Can I commit a sin for which
I cannot be forgiven?
Is there an “unpardonable” sin?
How does sin become unforgivable?
John Bunyan (1628-1688) was a deeply religious man. But he was tormented with the fear that he had committed the unpardonable sin. He was a man of prayer and Bible study. But he despaired of life. He thought that stones and his dog had a brighter future than himself.
Preachers receive letters or phone calls like this: “I would like to just know if what it says in Matthew is true. It states that every sin is forgivable, except if a person speaks badly about the Holy Spirit. I thought something against the Holy Spirit. I did not mean to. It just happened. I prayed and asked for forgiveness, but does that mean I am forgiven or eternally condemned?”
How can you help someone if they have “crossed the line”; passed a “point of no return” and have committed a sin that cannot be forgiven?
Can such a sin be committed?
Are there sins for which there is no forgiveness?
Can it committed today?
Is suicide sinful? Is it a case of murder?
Can a person who commits suicide be forgiven?
How can they be forgiven after they are dead?
Reject Christ –
Two major problems with this view
Can a person reject – and later accept?
What about those who have never heard?
Some say, “The only sin that will send you to HELL is rejecting Christ.”
What about the heathen, untaught and ignorant?
Are missionaries wasting time and money?
There are degrees of punishment
Matthew 10:14-15 – more tolerable
Matthew 11:20-24 – more tolerable
Romans 2:4-6 – Render to every man according to their deeds
Resist the Holy Spirit –
Some have called this “Sinning away the day of grace”
This view says that people resist the Holy Spirit for so long that eventually the Holy Spirit becomes disgusted and leaves them never to return.
This view says that blasphemy means “violent mistreatment of the Holy Spirit”
They see people reaching a point of no return
It is claimed that God set a limit in Genesis 6:3 – 120 years.
Does this apply to the flood only?
When does the 120 years start?
Since we don’t live that long – how can we pass the limit?
Strive = judge, plead a cause, act as umpire – Striving is not working, seeking begging, urging, and wooing sinners to obey the gospel.
Man = in the original Hebrew is “the man” (with the article); thus, not man in general but the man of Noah’s day
120 years = is not a declaration of
man’s life span. Later, Moses would write Psalm 90 – Man will live
threescore and ten (70) and up to fourscore (80). In the time of Noah, men
lived 700, 800, 900 years. Noah was 600 when God commanded him to begin
building the ark.
The 120 years is not a life span. It was God’s declared period of probation. Compare to the 40 days God gave Nineveh in the time of Jonah. This is supported by 1 Peter 3:18-21.
Some have tried to use Hebrews 12:16-17 to support this view. Esau could not find a place to repent. Had he crossed the line? Did he go so far that he could not return? NO! His pride would not allow him to repent. He knew he needed to repent. He wanted to find forgiveness, but could not bring himself to repent.
Three common positions held by many:
Attributing the works of God the Holy Spirit to Satan
Once a person has understanding and knowledge of Christ and becomes a Christian, then rejects Christ, has gone too far to come back.
An ongoing rejection of Christ and His blood for salvation.
Study the context of Matthew 12:22-32.
Pharisees – watched Jesus – saw his powerful miracles
They wanted to discredit him. They could not deny the miracles. They were too obvious to be denied.
In effect, they charged Jesus with sorcery. They said he was in league with Satan.
Jesus answers –
Can Satan cast out Satan? A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.
If this is not of Satan – then it is of God and you have rejected God.
To cast out demons, you must be stronger than the demons. You cannot rob a house until you control the people in the house.
There are Jews (some of your children) casting out demons. How are they doing it?
God is willing to forgive your sins, if you repent.
Two types of “Blasphemy”
Speaking against the Son of man is a failure to recognize him for who he is. The Jews did not recognize him. Some were blinded; some just did not pay attention; some misunderstood the prophecies of the Old Testament. And some rejected him. Saul of Tarsus was one who rejected him, persecuting the church.
Speaking against the Holy Spirit is a deliberate refusal to submit to the will of God as the Spirit revealed and confirmed it. The Holy Spirit instructs, reveals and provides the basis for faith. If anyone refuses to submit to the Spirit’s instruction, cannot have faith.
Dr. F. F. Bruce writes, “The deliberate refusal of the grace of God is the one sin which by its very nature is irremediable. Anyone who rejects the Holy Spirit’s convicting influence and does not repent will not be forgiven.”
