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And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Mathew 12:31-32 NIV)
Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:28-29 NIV)
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10 NIV)
Today, we want to look at one of the sayings of Jesus. This saying is mentioned in three Gospels. It is found in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
This saying is SHOCKING. God is a merciful God. He is compassionate and loving. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19 NIV). God is a forgiving God but this sin he will not forgive.
This saying is DISTURBING. This is also one of the most solemn warnings that Jesus ever uttered. It is one of the most sobering statements in all the Bible. Many struggle with this verse. This verse scares people. It has caused psychological trauma to many people, especially those with an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
People have been tortured by these words. Many conclude that they are hopelessly doomed to hell and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. Their fate is sealed. They have no hope. They cannot be saved.
This saying is CONTROVERSIAL. It is one of the most controversial things Jesus ever said. It is one of the hard sayings of Jesus. Since it is hard to understand, there are many different opinions on it.
This raises all kinds of questions and people answer them differently. What is this sin that Jesus talks about? How is it committed? What is so bad about it? Why is it unforgiveable? Can it be committed today? Can a Christian commit this sin? Have we ever committed this sin?
Today, we want to look this saying. We want to start by looking at the context. The biggest mistake that people make today is that they read this saying by itself outside of its contest. Context is key. What is the context of the passage?
Jesus made this statement after He performed an incredible miracle. Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see (Matthew 12:22 NIV).
It begins with a man who has a physical disability. He has a medical condition. He was the biblical Hellen Keller. Hellen Keller could talk but she could not see or hear. This man could hear but he could not see or talk. He also had a demon. Jesus healed him.
There were two completely different reactions to this healing. The people saw it and were amazed. They thought Jesus might be the Messiah. The Jews believed that this was something only the Messiah when he comes would be able to do. The Jewish leaders had a different reaction. They said that Jesus did this miracle only by the power of Satan. Both groups believed in three things. They agreed on three things.
First, they agreed that the man was sick and is now better. They did not say that the man was faking an illness.
Second, they agreed that the healing was completely supernatural. It is one thing to heal a man who was blind. That would be incredible enough but Jesus healed a man who was couldn’t see, couldn’t talk and was demon-possessed. He did it instantaneously, not over a period of time. He was not healed by natural medicine.
Third, they also agreed that Jesus was responsible for the healing. The man got better because of what Jesus did to him.
The disagreement was whether the healing came from God or from Satan. Jesus answered the Pharisees with logic. If He cast the demon out of the man in the power of Satan, then Satan would be fighting Satan. Satan would be doing God’s work by casting out demons. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
He also gave a serious warning. There is a lot of bad teaching on the topic of the unpardonable sin in the church today. There is a lot of misunderstanding about this topic. We want to look at seven myths about the unpardonable sin.
Seven Myths about the Unpardonable Sin
Myth One – This sin is unforgiveable because it is so bad
There is one sin that God will never forgive. That is where people get confused. It is a sin that God will never forgive, but NOT because it is too bad to forgive. It is not unforgiveable because it is too monstrous and barbaric for God to ever forgive it. Many horrible sins can be forgiven and have been forgiven.
Religious sins can be forgiven. Blasphemy can be forgiven. Idolatry can be forgiven. You can blaspheme God and be forgiven. In fact, the Apostle Paul said that he used to be a blasphemer (I Timothy 1:13). He persecuted the church and he was forgiven.
Sexual sins can be forgiven. Adultery can be forgiven (John 8) and so can homosexuality (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The unforgiveable sin is not adultery or homosexuality. It is not rape, incest or child abuse. The worst sexual sins and perversions CAN be forgiven.
Homicides can be forgiven. Murder is not the unpardonable sin, contrary to what the Mormon Church teaches. Abortion is not the unpardonable sin. Abortion and murder can be forgiven. David committed murder and he was forgiven (Psalm 32:1-2). Even mass murder is not the unpardonable sin. Serial killers can get saved. In fact, some have, such as the Son of Sam (David Berkowitz).
Not only can murder be forgiven; the worst murder ever committed on the planet can be forgiven. Nailing the incarnate Son of God to the cross could be forgiven. The Apostle Peter preached to some people who were responsible for the death of their Messiah and he did not say that they could not be forgiven. Peter did not say that they had committed the unpardonable sin.
This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge and YOU, with the help of wicked men, PUT HIM TO DEATH by nailing him to the cross. (Acts 2:23 NIV)
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37 NIV)
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38 NIV)
This sin has nothing to do with sex or murder. It has nothing to do with divorce. Some Baptists think that divorce is the unpardonable sin, but it is not. This sin has nothing to do with suicide. Many think it is the unpardonable sin, but it is not.
The assumption that most people have about the unpardonable sin is it was too bad to be forgiven. Many think it must be the worst sin on the planet, but they forget that the ones accused of this sin were the Pharisees.
The Pharisees were outwardly moral people. They were people who had a good reputation in the community. They were religious people and yet they were the ones who were in danger of committing this sin and standing under divine judgment in danger of Hell fire.
