Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Unpardonable Sin (Matthew 12:22-37)

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men" (Matt. 12:31).

Jesus makes one of the most sober warnings in Scripture when He warns the Pharisees to beware of committing the unpardonable sin—blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Jesus made this warning when the Pharisees had accused Jesus of healing by the spirit of Satan and not the Spirit of God. They did not question the truth and power of Jesus’ ability to heal—they questioned the source from which that power came. These teachers of the law who knew that miraculous powers came from God Himself, who knew that God’s chosen One would testify to His authority by such signs and wonders, refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, and instead, in essence, called Him an instrument of the devil.

Many people often wonder whether they could be guilty of the unforgivable sin. The warning is difficult because it’s unclear what this sin is. Many in the church have sought to explain it, but there is no consensus. Some claim murder as the sin because it attacks the image of God. However, this cannot be in light of other passages where murderers have been forgiven. Others proclaim adultery the unforgivable sin because it breaks a sacred covenant before God. This also cannot be the case because the Bible clearly says adulterers will be forgiven, as in David’s case.

The most popular explanation comes from Augustine and has been championed by many Christians. He believed the unforgivable sin is a persevering and final posture of impenitence despite exposure to the Gospel and various means of God’s grace. This view, however, is not specific enough to do justice to the passage. First, the sin to which Jesus refers to is not unbelief but blasphemy—blasphemy not against Jesus but against the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit reveals the truth to men. If a person is convinced that the Gospel is true, yet says that Jesus Christ is a demonic, diabolical figure, that person has blasphemed the Holy Spirit. To commit the unforgivable sin, a person must be thoroughly convinced of the truth, but intractable in his verbal accusation that Christ is diabolical. The person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit in this way has no hope for forgiveness or eternal life in the blessed presence of God Almighty.

Why do you think this sin is so offensive to God that He would deem it unforgivable? If you’ve been concerned that you’ve committed this sin, has this lesson taken away that fear? Remember that concern for the state of your soul has been considered one sure sign that you have not committed this sin.