“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
(Matthew 12:31-32 ESV)
Today we come to a passage in the Bible that is often misunderstood. It covers what people call ‘the unpardonable sin”.
Notice that Jesus’ first word is therefore. This tells us that what He is about to say is related to what He has just said. He had just finished telling the Pharisees that it was by the Spirit of God that He cast out demons and that there were only two sources of supernatural power: God and Satan. The Pharisees had attributed Jesus’ power not to the Holy Spirit but to Satan.
So Jesus gives these men a very serious warning. He tells them that every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven. But there is an exception. Blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Likewise, anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man (a reference to Jesus) will be forgiven. But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Blasphemy is defined as “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God”. Every non-believer, even those of us who are now followers of Christ, were once blasphemers. The apostle Paul was a blasphemer [1 Timothy 1:13-14].
Even after we become children of God through faith we can commit blasphemy by having a thought that mars God’s character. For example, getting angry at God or accusing Him of going back on a promise.
But God is not unreasonable. A person who speaks against Christ out of ignorance, as Paul did and many non-believers do today, can be forgiven. Such people do not have the Holy Spirit of God living inside them and therefore cannot see the complete truth. It is through His Spirit that God reveals the truth about Jesus [John 16:13-14].
Therefore, no one who has the Holy Spirit can call Jesus cursed, which is what the Pharisees essentially did when they attributed Jesus’ power to Satan [Matthew 12:24]. Doing so is unforgivable. Committing this serious offense would seal a person’s eternal (the age to come) fate.
There are many Christians today who worry that they’ve committed the “unpardonable sin”. They haven’t. Anyone who would be concerned about such a thing has not committed it. If a person calls Jesus Christ “Lord” they do so by the power of the Holy Spirit and, hence, cannot have committed this sin [1 Corinthians 12:3].
Even a non-believer, which we all were at one point, cannot commit this sin because as we’ve seen such people, including Paul, did not have complete truth.
This sin was only committable during this point in history. It was applicable to those who witnessed Jesus’ divine power but attributed that power to Satan. They ignored the physical and logical evidence and therefore willfully chose to side with Satan [Matthew 12:25-30].
That was not a good thing to do.
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