Have I committed the unpardonable sin?
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so, I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the 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.” Matthew 12:30-33
Here, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is spoken of by Jesus as the only unpardonable sin. The misunderstanding of this passage has caused many people trapped in the lies of their emotions and in homosexual sin and bondage, to despair and go back to sin because, in a fit of rage, they had cursed God or shaken a fist at Him, renounced Him or torn up and thrown away a Bible.
So this Scripture, when read in a state of shame and guilt, can be misread to mean, “I have no hope – I’ve committed the unpardonable sin.” Many even think homosexuality is the unpardonable sin. This is totally false.
We must always remember that the glorious truth of the Gospel is that the greatness of the sin is no bar to our acceptance by God if we truly repent and believe the Gospel. All kinds of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven. Mercy is even extended by God to blasphemy, a sin immediately touching God’s name and honor. St. Paul obtained mercy, who had been a blasphemer.
“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 1:13
So by Jesus’ words and the testimony of St. Paul, we see there is no sin or blasphemy that cannot be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. (Many who reviled Jesus at the time of his death repented and found mercy.)
So what is this only unpardonable sin – blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? In the writing of the biblical commentator, Matthew Henry, it is defined.
“What is this sin? It is speaking against the Holy Spirit. See what malignity there is in tongue-sins, when the only unpardonable sin is so. But Jesus knew their thoughts (verse 25). It is not all speaking against the person or essence of the Holy Spirit, or merely the resisting of his internal working in the sinner himself, that is meant here; for who then should be saved?
None are excepted by name, nor any by description, but those only that blaspheme the Holy Spirit. This blasphemy is excepted, not for any defect of mercy in God, or merit in Christ, but because it inevitably leaves the sinner in infidelity and impenitency.
Those who fear they have committed this sin, give a good sign that they have not. Those therefore who blaspheme this dispensation of the Spirit, cannot possibly be brought to believe in Christ; those who shall impute them to a collusion with Satan, as the Pharisees did the miracles, what can convince them?
This is such a stronghold of infidelity, as a man can never be beaten out of, and is therefore unpardonable, because repentance is hid from the sinner’s eyes. See the sentence that is passed upon it: It shall not be forgiven, neither in this world nor in the world to come. There is no cure for a sin so directly against the remedy”. (Pg 108 – The Bethany Parallel Commentary of the New Testament, Bethany House Publishers, 1983, 6820 Auto Club Road, Minneapolis, MN 55438.
Another commentator, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, put it in a very clear context:
“What then is this sin against the Holy Spirit – the unpardonable sin? One thing is clear: Its unpardonableness cannot arise from anything in the nature of sin itself; for that would be a naked contradiction to the emphatic declaration of verse 31 that all manner of sin is pardonable. And what is this but the fundamental truth of the Gospel? (See Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 3:22, 24; I John 1:7, etc.)
It [the Lord’s meaning] is a contrast between slandering the “Son of Man” in His veiled condition and unfinished work which might be done in “ignorance and unbelief” (I Timothy 1:13), and slandering the same blessed Person after the blaze of glory which the Holy Ghost was soon to throw around His claims, and in the full knowledge of all that.
This would be to slander Him with eyes open, or to do it “presumptuously. To blaspheme Christ in the former condition – when even the apostles stumbled at many things – left them still open to conviction on fuller light: but to blaspheme Him in the latter condition would be to hate the light the clearer it became, and resolutely to shut it out; which, of course, precludes salvation. (See Hebrews 10:26-29.)
The Pharisees had not as yet done this; but in charging Jesus with being in league with hell, they were displaying beforehand a malignant determination to shut their eyes to all evidence and so bordering upon, and in spirit committing, the unpardonable sin.” (Ibid.)
While writing this section, I was moved to call a man that I believed was in the same state as the Pharisees. He had been a victim of child abuse. His mother had hit him and cursed him to the point that he would have blackouts from rage and hatred in which he would curse his parents and see them as cooperating with the powers of Hell.
He felt a dark force was out to get him, and when his mother abused him, he personified God to be like his father who didn’t protect him and prevent the abuse. All of this was internal, but we believe it was a kind of childhood mini-breakdown where he began, in his pain and victim state, to blend the powers of evil with God and his parents.
That is to say, his parents abused him and God allowed it to happen. Now, after years of incest, homosexuality, and a case against God, he sees every trial as a punishment God sends to harm him or to deprive him of all his dreams and hopes. Therefore, though he really moves in power spiritually to minister to others (against our counsel), he envies and resents what God works in others through him.
He cannot receive good from God because he hits the old “punishment” syndrome when he thinks of God. “He’s out to get me, to take everything away, to torture me, so why not sin?” He used to be fixated on having all his money taken away by God with no job, no future, no hope, and being a homeless person. But now that fixation is broken and he has no fears of homelessness.
This strengthens his hope to be free of the “God is evil” syndrome. But he gets weary because it seems so hopeless when one is in the midst of the lie. He turns into an angry, helpless, little boy victim and feels God is the all-powerful evil torturer. He used to be fixated on spanking prior to homosexual sex as a result of the emotional trauma and the sexualized punishment. He feels that God will not give him a wife or family and this gives him great pain.
We have called him to a serious focus on this lie so he can be free, because he is in the spirit of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit though he has not fallen into the sin. He’s in a danger zone. But God has great mercy and has quickened us to fight to pull him into truth.
He has made tremendous progress through turning from the lie of “God as punisher” and writing every day a group of praises to God and stating that he believes God loves him and has good things for him. At first this felt strange to him, but, more and more, it is breaking down the lie and establishing the truth about God. All of this had to be coupled with prayers and deliverance.
We hope this clears up the problem of the unpardonable sin and why so many fall for Satan’s lies that they have committed it when they have not.
Come, Let Us Reason Together – Part 3
by Joanne Highley