Nothing can separate us from the love of God

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Somebody asked me recently: ‘Have I committed the unforgivable sin? A question which was concerning them not me. Had they committed the unforgivable sin? And it’s a legitimate, big question.

If it is a concern and, the general conception is that if you have committed the unforgivable sin then, as far as the Bible is concerned, you’re lost, you’re going to hell and there’s no hope for you. No point in coming to church because that’s it, you’re finished.

But the whole point of the Gospel is that you should know that your sins are forgiven and that you have eternal life. That you have a hope for eternity in His presence in heaven.

So, I thought we’d address the subject.

Generally, if you are worried about it, it’s a sign you haven’t committed it. But we’re going to look at it and see what the Bible says about it.

The unpardonable sin passage actually comes out in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 12, and I read from verse 22 through to 32:

22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Matthew 12.22-32

What is the sin against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin? It’s a big question. I tell you it’s something serious and if you commit this sin, you can’t be forgiven in this age or in the age to come. Now there are two possibilities about how we understand this.

  • That it is a sin which can be committed by anyone at any time and therefore it’s relevant to us now or,
  • That it’s the sin committed by that generation related to the Pharisees accusing Jesus of doing miracles by the power of Beelzebub, in other words, by the power of demons.

You’ve got these two issues. Was it a general statement or was it something relating to that time?

I’ve spoken on this before (see the link below):

Here are some further thoughts on this topic:

Matthew’s passage can’t really mean that the person who becomes a Christian will not sin again. We’re born of the Spirit as I said, but we still have the old nature within us. We still have the flesh nature and, as long as we’re in this body, there’s going to be the battle between the flesh and the spirit.

Is sinlessness possible? gotquestions.blog

Only when we go to be with the Lord, when we have that new body will we be free from this body of sin and this power of the devil to tempt us, to do things which are wrong. Satan is still around and he’s still tempting. And, as it is said in 1 John: ‘the devil has sinned from the beginning’.

The devil has his job to do, and he’s going to continue to do it. And one of the things he likes to do is to trap Christians, to get them into error or into some sort of delusion or deception and take them away from the simple truth of the Gospel.

One of the things which you can see probably that you’ve already experienced, is that there are no perfect churches. You come here thinking you’re coming to a perfect church, well, I suggest you go somewhere else because you won’t find one.

You’re no perfect Christians either, and if people think that they have attained to this perfection, they’re either in some kind of delusion or they’re probably proud of being sinless which is in itself a sin in itself. So, that doesn’t work.

None of us can attain to this perfection while we’re in this body, and we’ll always be subject to failures which will be covered by repentance and faith. If you go to another passage in 1 John chapter 1 verse 5,

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1 John 1.5-10

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

1 John 2.1-2

And here’s the passage which tells you that if you come to Christ, you have a way in which you can be forgiven, and you can know that your sins are forgiven, and you have a relationship with God.

If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin.

If you have believed in Jesus, then, your sins are forgiven because you have been washed in the blood of Jesus and whatever sin you confess to Him you can know is forgiven and is under the blood, and is no longer anything which you are guilty of.

If we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It’s clear. It doesn’t need any explanation. It is what the Bible says and what we experience when we come to faith in Jesus.

If we say we’ve not sinned, we make Him a liar, His word is not in us.

We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous advocate is your defence counsel.

Therefore, when you come before God, you have somebody who stands on your behalf who is Jesus, who has taken the punishment for your sins and therefore, He is the one who gives you His righteousness.

He is the propitiation for our sins. ‘Propitiation’ means He has born the wrath, the anger of God against sin in Himself when He died for us on the cross that we might be forgiven and have eternal life.

A Propitiation for the Sins of the Whole World? • Every Thought Captive – themajestysmen.com

It is clear on this basis that anyone who becomes a Christian and believes in Jesus, and confesses their sins can be forgiven.

Also, the Bible tells us that there’s no sin which is so serious that it cannot be forgiven through faith in Jesus.

Paul goes on to describe himself as the chief of sinners because he persecuted the church of Jesus Christ, put Christians to death. He said:

15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

1 Timothy 1.15

In 1 Corinthians 15 he says,

9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

1 Corinthians 15.9

Paul persecuted Christians, he had them put to death and yet, he was a saved sinner who preached the Gospel with tremendous effect.

Go to the Old Testament, you have King David, one of the great characters of the Old Testament who was guilty of both adultery and murder. As a believer in the Lord (he already believed in the Lord), he committed two of the big sins from the Ten Commandments.

The scripture records that both these men were forgiven for their sins.

In Psalm 32 David writes his psalm in which he says,

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.  3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Psalm 32.1-5

Interesting psalm. He says that ‘when I didn’t confess my sin your hand was heavy upon me and I felt this kind of heaviness and separation from you’. ‘When I confessed my sin, I knew that I was forgiven, and I had a relationship with God.

In fact, going to his great psalm of repentance, Psalm 51, at the height of it, he says:

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,

Psalm 51.12

He doesn’t say ‘restore to me my salvation’, he says ‘restore to me the joy of my salvation’ because sin causes the separation between us and God and, if we confess our sins, then that separation is removed, and we come into a relationship with God again.

40 But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, 41 and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt — 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.

Leviticus 26.40-42

The Bible tells us that there is this hope for us in Jesus and it comes through repentance and faith in the Lord, and which is the heart of the Gospel.

Of course, when Jesus began his ministry in Mark chapter 1, He came to Galilee preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and saying,

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1.14-15

The Gospel, ‘evangelion’, means the Good News.

Strong’s Greek: 2098. εὐαγγέλιον

So, the Good News is that if you repent and believe, your sin is forgiven

So, what is the unforgivable sin? Coming back to our subject.

What is the sin which can’t be forgiven?

On the basic level, that is ‘not to believe the Gospel’.

By definition, if you reject the Gospel, if you reject the offer which Jesus has given you of forgiveness, eternal life, the Good News, that your sins will be forgiven through faith in Jesus, if you reject it,

then, your sins can’t be forgiven.

Can you write that one up? If you accept it, then, your sins are forgiven.

Basically, the unforgivable sin is not believing the Gospel.

On one level that makes sense, the work of the Gospel is to convict you of your need of a saviour. Who brings that work to you? It’s the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit’s work is to convict of sin and righteousness, and judgment, and cause people to believe the Gospel.

Why?

In one sense, you could say that the sin against the Spirit is to refuse to accept His conviction that you could become a Christian.

In John chapter 16 Jesus says,

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

John 16.7-10

Jesus goes on to speak about the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, guiding us into all truth and pointing people to Jesus. The work of the Holy Spirit in your life is to convict you of sin and righteousness, and judgment.

Can you think of a time when He was doing that to you? And He was drawing you to faith in Jesus?

Certainly I can. I spent about six months, way back in 1969, when I first heard the Gospel and people were telling me about Jesus and I was battling against it, and I was fighting It.

1960s

I didn’t want to believe and I came to the crunch on January 1st, 1970 when I sat in a room after a very drunken and decadent New Year’s eve party and recognized that God was telling me I was a sinner and I had to change my ways and believe in Jesus.

Right there, I prayed in that room and asked Jesus to come into my life and to change my life and he did so from 1970 onwards I’ve been a born-again Christian.

1970s

But I knew that, during that time, the Holy Spirit was convicting me of sin and righteousness, and judgment, telling me that there were things I was doing in my life which were wrong. He was also telling me that Jesus is the answer, that Jesus is there, that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

And people kept coming across my life who were telling me this, including the lady that was going to become my first wife, Nikki, who’s sadly gone to be with the Lord now, who I met when she was giving out leaflets about Jesus at a communist demonstration in central London. I took the leaflet and I said, ‘Hey! This is actually true; this makes sense to me! Jesus is the answer!’

I didn’t become a Christian that day but, a little bit later, I did.

When I became in Christian, I met Nikki and told her about getting her leaflet she was very pleased, and we ended up going out together and getting married.

