Why IS there an unforgivable sin? Matthew 12:31-32 says that ANY sin can be forgiven, even speaking evil of Christ Himself. BUT, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. Why?
Matthew 12:31 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. 32 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.
Why? The answer to this question is found in Matthew 12 and Mark 3:
Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard [it], they said, This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31 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. 32 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.
Notice, in verse 24, Christ was accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, that is, Satan. Christ counters in verse 28 by claiming to cast out devils by the Spirit of God. He then goes on to give that audience a stern warning in verse 32. Now go to the parallel account in Mark:
Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23 And he called them [unto him], and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
Notice again in verse 22 that Jesus is being accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan. In verses 28-29, Christ gives a stern warning about the consequences of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. The Living Bible Paraphrased reads, “I solemnly declare that any sin of man can be forgiven, even blasphemy against me; but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven. It is an eternal sin.”
The Pharisees in Matthew 12:24 and the scribes in Mark 3:22 were giving credit to Satan for a work of the Holy Spirit. THIS IS THE UNPARDONABLE SIN.
Verse 30 from the Living Bible: “He told them this because they were saying he did his miracles by Satan’s power [instead of acknowledging it was by the Holy Spirit’s power].”
The lesson for members of God’s Church today is: If someone confronts you with a concept or new truth from the Bible that you either don’t understand or DON’T WANT TO UNDERSTAND, and you accuse that person of being under Satan’s influence when in fact that information IS a work of the Holy Spirit, you have committed the unpardonable sin! If there is any chance that the information IS from God, you had better place it on your mental shelf and let it develop without condemnation. We had better tread lightly when it comes to rejecting anything that the Bible says, because the Bible is of the Holy Spirit.
Published September 26, 1997
© Edgar Y. Bennett
PO Box 509
Black Hawk, CO 80422 USA