Have I committed the unforgivable sin?

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It sounds like a contradiction.  Verses like Acts 13:39 and Titus 2:13-14 tell us that Jesus can forgive any sin.  The limitless power of Jesus sacrifice can atone for anything we could ever have done. Absolutely everything . . . except for that pesky passage in Matthew 12:22-32.

Matthew quickly tells of Jesus freeing a man from demon possession and moves on to the Savior’s ensuing dialogue with the Pharisees.  They had been saying among themselves that Jesus called on the power of Beelzebul (Satan) to send the demon away. First, Jesus points out how stupid that accusation was. Why would Satan drive out Satan? Isn’t he on the same team as himself?

Jesus goes on to say that not only is he not a minion of Satan, he is Satan’s more powerful enemy.  What they had witnessed in the exorcism was Jesus entering enemy territory, kicking the strong man’s butt (Satan), and robbing him of what was his (the man who was possessed).

But verses 31 and 32 are the ones that are the most scary for people:

And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (NIV)

Jesus had just noted how powerful he is with the whole invading Satan’s territory thing. He reiterates it here by saying that every kind of sin can be forgiven – because he is powerful enough to free us from it all.  He’s even willing to forgive people who have spoken badly of him! His is all powerful and he can save anyone.

Have you ever noticed that Jesus doesn’t say “I can’t forgive them,” when referring to people who have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit? Therein lies the explanation as to why this isn’t a contradiction. People tend to misinterpret this as Jesus’ inability or unwillingness to forgive people in this case. But the deficiency isn’t on his part; it’s on theirs.

These Pharisees weren’t calling Jesus out because of ignorance. They knew that he was who he said he was: the Son of God. They just refused to acknowledge him as such. So they were deliberately attributing God’s work to the Evil One. Not only did they reject the truth about God, they were calling God evil – and they knew better.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit remains unforgiven because people who continually reject the truth harden their hearts to the point where they can no longer receive it. The sin isn’t unforgivable because of Jesus’ inability to free them, but because they have made themselves unable to receive it. It isn’t a one time event, but a spiritual state that develops over time.

The fact that you are worried about having committed the unforgivable sin is a strong indication that you haven’t. So it’s time to reignite the hope that gives you joy in Jesus Christ. It’s time to live like you are free.

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2 thoughts on “Have I committed the unforgivable sin?

  1. Yeah, Karin. And what’s really cool is that he takes the responsibility from us when we acknowledge our culpability and ask him to take it for us (at least the punitive part). These Pharisees were still responsible for their sin because even though they knew Jesus was right, they weren’t humble enough to admit to it.

    Thanks for your comment.

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