Today we looked at a passage of the Bible that makes many Christians and would be Christians uneasy. What is the “Unpardonable Sin?” How do I know whether I have committed it? Can I commit the Unpardonable Sin if I am a Christian? Questions that have been answered in various ways by various traditions within Christianity. The Bible is very clear on what that sin is;
Mark 3:28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”–
Okay, the Unforgivable Sin is “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” Blasphemy is to speak evil against or to slander. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. Incidentally, if the Holy Spirit is really just God’s “active force” in the world and not a Person within the Godhead as the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, how could “it” be blasphemed. Can I insult or slander an active “force?”
Well, what does this sin comprise? There is a lot of context here. Jesus is talking to the scribes, a group of religious Jews who are part of the ruling party and the guardians of God’s Word. They are arguing with Him that He is able to do miracles and cast out demons by the power of the Devil rather than that of God. It is the Holy Spirit that Gave Jesus His power while He was in the form of a man and ministered on the earth. So, learned men, who knew better, or at least should have, insulted Jesus and the Holy Spirit, through Whom He performed His miracles by attributing the power to the devil rather than God. This is not something that can be done by the average Joe. They had to reject the testimony of the Old Testament in places like, Zechariah 13:1 “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. 2 “It shall be in that day,” says the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.” and Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,” They rejected what the Bible teaches about the nature of the Messiah and His ministry as the Spirit bore witness to the Word of God in their midst.
Sinners reject and deny the Holy Spirit all of the time. It is really their job description. Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian Church told the Jews as a whole, Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” The difference it that those who have sufficient knowledge and evidence, as the writer to the Hebrews tells us, “were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, (Hebrews 6:4-5) and then reject it are doomed. This is not a description of someone losing their salvation in Christ. That is evident from the context. Rather a description who was once a part of the larger covenant community who chooses to walk away.
If you have been a Christian for any length of time you probably know someone who fits this description, or maybe you fit this description. What should our attitude be to one in this position? There is always the question that needs to be answered as to whether this person has had sufficient knowledge before the first question can be answered. Then the next question is whether the individual in question has rejected the Gospel of Jesus and the witness of the Holy Spirit unequivocally; do they care at all about their sin? The one who desires to be right with God and is concerned about his sin has in no way sinned this sin. The evidence of it is a hardening as we see in Romans 1:21 and following.
If this post has raised questions in your mind I encourage you to listen to the audio of this sermon to get the longer version.
You can hear it by clicking the link below.
UNFORGIVABLE ! – Mark 3:29