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:
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.
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.
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,
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 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.
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:
In 1 Corinthians 15 he says,
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,
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:
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.
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,
The Gospel, ‘evangelion’, means the Good News.
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.
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.
In John chapter 16 Jesus says,
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.
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.
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.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Jesus Paul says:
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:
And in Romans chapter 10 verse 9 it says:
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.
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.
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.