Friday, December 21, 2012
The Unpardonable Sin
Believers as well as theologians have debated for years as to the meaning of the phrase ... "the unpardonable sin." This term isn't found in the Bible, nor is "the unforgivable sin" which would be the same thing. So what is it, and how is it committed?
At first glance, the word "unpardonable" looks to suggest an "act" of some kind that someone will not forgive ... even if that person asks for forgiveness.
My dictionary defines unpardonable as ... "a fault or offense too severe to be pardoned; therefore it is unforgivable."
I'm not too worried if man decides not to forgive something I have committed. It might make me feel bad that they won't forgive me, but life will go on.
But what about God? The Lord is going to be the final judge as to whether we spend eternity with Him or separated from His presence in darkness. I don't even want to think about where that place of separation from God will be. Most people call it Hell.
So where did this conception of doing something that even God won't forgive come from? How about ... right out of the mouth of Jesus.
Matthew 12:31-32 ... "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. 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."
Wow ... what is all that about? A sin that shall never be forgiven. I thought all sin, past, present and even uncommitted future sin was placed upon Jesus as He hung on the cross. Jesus carried that sin with Him upon the cross ... right? In fact, the Apostle Paul said something like ... "He became sin, who knew no sin." (2nd Corinthians 5:21)
I'm not going to deal with the legality of sin today, (now that Jesus has become the sacrifice for all our sin) but even so, I want to put this statement Jesus made to His Jewish contemporaries in context, in it's scriptural setting.
Right before Jesus made this statement about forgiveness, someone was brought to Him that was, as Matthew put it ... "possessed of a devil, was blind and couldn't speak." So Jesus proceeded to heal this individual which amazed the people and caused them to assume He was "the Son of David" ... meaning the Messiah.
But when the Pharisees heard that the people thought He was the Messiah, they said in response that Jesus ... "healed by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils."
This is what led Jesus to declare that blasphemy will not be forgiven. Blasphemy as described in this scripture, in simple terms, is giving credit to the devil for the miracle that the Holy Spirit of God performed.
So I turn again to the dictionary to look up the educated definition of blasphemy ... "the act or offense of profane talk or speaking sacrilegiously about sacred things of God, including His miraculous acts."
Profane talk ... (speaking with irreverence or disrespect concerning something sacred) can be considered a type of blasphemy.
Speaking sacrilegiously ... similar to profane; (regarding sacred things as secular.)
By this we see that God will not share the recognition or glory with anyone ... especially with the devil. Why is that? Because God is so holy that such a statement, (or in this case, a charge against the Holy Spirit in Jesus) became ... "an offense too severe to be pardoned; therefore it is unforgivable."
The Pharisees were supposed to know God. How could they watch Jesus heal and deliver this person from the demonic powers that bound this individual and then proclaim that it was the power of the devil that freed him from the power of the devil's captivity and bondage? Now that's ignorance.
Jesus even asked them ... "If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?"
If there is a lesson to learn from this unforgivable situation that the mouths of the Pharisees got themselves into ... it is to be slow to speak, and when we do speak ... give God all the credit and praise for every good gift that comes your way.
The Pharisees thought they could discredit and harm the good reputation of Jesus and the works of the Holy Spirit in His life. Didn't happen, did it? Instead, they ended up in deep trouble ... unforgivable blasphemy ... as far as we understand it. But in truth, forgiveness is up to God.
I don't know if any of these Pharisees were ever forgiven for this sin. If any of them later accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord ... then they were forgiven. You may ask ... "How do you know that?" John 3:16 says ... "Whosoever believes" ... which includes even those who speak out of ignorance and unbelief.
May I give you my opinion on the unpardonable sin?
"The only unpardonable sin, is sin that is unconfessed."