Recently I’ve been thinking that when we misunderstand any part of the Word of God, it actually cause our mind to be bound in such a way that we will think, believe, feel and act wrongly. And I thank God for the Holy Spirit who opens our understanding to know it accurately, as well as a study of the context in which a certain thing is said is needful.
One of such instances is found in Matthew 12:31-32 where it’s said “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”
You may ask “So what IS the unpardonable sin?”
The concept of an unpardonable sin has been a source of difficulty for many because it seems to go against the Bible’s teachings about grace. We understand that God’s grace forgives every sin, but our Lord mentioned one sin that cannot be forgiven. I guess this may have caused many to secretly wonder and fear “did I or will I in this lifetime commit the unpardonable sin?”
In its context (go read verses prior to Matthew 12:31-32), the religious leaders had come out to hear Jesus, but they opposed virtually everything He said. As He was casting out demons, they accused Him of doing this by satanic means (Matthew 12:24).
Those people were so blind spiritually that they were attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Furthermore, they were rejecting the Holy Spirit’s work in their own lives. In essence, the Holy Spirit was saying of Jesus, “This is the Son of God. This is God,” and they were saying, “He is not God! He is Satan’s agent.” It was then Jesus said, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31).
Obviously, the unpardonable sin is not merely saying an unkind thing about the Holy Spirit. The religious leaders involved had turned totally against the revelation of God. They were so far into their own wickedness that they rejected not only Jesus Christ, but also the Holy Spirit. They were saying that good was evil and evil was good. They called the Spirit of God, Satan!
Once they had rejected Jesus, the one source of forgiveness, there was now no forgiveness. A person who turns away from Jesus Christ can receive no forgiveness, and that is what these had done. Romans 10:9-10 says “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
If you want to obey God but are concerned that you may have committed the unpardonable sin, you have not committed it. If anyone today has committed this sin, it would be one who is hard-hearted, who has turned against Jesus, reviled Him, and become so depraved that he would claim that God’s Spirit is Satan.
So take heart! Think of yourself as one who is forgiven and whom Jesus loves and who loves Jesus. Only then will you be free and confident to be a disciple (a serious follower) of Jesus. That’s what grace will and should do to us – to love and follow Him all out. Even that is by His grace!