The Unforgiveable Sin

Published by DonDavidson on

In Matthew 12:32, Mark 3:29, and Luke 12:10, Jesus says that there is a sin which will never be forgiven, “either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32), for it is “an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29). Jesus calls this sin blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

What is this unforgiveable sin? And how do we know if we have committed it?

Luke doesn’t tell us the context of Jesus’ remark, and Mark only hints at the context by saying that it was in response to accusations from the scribes that Jesus “is possessed by Beelzebul” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” (Mark 3:22) But Matthew fills in the gaps by telling us that the scribes’ accusations were in response to Jesus healing a man who was demon-possessed, blind, and mute.

Now imagine for a moment that you had witnessed Jesus perform such an extraordinary miracle. Would there be any doubt that it had to be from God? The scribes did not question the legitimacy of the healing. They did not claim that it was trickery, or that the man had not really been blind, dumb, and demon-possessed. They knew the healing was real. But they ascribed it to Satan.

Jesus rebutted their accusation by pointing out that Satan would not work against his own interests by casting out a demon, one of Satan’s own. And then He warned them of their precarious position—they were risking an eternal sin, an unforgiveable sin, by denying what they knew to be true.

I believe a person commits the unforgiveable sin if they know Christianity is true, but they reject that truth because they prefer evil. That is what Satan and his demons did, for they know Jesus is the Son of God (see for example, Matthew 8:29) but they prefer to do evil rather than follow God’s ways.

This explanation obviously means that anyone who rejects Christianity out of ignorance, or even because of honest doubt, has not committed the unforgiveable sin. Salvation is still open to them.

Now how do you know if you have committed the unforgiveable sin? We find the answer to that in John 6:44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” If you want to come to Jesus—if you want to give your heart and your life to Christ—you have certainly not committed the unforgiveable sin, for otherwise God would not be drawing you to Him.[1]

[1] I am indebted to the late Pastor Eugene “Gene” Scott, former pastor of Faith Center, Glendale, California, for that observation.


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