The question of “What is ‘the unpardonable sin?'” comes up often in church life. Many of you reading this have complete peace on this issue and don’t really feel you have anything to worry about, but would be at an absolute loss to explain it to someone who asked you. In part, we really don’t have a view of sin that goes beyond simple definitions, to see it from the point of view of a God who is full of both justice and grace; to see the things that grieve the heart of God.
This article by Patrick Hawthorne came recommended; it’s from his blog Serving Grace Ministries. Click the title below to read it at source (with comments) and then click “home” to view other articles.
The unpardonable sin! Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit… We read about it, but do we honestly understand it? Is the unpardonable sin, a single sin by which there is no forgiveness? Or is it, in actuality, a collection of sins stemming from an overall attitude, a willful blindness to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit?
The argument might be made, in my case anyways, that if the unpardonable sin were a onetime with no means of forgiveness sin then I should be found guilty. In my younger and more stupid days, I had quite a few conversations with God in which I questioned His very existence. In anger, I spoke harsh things to Him; I vilified Him which is exactly what blasphemy means. Yet, here I am writing to you as a testimony to his His goodness and faithfulness. Had I committed the unpardonable sin, I feel confident that I would be as the devil, completely void of any feelings of love towards my Heavenly Father. Even so, what does the Word say about the subject?
In Mark chapter 3 we have the account of Scribes coming out of Jerusalem and confronting Jesus. Seeing, yet belittling the miracles done before their very eyes, they mocked Jesus claiming that His healing powers were from Beelzebub. Out of ignorance for their religious views, they made the claim that the power by which Jesus performed the miracles was unclean. In other words, they likened the Holy Spirit to Satan. Notice the response of Jesus to their ignorance.
“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.” (Mark 3:28-29)
By mocking Jesus and claiming that the miracles He performed were through the power of the devil, they were in essence mocking the Holy Spirit whom Jesus received real power. But, did they commit the unpardonable sin? To answer this, look back at verse 29. Jesus says, “But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, BUT IS SUBJECT to eternal condemnation. Jesus did not condemn them at that moment but let them know they were on very shaky grounds if they continued on their current path.
So, what can we make of the unpardonable sin? Is it a onetime ordeal, or is it a progressive attitude? It is my personal belief that the unpardonable sin is a progressive attitude whereby the offender grieves the Holy Spirit to such a degree that He forever withdraws His convicting power. Without His convicting power, there can be neither forgiveness nor repentance.
If you are reading this and have been concerned that you have committed the unpardonable sin, rest assured that you have not. The mere fact that you are concerned indicates that the Holy Spirit is very active in your life and He is trying to maneuver you to a closer relationship with the Father. Be blessed.