31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:12-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10)

The Lord Jesus explained to the disciples that there is a difference between criticism of Him and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Those who speak against Christ can be forgiven if they repent and believe. But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin. This is the sin of which the Pharisees were guilty (Matthew 12:12-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10).

What is this sin? It is the sin of attributing the miracles of the Lord Jesus to the devil. It is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit because Jesus performed all His miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it was in effect saying that the Holy Spirit of God is the devil. There is no forgiveness for this sin in this age or in the age to come. All kinds of sin can be forgiven, but this particular sin has no forgiveness. It is an eternal sin.

1. Why Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit Is the Unpardonable Sin?

It is the Holy Spirit's role to bring about conviction in the heart of man. To resist the Spirit is a dreadful sin (Acts 7:51; cf. also Acts 6:10). Willful sin against the knowledge the truth is to insult the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29).

The one sin that is unforgivable is unbelief or rejection of Christ. Note in the passage quoted below that the convicting work of the Spirit is related to giving demonstrable proof that it is the sin of rejection that is the issue:

"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged" (John 16:8-11).

To reject Christ and claim His works were from Satan was a clear evidence of both unbelief and an unrepentant heart. This demonstrated a heart that had become so hard that it precluded repentance because Christ's words and works were a clear evidence of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in Him as the Anointed One, the Messiah of the Old Testament. By regarding the Lord Jesus as a demon-possessed imposter, one cuts himself off from all hope of salvation. In repudiating the great Forgiver, he seals his own doom making forgiveness impossible. That's why it was considered unpardonable.

2. Can People Commit this Particular Sin Today?

If a man wilfully resists the Holy Spirit's role to bring about conviction in his own heart (i.e. he hardens himself), then he seals his own doom making forgiveness impossible. If he dies in unbelief, he can no longer be forgiven. His sin then, in fact, becomes unpardonable.  

3. Can True Believers Commit this Particular Sin Today?

The sin cannot be committed by true believers, though some are tortured by fears that they have committed it by backsliding. Backsliding is not the unpardonable sin; any backslider can be restored to fellowship with the Lord (see 1 John 1:9). True believers who worry that they have committed the unpardonable sin have not done so. The very fact that they are concerned indicates that they are not guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.


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