Summary: The Holy Spirit, our sin, God's holiness
No Forgiveness For You
Matthew 12:30-31 (p. 690) July 25, 2010
My two year old grandson Peyton is discovering boundaries. He likes to push the limits. We received this house protection kit in the mail the other day with cabinet securers and electric plus inserts. The electric plug inserts had this happy face on them and I put them in the outlets around the playroom. Peyton discovered these things (and would someone like to tell me why they put a brightly colored smiley face on them to attract children?) and began to pull them out. I said, “No, Peanut, that will hurt you!” and he kept at it. So I said, “Peyton, I am going to set you on the steps if you don’t stop. Do you want that?” And he got this expression on his face, a grumpy, stubborn expression; probably one like Kari’s seen on mine when she says, “No, you can’t do that!” And Peyton stopped pulling out the protectors, but he didn’t leave the area. He kind of hovered near the outlets looking at me. He doesn’t want to avoid this boundary. He wanted to stay near it. He knows he’s not supposed to mess with these protectors, but he wants to stay near them.
I guess most of us are like that, though. We always seem to want to walk right up to the line that moves us from acceptable to unacceptable behavior, even though we know there are consequences if we cross the line. We do it on friendships, in dating relationships, with our families and with our relationship with God. In most of these relationships if you cross that line too many times you put the relationship in serious jeopardy.
But amazingly with God that’s not true. You cannot out sin His grace. You cannot disobey enough to warrant his rejection. You cannot break so many rules that God says, “I wash my hands of you.”
Let’s begin with an important truth:
I. WE LIKE HAVING SOME RULES
Rules give us security. We know what to expect—and what not to. Rules are the protectors that keep us from getting a shocking surprise. But if we refuse to follow the rules the result is insecurity, fear and distrust.
(I like the TV show “The Biggest Loser” where individuals or teams have to lose the greatest percentage of weight to stay on the show for the next week. As the show begins most of the contestants understand the rules…do this, work out now, eat this much…and at the end of the show the winners vote off one of the two people who didn’t lose as much. Those are the rules, but lately, in the middle of the show, those rules change. They allow a previously voted off contestant or a new contestant to come back on. And when this happens the old guard doesn’t like it at all. Those who have followed the rules all along get mad. They develop alliances. This is not what they expected. After these incidents the levels of distrust, hatred, meanness and insecurity rose. Should we be surprised? That’s what happens when a person thinks they have a firm grasp on a situation and the rules change without warning.
The same can be true with our relationship with God, so…
II. WHAT ARE THE RULES?
Matthew 12 has one of those verses that can feel an awful lot like a serious plot twist—seemingly in the words of Jesus Himself. If asked, most of us would say you simply cannot out-sin the grace of God. This is a hard and fast rule. There is nothing you could do that God would not forgive. Even if you lived a prodigal and rebellious life for years, you can always come back to a father that runs to meet you on the road home.
But we come to Matthew 12:31 and that rule seems not to apply. “Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”
That verse makes us wonder…is this fine print in our contract with God? If it is, how do we win against the Holy Spirit? Could we have already done it? If so, are we “Dead men walking”?
To think about something unforgiveable seems to go against everything we like about our relationship with God. We like the comfort and security. We like a relationship built not on our own ability, but what someone else has done on our behalf. Underneath it all we like knowing that we can always come back. We count on it as an unshakable foundation in a world of earthquakes and aftershocks. If the foundation goes away, we are forced to live life looking over our shoulders. Is that the fearful existence God has planned for us?