by Mike Ratliff
28 “ Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30 NASB)
I have been a Christian for many years. Before God saved me when I was 34 years old in January 1986, I had been an unsaved Church member since I had been a child having made a profession of faith when I was 9 years old in 1960. During all of that time, I am sure I have heard dozens of different teachings on the Unpardonable Sin. What is it? I heard one preacher say that only first century Jews could commit this sin. Is that right?
As we can see in the passage above, Mark 3:28-30, the Unpardonable Sin consists of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This sin is eternal and those our Lord was referring to had been accusing Him of having an unclean spirit. Take warning all ye reading this. Our Lord is warning us all that this sin will not be forgiven and that means that those guilty of it are condemned to an eternity in Hell. This teaching by our Lord is found in the three Synoptic Gospels, Mark 3:28-30, Luke 12:10, and Matthew 12:31,31. This sin is “Blasphemy against the Spirit.” It is performed by those speaking expressions of the thoughts of the heart (Matthew 12:33-37, cf. Romans 10:9,10). Those committing this sin were opponents of Jesus and His ministry. They claimed that the Power doing the good works among them was not God but Satan.
Our Lord distinguished between this blasphemy and other sins. The Bible teaches us that God is willing to forgive the sins of incest, murder, lying, and even persecution of the church, however, He is not going to forgive those who have committed the Unpardonable Sin.
What is the difference? The difference from this sin and the others is its relation to the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do during the process of drawing people into the light and truth? He enlightens the mind of sinners (Ephesians 1:17,18). This enlightenment reveals and teaches the Gospel (John 14:26), persuades Souls to repent and believe the truth (Acts 7:51). He not only explains the Word of God, but opens the mind so that it is perceived (2 Corinthians 3:16,17). Those who teach that this work is done by the one hearing the truth are treading on dangerous ground. We must be careful to glorify God by recognizing that the work of opening the heart belongs to the Holy Spirit alone.
When the Holy Spirit’s influence in salvation is deliberately and knowingly refused, in opposition to the light, then the irreversible, unpardonable sin can be committed as a voluntary, informed act of malice. What does God do when this takes place? When the Gospel is freely given and made clear, but is rejected then God allows a hardening of the heart that rules out repentance and faith (Hebrews 3:12,13). God permits this decision of the human will to be permanent in this case. God does not do this lightly or without cause, but always in response to an offense against His love.
Never forget my brethren, a person who wants to repent biblically has not suffered this hardening nor has he or she committed the profound act of hatred that God has determined He will not forgive. When I encounter a person who desperately seeks forgiveness then I know that person is being drawn by God into the light and has not been given over to the darkness of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. All who are born again will not commit this sin either because the Holy Spirit lives in them. God will never be divided against Himself.
Other verses dealing with the Unpardonable Sin are Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29; and 1 John 5:16,17. These show that the possibility of this sin depends on there being particular enlightenment and understanding from God and that it is not a common, everyday matter. However, never forget my brethren that our Lord said “all sins” and “whatever blasphemies” will be forgiven, but not this one. God does not lie and we would be foolish to make light of this.
As I studied this I came to realize that those who teach that salvation is the product of man’s free will cannot be consistent if they take into account what Sacred Scripture teaches us about this. Our Lord said that no one comes to Him unless they are first given to the Son and drawn to Him by the Father.
43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘ And they shall all be taught of God. ’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (John 6:43-47 NASB)
My brethren, rejoice that you are in Christ and that God is preserving you by His grace. Pray for all those around you that they will hear the Gospel as the Father draws them to the Son. Pray that they will not commit the unpardonable sin for in it there is no hope.
Soli Deo Gloria!