Summary: The unforgivable sin is not a sin you can stumble into accidentally, or perform in ignorance. You can blaspheme God and Christ in ignorance not knowing what you are doing, but the unforgivable sin is a sin done with clear and certain knowledge.
A certain seer warned Caesar to be on guard against a great peril on the day of March which the
Romans called Ides. When the day came and Caesar was on his way to the senate house he greeted
the seer with a jest, and said, "Well, the Ides of March are come." "Aye," said the seer. "They are
come, but they are not gone." In other words, the warning would not be proven false until the day
ended, and as we know, the Ides of March prove to be the last of Caesar.
Jesus gave His critics a very serious warning; in fact, the danger was so great that there is nothing
else to equal it. He warned them concerning the unforgivable sin. It is such a terrible thing to
consider that many prefer to ignore it, and others just dismiss it as a sin that could only be committed
by people in the day of Christ, and it does not concern us now. They would dismiss the warning
with a Caesar-like, "Well, that danger is past and gone." But the Sovereign Seer, our Savior, I fear
would reply, "Aye, that danger is past, but it is not over. It is also present. It has come, but it has
It is unreasonable to think that Jesus would declare a sin to be unforgivable, and mean by it, it is
only unforgivable if you do it now rather than later. If blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was
unforgivable before the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, then by what logic can it be maintained
that it is not now unforgivable sense the Holy Spirit has more prominence then ever in God's plan?
If Jesus meant to limit the danger just to those Pharisees who criticized Him that day; who said He
was filled with the devil, He did not make it clear, and if this was the case, there would be some
weight behind Bertrand Russell's criticism of Christ in giving this warning. Russell, the well known
atheist writes in his book, Why I Am Not A Christian, concerning this passage:
"That text has caused an unspeakable amount of misery in the world
for all sorts of people have imagined that they have committed the sin
against the Holy Ghost, and thought it would not be forgiven them either in this life or in the world
to come. I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would
have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world."
The facts of history will back him up as to the misery this warning has caused. Doctors,
psychiatrists, and preachers can testify to the fact that many people have gone insane over worry
about this sin. D. L. Moody said in his wide experience, "We have not been in a place in this
country-and I think we were not in more than one or two places while we were abroad-but we found
some people who thought they had committed the unpardonable sin." We could quote from ancient
history and modern days from men who find this same thing to be true. This means that if Jesus
meant only to say that this sin applied just to those who criticized Him, and to no others, but did not
make it clear, he would be guilty for all this history of unnecessary agony.
This leads us to the obvious conclusion that the warning was not just for them, but for all time.
Men can blaspheme the Holy Spirit today just as they could then. This being so, it was not unkind
for Jesus to give the warning as Russell charges, but was an act of marvelous mercy. Jesus could
have let these cold-hearted cruel critics go on in their evil to a ruin without remedy, but as verse 23
makes clear, He called them aside purposely to show them their folly, and to warn them less they go
beyond the point of no return. Where can one find an act of kindness to match this? Warning men
who have just maliciously slandered you by calling you an agent of the god of flies and dung, in the
hope that they might stop short of a sin beyond hope. The vast majority of commentators agree that
the Pharisees were not yet guilty of this sin, but would be if they persisted in their accusation after
We have established then that the unforgivable sin is still possible, and will be to the end of
history. And also that to be warned of it was an act of kindness on the part of Christ, there being
nothing kind about letting men plunge to their doom without warning because you didn't want to
make them nervous by telling them the bridge was gone. Any sane person would prefer the kindness