What is the Unpardonable Sin?
I have heard people say that there is a sin that God will not forgive, is this true? What if I have committed this sin and did not realize it?
The answer to the first part of this question is yes. There is, without debate, a sin that is never forgiven. Where does the Bible say this you ask? The Bible clarifies this sin in the first three Gospels. In Matthew 12:31-32 it reads “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Mark 3:29-30 and Luke 12:10 also echo this same statement. Clearly Jesus taught here is a sin that will never be forgiven.
So, the obvious question is what is this sin, and how do I know If have committed it? To find out exactly what Jesus was talking about, we should always consider the verse in the context of the chapter in which it was found. In Matthew chapter 12, Jesus was being condemned by the religious leaders (Pharisees), for picking corn and healing a man on the Sabbath, which, in their minds, was a violation of the law. Shortly thereafter a man possessed by a demon was brought to Him, and Jesus cast the demon out. At this miracle, the people were amazed, and the Pharisees were extremely upset and jealous about the attention Jesus was receiving. Instead of acknowledging that Jesus was doing a good work by the obvious power of God, the Pharisees accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan, and that was how He was able to cast the demon out. Jesus easily refuted this claim in the next few verses, followed by the warning of the unpardonable sin.
There are some very important details to note about the religious leaders before the blasphemous claim was made. In John chapter 3:1-2 there was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and came to Jesus at night. In this meeting with Jesus, Nicodemus said they (meaning the religious leaders) knew Jesus was from God. So before the claims were made that Jesus was in allegiance with Satan, the Pharisees already knew He was from God. Instead of acknowledging this to the people, they were more concerned about losing their position and authority, and chose to attribute His miracles to the devil. This accusation, which was made with the knowledge that God was working, either showed that the Pharisees had or were close to committing an unforgivable sin. Mark 3:30 actually sheds some light on the subject as it states the reason why Jesus mentioned the unforgivable sin by stating, “Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”
So, what then is the unforgivable sin? The unforgivable sin is either the act of or the persistent act of attributing to the devil what you know to be the work of God. This sin is not committed in ignorance, but rather it is an eyes wide-open repudiation of the Triune God who revealed Himself through His Son Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. When a person knows something to be of God, and is depraved and fearless enough to attribute it to Satan, they have crossed the line.
That is pretty scary! How do I know I have not committed this sin? Given the weight of this sin, this is a very important question. The good news is this; one passage of scripture can NEVER contradict another passage. For example, In 1 John 1:9 we have the wonderful assurance that any sin that is confessed will be forgiven without exception. If this verse promised us this but Jesus said otherwise, we would have a contradiction. Take notice in Matthew 12:31-32 where Jesus said, “All manner of sins and blasphemies are forgivable” He does not say, “except” for the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. He simply said, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” In other words, the person who hardens their heart to the point they are willing to look at what they know to be the work of God and call it of the devil, will never be forgiven, because they will never feel the need to repent! This person has a seared conscience (1 Timothy 4:2, Romans 1:28) void of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and has no fear of God (Romans 3:18). In John 6:37 Jesus promises us He will never cast out someone who comes to Him. So the humble and contrite sinner who hopes in the mercy of Jesus shows without a shadow of a doubt they HAVE NOT committed this sin, no matter what their conscience or the devil may try to tell them. If you are a Christian, and feel you may have done this or you are a person who has heard the Gospel and has a desire to repent of your sin and place your faith in Jesus, that is only because the Holy Spirit is working in your life (John 6:44,16:8,Philipians 2:13). The fear that you may have committed this sin is evidence that you HAVE NOT!
God loves you and has a plan for your life, If you are a believer that fears you have said something insulting to God, with a sincere heart, confess it to God and you will be forgiven. If you have never repented of your sins, and placed your faith in Jesus, do it today, as we are not promised tomorrow!