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What Is the Unforgivable Sin?

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Unpardonable Sin.

Matthew 12:22-32

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Unpardonable Sin.

Understanding the Unpardonable Sin

The sad truth is that many will not get into the grace of God—unless they turn from their sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

And many of those are very close to a line. If they cross it, they will be just as bound for Hell, with no chance of redemption, as if the gates of Hell had already closed behind them. That is what happens to those who have committed the unpardonable sin.

What Is the Unforgivable Sin?

The unpardonable sin is not a moral sin. It is not rape, or murder, as wicked as those are. Anyone who has done those things can still be saved, by the grace of Almighty God.

It is not an intellectual sin. Many atheists, agnostics, and God-haters have repented and come to Jesus Christ.

It is not a verbal sin. Think of some blood-curdling curse to God’s face—even that can be forgiven. God forgives blasphemy against God the Father or God the Son.

The unpardonable sin is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

To blaspheme means “to speak hurtfully against.” You can commit the unpardonable sin without saying a word, “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45b). You may live in such a way that if your life was translated into words, it would be blasphemous.

What Is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?

There came to Jesus a man who was afflicted with a demon, blind and mute. Jesus supernaturally healed him. People standing around said, “Look! This is the son of David, the Messiah!” (See Matthew 12:22-23).

Since they could not deny the miracle, the Pharisees determined to explain it away. “Oh sure, He performed a miracle, but He did it in the power of Satan.” (See Matthew 12:24.)

Jesus said to them,

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matthew 12:31-32).

The Pharisees’ sin was three-fold.

They Sinned Against Redemption

Here was redeeming love—Jesus opening blind eyes, loosing dumb tongues.

These Pharisees sinned against our Redeemer. Later, they were the ones who slapped the face of Jesus Christ, plucked the beard from His face, and cried out for His blood.

They Sinned Against Reason

They knew better.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges” (Matthew 12:25-27).

Nobody works for the devil by casting out demons and giving peace and joy. (See John 10:10.)

You didn’t get to be a Pharisee by being stupid. These men were intellectuals, but they crucified their reason in order to crucify Christ. Many will trample reason to death in order to have their own way.

They Sinned Against Revelation

Here is the problem:

“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28).

There was the King, Jesus Christ, standing in their midst. There was the Holy Spirit of God working through Him, testifying by those very works that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.

The ministry of the Father is to rule the Universe. The ministry of Jesus the Son, in conjunction with the Father, is to save. But the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to open our eyes, to give light, to help us to understand. The Holy Spirit pulls away the veil of darkness. The Pharisees were sinning against light.

So what does blasphemy of the Holy Spirit mean? What is the unpardonable sin? The unpardonable sin is attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit, when you know better.

What Are the Consequences of the Unforgivable Sin?

The Deceptive Power of Sin

One of the most terrifying verses in the Bible is this:

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

Why would God do that?

They had the truth. They would not believe the truth.

The opposite of truth is not error. The opposite of truth is sin. When you hear truth, do not say, “How interesting. I’ll put that in my pocket. But in the meanwhile, I’m going to live it up in sin.” When you have seen, and understand, and willfully sin against the light, God will send you strong delusion.

When you talk to someone who has committed the unpardonable sin, he or she will say, “I just don’t see it.” They’re not lying—they do not see it. (See Romans 11:8.)

Deadening Power of Sin

When people commit the unpardonable sin, something dies within them.

You may be saying, “Preachers don’t preach like they used to.” But they are. You just don’t hear like you used to. You can sit in a worship service while others are being blessed and saved, and you will not feel a thing.

This is the deadening power of the unpardonable sin: you do not feel the work of the Holy Spirit.

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion’” (Hebrews 3:7-8a).

Damning Power of Sin

When God says something is impossible, we ought to pay attention.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).

You can come to a place where it is impossible for you to be saved.

Some of those who nailed Jesus to the cross did not know what they were doing. (See Luke 23:34.) But you can walk away from hearing the Word, fully aware. When you do, with eyes wide open, you are crucifying the Son of God again.

Nobody can be saved unless the Holy Spirit of God opens his eyes. But when you say “no” to the Holy Spirit, you put out your own eyes.

“Have I Committed the Unpardonable Sin?”

If you are reading this and feel the slightest desire to come to Jesus Christ, come to Him. Do not cross that line. Do not sin against such light. There are millions of people in this world who would shout for joy to hear what you are reading now: that God loves you, Christ died for you, and “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Acts 2:21b).

If you want to be saved, you have not committed the unforgivable sin.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).

List of Scriptures Referenced in This Article

Matthew 12:22-32; Luke 6:45, 23:34; John 6:37, 10:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; Romans 11:8; Hebrews 3:7-8, 6:4-6; Acts 2:21

More Bible Verses About Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man (Mark 7:21-23).
Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven" (Luke 12:8-10).
…Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme (I Timothy 1:19-20).