Summary: The “unforgiveable sin” is: • a deliberate rejection • of the deity of Jesus • when you know it is true
We’ve been looking at the hard sayings of Jesus for the past five weeks now. For the most part, Jesus has been addressing those hard sayings to those who are not yet His disciples. He is pointing out to them that becoming His disciple requires more than just saying the right words or engaging in the right religious rituals. He is looking for disciples who will make a serious commitment to allow Him to radically transform their lives as both their Savior and their Lord.
So Jesus consistently warns those who are following Him to carefully consider the costs before they make that commitment. Therefore it has certainly been appropriate for all of us to make a careful evaluation of our own commitment to Jesus to make sure we have entered into a relationship with God on His terms and not our own.
But at the same time, none of these hard sayings of Jesus should cause any of us who are His genuine disciples to question or doubt our salvation or our relationship with God. That was certainly not Jesus’ purpose so therefore we shouldn’t use these words of Jesus for that purpose either.
Unfortunately, because it is so often misunderstood, the hard saying we’ll look at this morning has caused many genuine believers to needlessly doubt or worry about their salvation and their relationship with God. So my primary goal this morning is to make sure we accurately understand these words of Jesus so that we don’t use them as the basis for unnecessary doubt or worry. Obviously that is going to require us, as always to put the words of Jesus in their proper context. So go ahead and open up your Bibles to Matthew chapter 12 as we’ll be looking at a good chunk of that chapter.
The hard saying that we’ll examine this morning is found in verses 31-32:
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
(Matthew 12:31-32 ESV)
Before we go any further, I’d like to begin this morning with a few of preliminary thoughts that will be borne out as we proceed this morning:
A few preliminary thoughts:
• If I am worried that I may have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, I can be confident that I have not
As we’ll see this morning, those who engage in blaspheming the Holy Spirit, have deliberately rejected who Jesus is. So just the fact that I am concerned that I might have done something to offend Him pretty much guarantees that I haven’t blasphemed the Holy Spirit.
• God, by nature, is forgiving
We see that clearly here in these verses. Jesus claims that “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven”. Obviously, that promise is conditional upon that person repenting of his or her sin. But the fact is that God’s nature is to forgive. Let me just quickly read several passages that confirm that.
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…”
(Exodus 34:6-7 ESV)
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
(Psalm 86:5 ESV)
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
(Psalm 103:2-3 ESV)
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
(Micah 7:18 ESV)
God delights in forgiving our sins, so certainly He has not created or defined some obscure sin which we could accidently commit and which is incapable of being forgiven by God.
• There is no quality or quantity of sin that is unforgivable
It is not possible for us to commit some quantity of sin that is incapable of being forgiven by God. God never indicates that He’ll forgive 99 sins, but that 100 is one too many. Nor is there some sin that is just so heinous or horrific that God can’t or won’t forgive it. I can’t think of any sin that would be more offensive to God than crucifying His Son, can you? But what did Jesus pray for those who did that while he hung on the cross? “Father forgive them…”
So with those ideas in mind, let’s look at the larger context of Jesus’ words. You can follow along as I read verse 22-32: