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… Matthew 12:32
As a pastor I certainly have discovered over the years quite a number of people who have been afraid they have committed the unpardonable sin. People would ask, “Is there such a thing as an act or a deed or something so profound, something so deep, something so deeply wrong and sinful and wicked, that it really can’t even be forgiven by divine love?
Here is the short answer—Yes and No.
Read the rest of this article for the longer answer.
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him.
That’s what the Bible says everywhere. There’s nothing we actually do that would be somehow off limits and now God can’t do anything to save us.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” Isaiah 1:18
The prophet doesn’t say, “If your sins be as scarlet, all but one of them can be whiter than snow.” Think about this:
- King David kills a man, and probably others, in order to cover up his affair with Bathsheba, yet he’s forgiven. He’s brought back in; he’s accepted.
- Peter denied that he ever knew Jesus and punctuated that with a curse.
- Paul was a persecutor of Church people and a murderer of deacons, yet he’s forgiven and becomes an apostle.
Externally, over and over the Bible says, there is no one particular thing you could possibly do to put you outside of God’s mercy.
But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.
However, if you resist the work of the Holy Spirit to lead you to repentance, no sin is forgivable. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict us of all our sins.
And when (Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin… John 16:8
But once we become aware of that heaviness of heart we find comfort in the promise of Saint John…
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins… (1 John 1:9)
What this is saying is absolutely anything can be healed through this incredible medicine of humble, clean confession and repentance. But it also means without humility, confession, and repentance, nothing can be healed, even the little sins.
The Holy Spirit’s job is to get me to say, without hopelessness, anger, and blame shifting, “I was wrong.” If I resist that, even the tiniest sin can absolutely destroy my life. There’s a remedy for everything if you repent. There’s a remedy for nothing if you don’t.
Let’s just say you don’t have any big sins. But, you tend to be critical. But you will not admit how far away from God you are. For you, having a critical attitude is not as big of a deal as adultery, murder, or voting Democratic. But this critical spirit can ruin your life. I know lots of people who are lonelier than they need to be. People don’t want to be close to them. The critical spirit keeps them isolated. It’s like trying to cuddle with a porcupine.
A Christian parent who carps and criticizes all the time, they never see it, and they never change, their kids could grow up hating the faith, not because the parent is a hypocrite, not because they are having an affair, but just because they grow up hating that critical attitude about everything.
Kids know intuitively that a critical, censorious spirit is a fundamental violation of Christian love and it is anti-community and it repulses them. Growing up in that death-by-a-thousand-cuts “Christian” environment they turn their back on faith and say, “Look at this lack of Christian character.” They can see it, but you can’t. And because you can’t see it due to your resisting the interior work of the Holy Spirit, you will not confess it as what it is—cosmic treason. And without the confession there is not repentance and forgiveness.
And that what you call “little character flaw” will send you away from the bosom of God.
What Jesus is really saying here is with repentance anything can be healed; without repentance nothing can be healed.
Jesus is teaching that if you deny Him, disobey Him, ignore Him, call His name in curses, and any number of other things—He will forgive you. But if you resist the convicting presence of the Holy Spirit—you will not be forgiven. And the reason you won’t be forgiven is because you won’t see that you have done anything needing forgiveness—therefore you won’t ask for forgiveness.
Here’s your word of assurance. If you’re afraid you’ve committed the unpardonable sin, you haven’t. Because only the Holy Spirit can produce that worry in your heart, so celebrate your anxiety today!
I never understood just what the unforgivable sin was until today. Thanks, Joe!