In our series What is the Elephant in your Living Room I addressed the questions regarding unforgivable sins. As we were suddenly struck with technical difficulties and everyone was without the visual aid of the slides, here are some summary notes and points.
Where do we see "unforgivable sins" in the Bible?
- Matthew 12:22-32 & Mark 3:22-30, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
- Hebrews 6:4-6 & 10:26-29
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
Many have asked me this question sincerely wondering through the years, "Have I blasphemed the Holy Spirit?" My general response to each is always the same, and though it seems lighthearted on the surface, it is actually a genuine and true encouragement: "If you're seriously concerned whether or not you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, then Fear Not! You haven't!"
How can I seemingly glibly make such a response? Let's see:
Wayne Grudem, in his epic and useful tome Systematic Theology , p. 508, in my ©1994 edition, outlines three requirements and characteristics for those who actually blaspheme the Holy Spirit. They are:
- A clear knowledge of who Christ is and the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.
- A willful rejection of the facts about Christ that his opponents knew to be true, and
- Slanderously attributing the work of the Holy Spirit in Christ to the power of Satan.
A quick review of these makes it clear why I respond the way I do to those with this fear, for the fear is illusory: Anyone genuinely concerned about having done this hasn't done it because the person who has blasphemed the Spirit wouldn't be concerned about having done so. They wouldn't care because they reject Christ and His Holy Spirit. They knowingly and provocatively make their slanderous statements from a heart thoroughly hardened.
What about those other passages?
Both of the passages in Hebrews (6:4-6 and 10:26-29) deal with people who have made confessions of faith in Jesus, but then thoroughly and irrevocably apostatized (abandoned, denied, forsaken, broken with, renounced, etc.) their faith. Again, if you're concerned you've done this, then you likely haven't, because you're not apostatized.
One more passage of concern
What is the "sin that leads to death" versus those that don't "lead to death" in 1 John 5:16-17?
Basically, it's this: If anyone dies in their sins - in other words, having not confessed and followed Jesus in this life, then they die unrepentant. Salvation comes only by the Person of Jesus, and our personal positive response to Him. He alone provides the payment for our all our sins. For any who don't accept his substitutionary sacrifice, then we pay the price for our own sins: Eternal separation from God.
That sounds harsh. And it is. But here's the Good News. The eternal Father God doesn't want you do die in your sins. That's why Jesus the eternal Son came in the flesh, lived a sinless life, allowed Himself to be reviled, tortured, killed and buried. Because He was/is sinless, death had no power over Him, and He was resurrected! And having provided the perfect (i.e. sinless) human sacrifice - the only one ever in all human history - He offers it freely to all by faith in Him.
The ONE unforgivable sin is to reject - even to simply neglect - Jesus, His message, His offer, and His salvation in this life.
Will you accept Him and His offer today? Will you choose to follow Him all the rest of your days on this globe? If so, then you have a great hope in this life and the next.
Reply in the comments to this blog or call me at the church office. I look forward to hearing from you.