The Unpardonable Sin
Whenever you are trying to understand a part of Scripture,
there are some guidelines to follow.
Study it in its context, in other words look carefully at the surrounding verses.
You should look at it in light of its Biblical history and background.
The Bible is cohesive.
It is one story, the amazing story of God’s plan of redemption.
No part can be understood alone.
It is a good idea to ask questions about a passage or topic,
such as, who, what, where, when, why and how.
When it comes to the question of whether or not a person
has committed the unpardonable sin, background is important to its understanding.
Jesus began His ministry of preaching and healing
six months after John the Baptist began his.
John was sent by God to prepare people to receive Jesus and as a witness to Who He was.
John 1:7 “to bear witness to the Light." John 1:14&15, 19-36
God told John that he would see the Spirit descend and abide upon Him.
John 1:32-34 John said “he bare record that this was the Son of God.”
He also said of Him, “Behold the Lamb of God that
takes away the son of the world. John 1:29 See also John 5:33
The priests and Levites (religious leaders of the Jews)
were aware of both John and Jesus.
The Pharisees (another group of Jewish leaders)
began to ask them who they were and by what authority they were preaching and teaching.
It seems they began to see them as a threat.
They asked John if he were the Christ (he said he was not) or
“that prophet.” John 1:21 This is very important to the question at hand.
The phrase “that prophet” comes from the prophecy given to Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15
and is explained in Deuteronomy 34:10-12 where God tells Moses
that another prophet would come who would be like himself and preach
and do great wonders (a prophecy about Christ).
This and other Old Testament prophecies were given so people
would recognize the Christ (the Messiah) when He came.
So Jesus began to preach and show people that He was the promised Messiah
and to prove it by mighty wonders.
He made the claim that He spoke the words of God and that He came from God.
(John chapter 1, Hebrews chapter 1, John 3:16, John 7:16)
In John 12:49&50 Jesus said, “I (do) not speak of my own accord,
but the Father Who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.”
By teaching and doing miracles Jesus fulfilled both aspects of Moses’ prophecy. John 7:40
The Pharisees were knowledgeable in Old Testament Scripture;
familiar with all these Messianic prophecies.
Read John 5:36-47 to see what Jesus said about this.
In verse 46 of that passage Jesus claims to be “that prophet” by saying “he spoke of me.”
Read also Acts 3:22 Many people were asking if He were the Christ
or “the Son of David.” Matthew 12:23
This background and the Scriptures about it all connect to the question
of the unpardonable sin.
All of these facts come up in the passages about this question.
They are found in Matthew 12:22-37; Mark 3:20-30 and Luke 11:14-54,
especially verse 52.
Please read these carefully if you want to understand the issue.
The situation is about Who Jesus is and Who empowered Him to do miracles.
By this time the Pharisees are jealous of Him, testing Him,
trying to trip Him up with questions and refusing to acknowledge
Who He is and refusing to come to Him that they might have life. John 5:36-47
According to Matthew 12:14&15 they were even trying to kill Him.
See also John 10:31. It appears that the Pharisees followed Him
(perhaps mingling with the crowds who gathered to hear Him preach and do miracles)
in order to keep watch on Him.
On this particular occasion concerning the unpardonable sin
Mark 3:22 states that they came down from Jerusalem.
They apparently followed Him when he left the crowds to go somewhere else
because they wanted to find a reason to kill Him.
There Jesus drove out a demon from a man and healed him.
It is here that the sin in question occurs. Matthew 12:24
“When the Pharisees heard this they said, ‘it is only by Baalzebub the prince of demons
that this fellow drives out demons.” (Baalzebub is another name for Satan.)
It is at the end of this passage where Jesus concludes by saying,
“whoso speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him,
neither in this world nor in the world to come.”
This is the unpardonable sin: “they said that He had an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:30
The whole discourse, which includes the remarks about the unpardonable sin,
is directed at the Pharisees.
Jesus knew their thoughts and He spoke to them directly about what they were saying.
Jesus’ whole discourse and His judgment on them is based on their thoughts and words;
He started with that and ended with that.
Simply stated the unpardonable sin is crediting or attributing Jesus’ wonders and miracles,
especially casting out demons, to an unclean spirit.
