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Bible Basics-The Unforgivable Sin

Commit This One Sin and That’s it…No Forgiveness from Jesus?

One passage of Scripture which, over the years, I have found causes concern among people involves the “unpardonable sin.” What exactly is it? Who commits it? Can a Christian slip up and that’s it? Basically, what does it mean?

Specifically, Jesus himself mentions it in three of the Gospels.

Mathew 12:31-32

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy

against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever

speaks against the

Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.


Mark 3:28-29

Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies

they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is

guilty of an eternal sin


Luke 12:10

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.

It seems like a pretty big deal. So, to get a basic understanding of this, it is good for us to add context, or an understanding of what was going on.

The Context

As we compare all 3 passages, each one adds details to the story.  Mark (3:20) tells us Jesus had went home. Luke tells us (11:14) that Jesus was casting out a demon from a person. Mathew tells us (Chap. 12) that He had already healed on the Sabbath and had gotten the attention of the Pharisees. They came from Jerusalem and set out to trap Him.

We also know from each that there were huge crowds, and from Mark’s and Mathews account, we know that His family came to get Him because they thought He had “lost His senses.”

Seeing the miracles with the multitudes of people, the Pharisees could not deny the miracles had happened. So instead, they said that by the powers of satan, Jesus had drove out the demons. Essentially, they had attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan.


That is where Jesus drew the line. Say anything you want about Jesus and it's still forgiveable. Blaspheme the work of the Spirit, you cannot be pardoned. So what does this basically mean?

To understand that, we have to a basic understanding of the Holy Spirit, as it pertains to us. The Holy Spirit is the worker, it is truth and works around us and within us to fulfill the promises of God.

This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 1 John 5:6-7

It gives us an awareness of God, and beckons to us on behalf of God to accept a restored relationship through the work of Jesus. It gives us encouragement and conviction. But it is, to us foremost, a guide to truth.

Ignorance of that is not unpardonable. But, the Pharisees were aware the miracles had happened and actively tried to lead people astray by listing it as satan.. That’s the key to a basic understanding. "Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is conscious and hardened opposition to the truth, because the Spirit is truth. Conscious and hardened resistance to the truth leads man away from humility and repentance, and without repentance there can be no forgiveness. That is why the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven, since one who does not acknowledge his sin does not seek to have it forgiven.

It’s not ignorance. It’s willful and ongoing.  It’s knowing there’s a chance for restoration and openly rejecting it. Deliberate. Self is more important.

More specific interpretations vary among denominations. But most generally agree that one who has committed the sin is no longer able to repent nor wants to, so logic dictates that one who is fearful that they have committed it has not committed it.


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