Friday August 25, 2006
What is the Unpardonable Sin?
You cannot commit an unpardonable sin. I receive many letters from people who believe that they have, because they feel guilt over adultery, murder, doubt, or some other wrong. But the one sin Jesus said would not be forgiven was unique to His time on earth.
The Pharisees had witnessed the power with which Jesus healed and performed other miracles. They’d also heard Him speak with authority befitting the Messiah. But these religious leaders were less concerned about truth than about the threat to their supremacy. They tried to undermine Jesus’ ministry by accusing Him of working in Satan’s power.
Jesus challenged the Pharisees’ blasphemy: “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…” (v. 32). The Pharisees’ defiant rejection of the Holy Spirit’s work and power was the unforgivable sin. Their biblical knowledge along with the fact that they’d personally witnessed the Messiah in action put them in a unique position that can never be duplicated.
Many saints, including the apostle Paul, rejected spiritual things before coming to faith, and God mercifully forgives ignorance. But no one today can 1) claim to have seen Jesus in the flesh, and 2) label His power as demonic. The rebellious irreverence of Jesus’ contemporaries was the unpardonable offense.
People can reject the Holy Spirit and refuse the forgiveness Jesus offers to all mankind, but no unpardonable sin exists today. Every offense that can be committed is covered by Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
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