THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN
By Tope Banso
Many verses in the Bible give assurance of God’s forgiveness of sin. This should encourage sinners to come to Him and receive forgiveness of their sins. One of such scriptures is 1 John 1:8-10, which says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (New King James Version).
In the Old Testament, God said, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34b New King James Version). In Psalm 103:12, the psalmist said, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (New King James Version).
Some sinners are living in rebellion against God, totally devoted to the devil, doing what God forbids. They live their lives without regard for what the Word of God says. It’s like God is doing His own thing and they’re doing their own. Some of them don’t even believe there is God.
Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good” (New King James Version). Psalm 53:1 says the same thing. Since they don’t believe God exists, they don’t care if they offend Him and, therefore, do not seek forgiveness.
But there are other sinners whose conscience condemns them about the way they live, but they don’t know how to be delivered from their sinful lifestyle. They are slaves to sin. They are yet to die to sin like those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ, died and were buried with Him by baptism (Romans 6:4). These sinners and other sinners who are living rebellious lives, claiming that there is no God, need to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour so that they will no longer be slaves to sin.
There exists another group: Christians who have been crucified with Christ on the Cross. Romans 6:6-11 says, “Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus” (New Living Translation).
This group of people wants to please God. They are no slaves to sin, but they sometimes do what is not right. Although God has promised forgiveness of sin, if they confess as we saw earlier, some of them doubt if they are qualified for God’s forgiveness since the Bible talks about unforgivable or unpardonable sins. They are worried if they have committed the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 12, after Jesus had healed a man who was demon-possessed, blind, and mute, the Pharisee accused Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons, which Jesus dismissed. He submitted that if Satan cast out Satan, he was divided against himself and his kingdom stand could not stand (verse 26).
The conversation continued in Matthew 12:31-32: “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” (New King James Version).
This passage has been a subject of controversy among Bible scholars. It is also a source of worry to some Christians who are afraid that they might be guilty of committing the unforgivable sin. They feared that because of this, they would end in hellfire. Knowing what constitutes the unforgivable sin will help resolve whether or not the sins of these Christians are unforgivable. I concede that different interpretations have been given to what Jesus meant by blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
From the context in which Jesus talked about the unforgivable sin, He was talking about the sin of the Pharisees who attributed the miracle that He did by the power of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. He said this malicious utterance was not a sin and blasphemy (against God) that could be forgiven. Neither was it a word spoken against Him, the Son, that could be forgiven. He stated that saying that the works done by the power of the Holy Spirit was done by Beelzebub was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and it would be unforgiven either in this age or in the age to come i.e. never.
The sin Jesus referred to was not like the sins the Bible calls the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21, namely, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envying, drunkenness, reveling, and such like. Without trying to minimize these sins, they are forgivable sins. But those who do not repent from practising them shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 5:3-5 says, “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (New King James Version). These sins are grievous but they are forgivable. Jesus was not referring to any of them except it, in any way, involved ascribing to the power of Satan the work of the Holy Spirit.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not sorcery, sexual immorality, murder, idolatry, lying, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, covetousness, , uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness (Revelation 22:15; Colossians 3:5-6). As much as they are serious sins, which would bring the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience, they are forgivable sins.
It is the wilful and malicious attribution of the works done by the power of the Holy Spirit, which is very clear, to demonic power that constitutes unpardonable sin. Those guilty of this cannot be Christians or believers because they have rejected the testimony of the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, evident in His works.
Adam Clarke said, “Even personal reproaches, revilings, persecutions against Christ, were remissible; but blasphemy or impious speaking against the Holy Spirit was to have no forgiveness: i.e. when the person obstinately attributed those works to the devil, which he had the fullest evidence could be wrought only by the Spirit of God.”
Thus, there should not be any confusion as regards what constitutes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit or unforgivable sin. Children of God need not worry that they have committed this sin. On this subject of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, John Wesley said, “How much stir has been made about this? How many sermons, yea, volumes, have been written concerning it? And yet there is nothing plainer in all the Bible. It is neither more nor less than the ascribing those miracles to the power of the devil, which Christ wrought by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
God will forgive every sin except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Mark 3:29 presents this passage we are looking at this way: “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” (New King James Version).
It is an unpardonable sin to reject the witness of the Holy Spirit. John 16:8 says when the Holy Spirit has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: No sinner will be saved who is stubborn and wilfully rejects the work of the Holy Spirit to convince or convict him.
No child of God would behave like the religious leaders who denied glaring evidence that Jesus cast out demons by the Holy Spirit and said He did so by Beelzebub. Stephen’s statement that the Jews were stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears and always resisted the Holy Spirit as their fathers did correctly described the attitude of these religious leaders (Acts 7:51).
No child of God will ascribe to the power of Satan the works of the Holy Spirit having received the knowledge of the truth. Hebrews 10:26 says if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. A child of God will not want to grieve the Holy Spirit by whom he was sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30), let alone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.
After the lame man at the Beautiful Gate was healed, the Bible says he stood, began to walk; and entered with Peter and John into the temple, walking, leaping, and praising God. Then all the people saw him walking and praising God (Acts 3:8-9). This is the right thing to do, not to deny the miracles done in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Nevertheless, there are agents of Satan pretending to be the servants of God and doing magic in the guise of miracles. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says Satan transforms himself into or disguises himself as an angel of light. Those who engage in unscriptural practices in the ministry or heretical teachings would be wrong to try to silence the voice of truth against them by claiming that it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. No. It is truth spoken to correct error.
No child of God should allow the fear of committing the unpardonable sin to hinder his walk with God, because it is not a sin believers would commit, having accepted Christ. Furthermore, God will forgive all sins other than blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, this is not a licence to continue in forgivable sins. We cannot continue in sin so that grace may abound (Romans 6:1-2).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *mAdmit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. Invite Jesus into your life. As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you
PRAYER POINTS: Thank You, Father, for all the miracles being performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Father, anoint Your servants to do greater works and anoint me to do greater works for You
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
▪︎ Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria. Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947