I’ve been asked many times what Jesus meant when he spoke of an unforgivable sin.
“And so I tell you,” Jesus said, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31).
Those who worry about the unpardonable sin focus so much on the second part of the verse (the blasphemy against the Spirit), that they miss the amazing promise Jesus gave in the first part.
“And so I tell you every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men.”
Amazing! EVERY sin and blasphemy…
This is a great promise! There are many different sins and blasphemies and the only one that will not be forgiven is “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”
Many believe that this particular sin could only occur in direct response to the ministry of Jesus when he walked on earth. In this case it’s viewed as a direct rejection of the ministry of Jesus by ascribing His work to Satan. This is likely the most explicit form of blasphemy against the Spirit – rejecting Jesus.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).
Aside from specifically identifying blasphemy against the Spirit, we can at least say that it included an ultimate hardening of one’s heart against the person and ministry of Jesus. Therefore, I assure people that a clear sign they have not committed this sin is a deep concern that they may have committed it.
This means that those who have come to me deeply troubled by a possibility of having blasphemed against the Holy Spirit are not the kind of people who blaspheme against the Spirit. Such people are not troubled or sensitive about sin but hardened against the Lord.
Now let’s return to the opening promise: “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven…” Do you understand why the apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9)?
Remind yourself often of our forgiving God
- “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.” (Ps. 131:3-4)
- “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9).
- “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).
- “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
- “He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19).
- Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Ma. 26:28).
- “… through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43).
- “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7)