Jesus is working in our lives and He’s convicting us of sin, unrighteousness, and judgment.

Now, if on New Year’s Day in 1970, I’d said ‘no’, this might be true, ‘I don’t want to know about it, I don’t want to know, I will resist this prompting of the Holy Spirit, I’ll reject Jesus Christ, I’ll go my own way.’ If I had continued to do that, I would have committed the unforgivable sin because I am a sinner, I was a sinner, I’m still a sinner and I need a saviour who is Jesus Christ.

If I reject Him, then, I am rejecting the one who can bring me to eternal life.

If you reject the Holy Spirit who is prompting you and you reject Jesus as saviour, you’ve committed the unforgivable sin.

Why is it unforgivable? Because the only way you can find forgiveness is through repentance and faith in Jesus. Specifically, in His death and resurrection as a sacrifice for your sins, in that Jesus suffered hell for a moment that we might be delivered from hell for eternity as the sin of the world was placed upon Him so that we might be delivered from sin ourselves as we place our sins upon Jesus and receive His forgiveness in His place.

If you believe this, that Jesus is the Messiah who died for our sins, that He was buried and rose again from the dead, you have forgiveness, you haven’t committed the unforgivable sin.

Whoever believes on the Lord Jesus Christ has salvation through faith in Him and no matter what sins you’ve committed, if you repent and confess them, you are forgiven through faith in Jesus.

My conclusion then is: if you believe that Jesus is the Messiah who died for your sins, you’ve not committed the unforgivable sin; if you don’t, you have, because that’s the only way you can be forgiven.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Jesus Paul says:

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15.1-4

If you believe that Jesus died for your sins and was buried, and rose again from the dead, you have salvation, your sins are forgiven.

Romans chapter 1 verse 16 says:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Romans 1.16-17

And in Romans chapter 10 verse 9 it says:

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10.9-13

Therefore, if you have called upon the name of the Lord and you believe in Jesus: that He died for your sins and rose from the dead, you have NOT committed the unforgivable sin, because your sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus.

If you reject Jesus, then you are still in your sins and you need to accept Him. If anyone here is listening to me who has not accepted Jesus Christ, now is the day of salvation, now is the day to repent, to put your trust in Jesus and to know that your sins are forgiven and that you have eternal life.

That is, by far, the most important decision you can make in your life because it guarantees you a place with Him in heaven for all eternity and it saves you from the other place, hell, which is the worst place and the place you don’t want to go to.

That is one aspect of it. My time is almost gone so I’m not going to get on to the other aspect which is also quite interesting.

I will be taking it next time about how this particular passage in Matthew’s Gospel relates to the whole issue of the Jewish understanding of the Gospel and of the rejection of Jesus by the Pharisees which was based on the accusation of Him ‘committing sins’, doing miracles by the power of Beelzebub.

There is quite an interesting teaching which Arnold Fruchtenbaum gave which I’ve sort of delved into and expanded on which and we’ll look at next time and deals with that particular aspect of the unforgivable sin.

But as time has gone, I won’t get into that now.

Remember that if you have believed in Jesus today and if you have faith in Him, your sins are forgiven and you have a glorious future and a glorious hope. If you haven’t believed in Him, now is the day of salvation, now is the time to do it because tomorrow may be too late.

Put your trust in Jesus. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Have salvation and have confidence that He’s going to keep you to eternal life and that nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son Jesus Christ that all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3.16

Praise the Lord!

Let’s have a word of prayer and if anybody has any issues or problems about this, have a word with me afterwards and we’ll pray for you. But know that if you have believed in Jesus, you haven’t committed the unforgivable sin, you can’t have done because believing in Jesus causes your sins to be forgiven and for you to have eternal life in his name.

Lord, we do thank you for Jesus. Thank you that you came to save us from our sins. Thank you that you died for us, that you rose from the dead. Thank you that you ever live to make intercession for us. We pray that each one of us may know for sure that we are your children, that we have eternal life in you, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We give you thanks for this and pray that you bless us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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