In this world, nor in the world to come – “World” here is from the Greek “aion” (English form is eon) translated “age, era, epic, period of time” (Thayer). The phrase would make sense to us by saying, “Neither in the present age (Jewish), nor in the age (Christian) to come.”
Bottom line – The sin of Matthew 12:22-32 is ascribing the works of the Holy Spirit through Christ to Satan. Jesus regards blasphemy against the Spirit – permanently rejecting his identity as attested by the Spirit’s works – to be a sin for which one will not seek to repent or obtain forgiveness.
Larry Richards says, “This reference to an unforgivable sin has troubled many unnecessarily. Those who are concerned that they have done something for which Jesus will not forgive them show a very different attitude from the Pharisees, who refused to accept even the most compelling evidence that Jesus was the Son of God.”
Morris and Clark add these thoughts, “Persons deeply troubled by a guilty conscience often fear that they have sinned to grievously for God to forgive and save them.”
IS IT POSSIBLE TO SIN BEYOND THE POINT OF BEING SAVED?
1 John 2:1-2
1 Timothy 1:15-16
God’s ability to forgive is boundless and limitless.
God is always willing to forgive.
God loves all men without favoritism – Acts 10:34
God is merciful – Luke 6:36
God will forgive all who confess their sins – 1 John 1:9
God is able to forgive any and every sin – Psalm 103:3
Isaiah 1:18 – Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as wool
Even people who killed Jesus – Luke 23:34; Acts 2:36-38
Paul persecuted the church and could be forgiven – 1 Timothy 1:13
Any person can be forgiven. Any sin can be forgiven.
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT SALVATION.
John 3:16 – Whosoever believes in Him
God will not force you to be forgiven, against your will.
Some do not want God to forgive them. They don’t even care about salvation. They reject God’s offer of salvation.
Mark 4:12 – They do not want to see or hear, not want forgiveness
Revelation 3:20 – I stand at the door and knock
Revelation 22:17 – whosoever will
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO DO NOT FORGIVE OTHERS.
If we hold a grudge and seek revenge, we are in danger.
Failure to forgive others is a failure to
realize how much God has forgiven us.
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO REJECT THE HOLY SPIRIT
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 4:30
Do not quench the Spirit – 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Do not reject the Spirit – 1 Thessalonians 4:8
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO STUBBORNLY OPPOSE GOD
Amos 4:12 – Prepare to meet thy God (in battle)
Can you win?
Acts 5:39 – Lest we fight against God
2 Timothy 2:25
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO ARE NOT WILLING TO REPENT
Luke 13:3, 5
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO REFUSE TO CONFESS THEIR SINS
1 John 1:9
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO DELIBERATELY, WILLFULLY REJECT CHRIST’S SACRIFICE
GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO REJECT GOD’S DEFINITION OF GOOD AND EVIL
Isaiah 5:20-23 – Call good evil and evil good
God knows what is good for us.
OTHER PASSAGES TO STUDY
Who is being discussed in this passage?
Tasted the heavenly gift (salvation
Partakers of the Holy Spirit (given at baptism)
Tasted the good Word of God (studied the Bible)
Know the powers of the world to come (heaven and hell)
What is the primary sentence?
After you understand all the dependent clauses – read the primary sentence.
It is impossible for those who fall away to be renewed to repentance.
What is impossible?
Not that it is impossible for them to return
It is impossible for us to find a point of contact with one who knows, understands, has studied the Bible, had heaven on the end of his tongue.
What can you tell them they don’t already know? They already know it, thought about it and rejected it.
1 John 5:14-17
There are sins that are not “unto death.” Pray for these people to repent and return.
There are sins “unto death.” Praying for these will do no good.
Here is the logical argument from 1 John:
All sins confessed will be forgiven. (1:7, 9)
There is a sin unto death. (5:16)
Conclusion: The sin unto death is the sin not confessed.
God will forgive all sins of which we repent and confess.
There are sins that, because of hardness of heart, we will not confess.
They are not “unpardonable” by God; they are “unpardoned” because they are “not confessed.”
YOUR SINS WILL BE UNFORGIVEN IF:
You do not want salvation
You refuse to forgive others
You reject the inspiration and revelation of the Holy Spirit
You oppose and fight against God
You refuse to repent
You refuse to confess your sins
You reject the sacrifice of Christ’s blood for your sins
You reject God’s moral code