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The Unpardonable Sin

Arising out of Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31, the subject of the unpardonable sin has been repeatedly twisted, undermining the confidence of believers. Contextually speaking, Matthew 12 is couched in the common confrontation between Christ and the Jewish leaders (the familiar term is “brood of vipers”). In chapter 12, Jesus had freed a man from the power of a demon. This dramatic event caused a vicious reaction from the Pharisees, who accused Jesus of performing His miracles by the power of Beelzebub (Satan). 

Jesus responds to this outlandish affront by condemning their accusations. He who has perfect communion with the Spirit of God, visibly shown at His baptism (Matthew 3:16), charged them with blasphemy! To say that Jesus acted by the power of Satan and not the Holy Spirit was unforgivable sin! But further down in the passage, He reminds them that in the last day they will be condemned “by their words.” The placement of this section is not coincidental.  Jesus is speaking to people who continue to blaspheme Him. He is essentially saying, “Speaking against me can be forgiven, but if you continue to reject the Holy Spirit, you will not be forgiven. On Judgment Day, you’ll grasp this.”

In summary, I believe that the unpardonable sin was the sin of the nation of Israel which rejected Christ in the face of much contrary evidence. I believe it can only be committed today by unbelievers, not believers. They can so consistently reject the wooing of the Holy Spirit, their heart is hardened, and God turns away from them. Thus they are abandoned to their own fate and must bear the full weight of their unbelief.

Second, we must urge all to trust Christ as Savior; God stands ready to forgive those who confess their sins. In fact, not only does He forgive us, but He also cleanses us. We are washed, spiritually speaking, so that we actually feel free and cleansed. Promises such as this must be insisted upon, because both our consciences and Satan will not allow us to put our past behind us. The bottom line is that forgiveness is available for those who desire it. 

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