The Scofield Reference Bible says in the notes on page 1013 about Mark 3:29&30
that the unpardonable sin is “ascribing to Satan the works of the Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is involved – He empowered Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 12:28,
“If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God then the kingdom of God has come unto you.”
He concludes by saying wherefore (that is because you say these things)
“blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto you.” Matthew 12:31
There is no other explanation in Scripture saying what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is.
Remember the background. Jesus had the witness of John the Baptist (John 1:32-34)
that the Spirit was upon Him.
Words used in the dictionary to describe blasphemy
are to profane, revile, insult and show contempt.
Surely discrediting Jesus’ works fits this. We don’t like it when someone else
gets credit for what we do.
Imagine taking the Spirit’s work and crediting it to Satan.
Most scholars say this sin occurred only while Jesus was on the earth.
The reasoning behind this is that the Pharisees were eyewitnesses
to His miracles and heard firsthand accounts about them.
They were also learned in the Scriptural prophecies and were leaders
who were thus more accountable because of their position.
Knowing that John the Baptist said He was the Messiah and that Jesus
said His works proved Who He was, they still persistently refused to believe.
Worse still, in the very Scriptures which discuss this sin,
Jesus not only speaks of their blasphemy, but also accuses them of another fault
– that of scattering those who witnessed their blasphemy.
Matthew 12:30&31 “he who does not gather with me scatters.
And so I tell you…anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
All these things are linked together bringing Jesus’ harsh condemnation.
To discredit the Spirit is to discredit Christ, thus nullifying His work to any
who listened to what the Pharisees said.
It eradicates all of Christ’s teaching and salvation with it.
Jesus said of the Pharisees in Luke 11:23, 51&52 that not only did the Pharisees
not enter in but they hindered or prevented those who were entering. Matthew 23:13
"you shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces."
They should have been showing people the way and instead they were turning them away.
Read also John 5:33, 36, 40; 10:37&38 (actually the entire chapter)
; 14:10&11; 15:22-24.
To sum it up, they were guilty because: they knew; they saw; they had knowledge;
they did not believe; they kept others from believing and they blasphemed the Holy Spirit.
Vincent's Greek Word Studies adds another part of the explanation from Greek grammar
by pointing out that in Mark 3:30 the verb tense indicates that they kept on saying
or persisted in saying "He has an unclean spirit."
The evidence indicates that they kept on saying this even after the resurrection.
All the evidence indicates that the unpardonable sin is not one isolated act,
but a persistent pattern of behavior.
To say otherwise would negate the clear often repeated truth of the Scripture that
"whoever will may come." Revelation 22:17
John 3:14-16 "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man
must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
Romans 10:13 "for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"
God is calling us to believe in Christ and the gospel.
I Corinthians 15:3&4 "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,"
If you believe in Christ, surely you are not crediting His works to Satan’s
power and committing the unpardonable sin.
“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples,
which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30&31
Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today,
you'll be in the presence of the Lord in Heaven?
Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life.
Those who fall asleep in Jesus
shall be reunited with their loved ones in heaven.
Those you've laid in the grave in tears,
you shall meet them again with joy!
Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch...
never to part again!
Yet, if you don't believe in the Lord, you're going to hell.
There is no pleasant way to say it.
The Scripture says,
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
~ Romans 3:23
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved."
~ Romans 10:9
Don't fall asleep without Jesus
until you are assured of a place in heaven.
Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life
first you must believe in the Lord.
You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven
and put your trust in the Lord.
To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life.
There's only one way to heaven and that's through the Lord Jesus.
That's God's wonderful plan of salvation.
You can begin a personal relationship with Him
by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:
"Oh God, I'm a sinner.
I've been a sinner all of my life.
Forgive me, Lord.
I receive Jesus as my Savior.
I trust Him as my Lord.
Thank you for saving me.
In Jesus' name, Amen."
you have never received the
Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but
have received Him today after
reading this invitation, please let us know.
If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior,
but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know.
We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient.
God's Simple Plan of Salvation in Various Languages:
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We appreciate your prayers and look forward to meeting you in eternity!
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