Myth Two – You have to say something really bad about the Holy Spirit to commit this sin
The truth is that you can commit this sin and NOT even mention the name of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees who committed this sin ironically did not even mention the Holy Spirit.
They did not go around cursing the Holy Spirit. They just slandered the WORK of the Holy Spirit. Apparently, it is possible to blaspheme the Holy Spirit without mentioning His name.
Myth Three – There is only one way to blaspheme the Holy Spirit
Many think that the only way to do it is to attribute the miracles of Jesus to Satan. This is a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, not a blasphemy of Jesus. Some blaspheme the PERSON of the Holy Spirit. Some blaspheme the WORDS and WORKS of the Holy Spirit.
Some blaspheme the Bible today. The prophets who wrote Scripture were carried along by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21). David wrote Scripture by the Holy Spirit (Mark 12:36). It is dangerous to slander the WORDS of the Spirit.
Many have blasphemed the Virgin Birth. The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35 NIV). Some profane people have read this in a sexual sense which slanders the incredible miracle of the Virgin Birth. It is also easy to refute biblically.
Some have blasphemed supernatural miracles have been done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some Christians are skeptical of modern-day miracles done today. It is one thing to deny that the supernatural gifts continue to the present day, as cessationists teach.
It is quite another thing to attribute every miracle in the charismatic movement to the Devil. To call every miracle and healing as demonically inspired is very dangerous, in light of this serious warning of Jesus.
Myth Four – You can commit this sin out of ignorance
Many are worried about something that they said out of ignorance in the past. The only example we have of this sin is of the Pharisees. They did not commit this sin out of ignorance.
They were not people who had an open mind and did not have enough evidence to make a decision. They witnessed Jesus heal the man. It happened right before their eyes.
The evidence was powerful. It was undeniable. The Pharisees had hard hearts. Their hearts were hard as a rock. They had all kinds of evidence in front of their eyes and they refused to accept it.
They were given a revelation about Jesus. They saw it. They understood it. They rejected it. They slandered it. Instead of saying it was from God, they said it was from Satan. They called it “evil” and “demonic.”
They did not just slander Jesus, they hated Him. They wanted to kill Him. They had a meeting on how they could kill Jesus. In the same chapter, we see the words, “But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might KILL Jesus” (Matthew 12:9 NIV)
What is shocking is that were Bible students. Apparently, you can study the Bible all day and still have a hard heart. You can be a pastor of a church and have a hard heart.
Some preachers are full of hatred. There is no sign in the Gospels that the Scribes and Pharisees who committed this sin wanted to repent or were trying to repent. They had no desire to come to Jesus.
The ones who said this ware not just anybody. These were the official Bible scholars of the day (the Scribes) who said this. These were the Jewish leaders.
This was the official rejection by the Jewish leaders of Jesus as the Messiah. They did not just reject Him and say that he was not the Messiah. They said that He was demon-possessed and performed His miracles by Satan himself
Myth Five – You can commit this sin by accident
A common concern among people is that they have committed the unpardonable sin by something that they have said in the past. This is not an unintentional or accidental slip of the tongue. It is intentional, deliberate and willful sin.
“Speaking against the Holy Spirit was not merely a sin of the tongue. It was a sin of the heart, expressed in words.” Jesus said, “out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 KJV). “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (NIV). Words are often a reflection of our thoughts. What we are thinking comes out in words. If we are angry or depressed on the inside.
This sin is not just saying the words. If that was the case, then every preacher who read Matthew 12 as the Scripture reading would be guilty of the same sin. It is saying the words intentionally as a reflection of an inward heart attitude.
What the Pharisees said was in their heart and it came out. An accidental slip of the tongue does not come out of the heart. When you say something accidentally or misspeak, it is unintentional. It is saying something that you do not mean to say.
Myth Six – This sin is unforgivable, even if you confess and repent of it
If a person were to commit the unpardonable sin and ask for forgiveness, would that person be saved? The answer is Yes. The problem is that the person who commits this sin will never ask for forgiveness.
As John Walvoord put it, the thought is not “that one seeking pardon will not find it, but rather that one who rejects the Holy Spirit will not seek pardon. It is the ultimate in unbelief.”
We like to tell people that they always have hope as long as they are alive. The Bible teaches that some do not have hope. The truth is that it is possible to get to a place where you CANNOT believe and where you CANNOT repent.
Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”39 For this reason they COULD NOT BELIEVE, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” (John 12:37-40 NIV).
It is IMPOSSIBLE for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV)
The Bible teaches that you can get to a point where repentance and faith is literally impossible.
This sin is unforgiveable because a person who commits this sin is INCAPABLE of repenting. Any sin can be forgiven with genuine repentance, but this sin makes one incapable of asking for a pardon.
It is scary to think that you can actually get to a point where your heart is so hard that you are unable to even ask for a pardon. No matter how much evidence you place before someone, that person will never believe. As Ryrie says, this sin “can never be forgiven, not because God withdraws His grace but because people withdraw themselves from all contact with God.”
