Sabbath and the Pharisees disapprove. Incident number two; Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and the Pharisees disapprove. Incident number three; Jesus heals a blind deaf man and the Pharisees say it was through Satan’s power.
Do you see a pattern? There is a dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees. All of these incidents bring Jesus to speak the following words to the Pharisees. “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”. They weren't a sermon that he was giving to everyone, but they were a conversation he was having with the Pharisees.
Why was Jesus talking to the Pharisees about something that was unforgivable? Earlier we decided that there is a sin that God cannot forgive, and it is the sin you don't repent of. Why would the Pharisees not repent of a sin? They were extremely picky about keeping the law. The reason that they would not repent is because they couldn't see that they were doing anything wrong.
The unforgivable sin is the one that isn't confessed, but there are two very different reasons for not confessing. The first reason is because you have so tuned out the Holy Spirit that you can’t see sin. The second reason is because you are so sure you are doing right that you don’t see your sin.
There is no sin that you can commit that is unforgivable if you confess. Remember 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
In Revelation 3;20, 21 Jesus makes this promise. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Jesus never stops knocking. No matter what you have done in your life, He is standing at the door and knocking. Will you open the door?
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled The Little Things - Devotionals from a small town, using articles from the column. I published the second book in the Devotionals from a small town series, titled In the Fog, in December 2017.