"The Unpardonable Sin"

There are 5 major religions in the world: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. Christianity is the only major religion that offers humanity full and complete pardon from sin based upon the substitutionary death of a sinless, divine savior.

Therein lies a unique paradox. The paradox is this. On one hand Christianity offers full pardon for sin; on the other hand, it is the only religion in which some of its adherents propose that there is some type of unpardonable sin. A paradox, indeed! Where does the concept of unpardonable sin come from?

These are the only references in the entire Bible about the so-called "unpardonable sin"; one would think there would be many more references if it were such a critical subject: Matthew 12: 22 – 37; Mark 3: 22- 30; Luke 11: 14 – 26 and 12: 8 – 10

The entire context of these passages is a confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders of his day when Jesus evicted a demon from a man. The Jewish religious leaders, recognizing Jesus' supernatural power, falsely attributed his power to Satan, not to God. The Jewish religious leaders had already made up their minds against the idea of some of the Jewish people that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (Matthew 12: 14)

A second scenario of this passage is about how we use our words—and the significance of how we use them.

A poor demon-afflicted wretch, both blind and deaf, was brought to Jesus, who miraculously healed him, giving him his sight and hearing. The people who saw it were impressed and exclaimed—"This has to be the Son of David, the long-awaited Messiah!"

But the Jewish religious leaders heard the report and were [stubbornly and willfully] cynical. "Black magic," they said. "Some devil trick he's pulled from his sleeve. The only way this man can evict demons from people is if he's in league with the devil."

Jesus confronted their [stubborn and willful] cynicism and slander. His first response was to point out what a silly idea it was that Satan would attack his own minions. "A family that's in a constant squabble disintegrates; if Satan banishes Satan, is there any Satan left? You're accusing me of being in collusion with the devil in order to cast out demons. If that were so, then Satan's kingdom could not long survive, could it?

"But if it's by God's power that I am evicting evil spirits, then God's kingdom is here for sure. How in the world do you think it's possible in broad daylight to enter the house of an awake, able-bodied man [this man being symbolic of Satan in this episode] and walk off with his possessions unless you tie him up first? Tie him up, though, and you can clean him out. To plunder a ruffian, you must first overpower him.

"There is no neutral ground. If you're not on my side, you're the enemy; if you're not helping, you're making things worse. There's nothing you can do or say that can't be forgiven. But if you Jewish religious leaders deliberately [willfully and stubbornly] persist in your slander against God's Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives.

"If you Jewish religious leaders [willfully and deliberately] reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding about who he's working with, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you're sawing off the branch on which you're sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives. In this case, if you [stubbornly and willfully] persist in claiming what I do is by the devil's power you won't be forgiven either in this age or the age to come. [But that is not to say they could not be forgiven in ensuing ages after this age or the next—another subject altogether.]

"If you grow a healthy tree, you'll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you'll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree. You Jewish religious religious leaders have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It's your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words.

A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you Jewish religious leaders something: Every one of your [willful and stubborn] cynical, slanderous words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Your words can also declare you guilty when the time comes."

Again, it's important you see this entire scenario in the overall context of a confrontation between Jesus and some Jewish religious leaders of his day. Through the centuries of time many people have insensitively and wrongly applied to other people this specific situation [about Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders] which bears no resemblance to the Jewish religious leaders' deliberate [willful and stubborn] perversion of the truth about Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Such wrongful and insidious application of this specific scenario—out of context—has caused great distress for many vulnerable people. It has caused many people to "give up" on God because they feel they have committed an unpardonable sin and are no longer within reach of God's love, blessings, grace, favor, forgiveness, and pardon. Such misinformed people have wrongfully believed they will "go to their grave" unforgiven of an unpardonable sin and are, therefore worthless to God and to others as a result. They often mistakenly feel they deserve (or don't deserve) one thing or another because they are a hopeless, unpardonable sinner.

Questions to ponder if you feel you may have committed the "unpardonable sin":

· Are you a Jewish religious leader in stubborn and willful opposition to Jesus, saying slanderous words about him and being cynical of where he receives his power to evict demons?

· Are you a Jewish religious leader stubbornly and willfully persisting in claiming Jesus evicts demons because he's in league or collusion with the devil?

· Whose side are you on? On Jesus' side or stubbornly and willfully on the devil's side?

· Are you a Jewish religious leader stubbornly, willfully, deliberately persisting in saying slanderous and cynical words against God's Spirit?

· Are you a Jewish religious leader stubbornly and willfully repudiating God's forgiveness [in this eon of time or the next]?

· Are you a Jewish religious leader carelessly [and stubbornly and willfully] using words that oppose Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit?

If your answer is "no" to these questions then you have not "blasphemed" the Holy Spirit, nor have you committed any sin which is "unpardonable."

Jesus is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God who has taken away all the sins of all humanity—including yours! (John 1: 29) If you have agreed ("confessed") with God that you are a sinner, then he has cleansed you from all sin (1 John 1: 9) If and when you do sin, Jesus acts as your "defense attorney" before the throne of God, informing the "judge" that He himself has paid for all your sins and they can no longer "legally" be held against you. (1 John 2: 1 and 2)

In fact, symbolically God has cast all your sins to the bottom of the deepest ocean and chooses to remember them no more nor ever bring them up again. (Micah 7: 19) You are no longer unrighteous in any manner; instead, Jesus has completely taken away all your unrighteousness and has become your righteousness, displacing and replacing all your unrighteousness with his complete righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1: 30) Jesus knew no sin. He became sin for you so that you might be given the righteousness of God and be fully reconciled to Him. (2 Corinthians 5: 18 – 21)

In Jesus, God has completely forgiven you all your sin. (Ephesians 4: 32) In Jesus, God has forgiven all your trespasses (Colossians 2: 13) In Jesus, you have complete redemption through his blood, and forgiveness of all sin by his grace. (Ephesians 1: 7) Jesus offered Himself and shed his blood once to completely take away the sins of all people for all time. (Hebrews 9: 26 – 28)

Are you choosing to believe the lie and your unreliable and capricious feelings that you have committed the unpardonable sin? Or, are you choosing to repudiate such lies and your feelings and, instead, believe the clear teachings of the Bible that you have not done so?

The devil is continually broadcasting lies to all humanity. He wants us to believe his lies. He always lies, being the "father of lies." (John 8: 44) One of the devil's most "successful" lies is that you have committed the unpardonable sin or blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. Onl the other hand, Jesus wants us to believe truth because He is the Truth. (John 14: 6) God's truth can displace and replace the devil's lie he has broadcast to you that you have committed the unpardonable sin. You are decidedly not a Jewish religious leader who is stubbornly and willfully accusing Jesus of evicting demons by the power of Satan instead of by God's Spirit.

Revised and Updated June 2016

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