The very fact that you want to repent proves that you have not committed it.
The Bible teaches if we con fess our sins, God will forgive us. “If we confess our sins, he is FAITHFUL and JUST and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 NIV)
The Bible teaches that Jesus does NOT turn anyone away who comes to Him in faith. He said so. Jesus said, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and WHOEVER comes to me I will NEVER drive away. (John 6:37 NIV).
Jesus does not drive some people away. This verse says that He does not drive anyone away. He does not turn anyone away. He receives them. He accepts them. He does not reject them. In fact, in Greek, it is a double negative (οὐ μή). That is used for emphasis. It means that He will never ever cast that person out.
Myth Seven – Sins against the Spirit are worse than sins against the Son
Why is blasphemy against God forgivable but not blasphemy against the Spirit? Why is blasphemy against the Son forgivable but not blasphemy against the Spirit?
People can blaspheme Jesus and call him a liar, a deceiver, a Sabbath breaker or a lunatic and still be forgiven. Why are crimes against the Spirit worse than crimes against the Son? Is the Spirit greater than the Son?
They are all equal members of the Trinity. The Spirit is not greater than either the Father or the Son.
You can blaspheme Jesus and be saved but when you blaspheme the Holy spirit, you can’t be saved, because the Holy Spirit is directly involved in the salvation process.
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Christ and to convict the world “of sin, of righteous and of judgment” (John 16:8 KJV). Blasphemy of the Spirit removes a person from the sphere in which forgiveness is even possible. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes faith and repentance possible.
The Holy Spirit’s job is to bring people to Christ. A person who blasphemes the Spirit is slandering and rejecting the only one who can lead them to a place of saving faith. As Grant Osborn puts it, The Holy Spirit is “the divine tool of salvation.”
Myth Eight – No one can even commit this sin today
Some erroneously teach that the sin cannot be committed today. The argument is that since Christ is not on the earth, casting out demons, people cannot commit this sin today. It is a very popular view in some circles to say that Jesus has to be on earth to commit this sin.
This was the view of Charles Ryrie. He writes, “To commit this particular sin required the personal and visible presence of Christ on earth; to commit it today, therefore, would be impossible.” “The special circumstances involved in this blasphemy cannot be duplicated today; therefore this sin cannot now be committed.”
As much as I like Ryrie, are many flaws with this position. Jesus did NOT call this a DISPENSATIONAL sin. He called it an ETERNAL sin (Mark 3:29). Jesus NEVER said, “If you commit this sin before 33 AD, you won’t be forgiven.” He said, “If you commit this sin at all, you will not be forgiven.” Jesus does not give a time limit or expiration date for this sin.
You will not be forgiven if you commit this sin in the first century. You will not be forgiven if you commit this sin in the twentieth century. You will not be forgiven in this life or the next life.
Furthermore, this is NOT a sin against Jesus. This is a sin against the Holy Spirit, so does NOT require the physical presence of Jesus on the earth. The Holy Spirit is still present and work in in the world today. In fact, when Jesus left the earth, He said that the Holy Spirit would come to replace Him.
People can still do that today. The Holy Spirit is still at work in the world today and His person and His work can still be blasphemed today. Hebrews 10:29 says that people can still insult the Spirit of Grace.
Myth Nine – Christians can commit this sin today
This sin was committed by religious people. The Pharisees were very religious. They were scrupulous about keeping a bunch of religious rules. It was committed by people who studied the Bible. The Scribes were the Bible scholars of the day but none of them were saved. They were not disciples of Jesus. They were His enemies.
There is no evidence of a genuine Christian ever committing this sin. The only example of anyone committing this sin were the Pharisees and scribes, and they were clearly unbelievers. Jesus called them “a brood of vipers” (Matthew 12:34). He called them “evil” (Matthew 12:34). He called them “children of hell” (Matthew 23:15)
This sin was committed by people who were completely close-minded to the truth. They were not open to the facts. It was committed by people who were stubborn and hard-hearted. They saw Jesus heal a man who was deaf and dumb right before their eyes. They could not deny it. It was clearly supernatural.
Myth -I am okay if I have never committed the sin
4) The unpardonable sin is the same thing as final impenitence
 Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, said, “The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, which is shedding innocent blood after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant.” (Doctrines and Covenants 132:26–27).
 The Holy Spirit is not male. He does not have a physical body. He is an immaterial spirit. Jesus is never called “the son of the Holy Spirit.” The words for “overshadow” (ἐπισκιάσει) and “come upon” (ἐπελεύσεται) are not ever used of sex in the Bible. The child who is born is said to be “holy.”
 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Miracles of our Lord (Thomas Nelson, 1984), 69.
 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Miracles of our Lord (Thomas Nelson, 1984), 69.
 Osborne, Grant R. Matthew (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament series Book 1) (p. 680). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition
 Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, (Moody Press, 1981), 252.
 Charles Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition (1995 update) on Matthew 12:31, p. 1534