How Did The Pharisees Commit The Unpardonable Sin
This passage is the response from Jesus to the Pharisees accusation that He was casting out demons by the power of the ruler of demons. The Pharisees knew better and because they knew better they knew that they were blaspheming. They were more concerned about their own power and influence over people than they were about pleasing God.
This gives us our first clue about what Jesus was talking about here. People who are concerned that they have committed the unpardonable sin are worried that they did something that was displeasing to God. This indicates that they obviously have not committed that sin. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts people of sin. If He had been blasphemed, then they would not be worried because they would not be convicted.
The second clue we get here is the fact that the Pharisees knew what they were doing. They knew that He was a teacher from God who was empowered by God.
3 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.
The Unforgivable Sin Is Not A Thoughtless Mistake
Some might think this sin can be committed unconsciously but the honest truth is the unforgivable sin is not something you commit randomly without you knowing.
The scribes did not just commit the sin randomly. If you follow up with the references in the book of Mark you will observe that there is a sequence to their unbelief. Initially, they were curious about Jesus and his ministry.
They had doubts about Jesus, with time they became ruthless, violent, and diabolic and as time went on they began to mastermind against him which led to Jesus being crucified
What Is The Unpardonable Sin
> Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.
I cannot tell you how many times in my teaching career very distraught Christians have come to me to ask about the unpardonable sin and whether they might have committed it. I suspect most believers have asked themselves whether they have done something unforgivable. It is not surprising that many people struggle with this issue because the precise nature of the unpardonable sin is difficult to discern and many theories about it have been set forth through church history. For instance, some people have argued that the unpardonable sin is murder and others have said that it is adultery, because they see the serious consequences that those sins wreak on the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. But I can speak with full assurance that neither of those sins is unpardonable. There are two reasons for my assurance. First, Scripture shows us examples of people who committed these sins and were forgiven. Exhibit A is David, who was guilty of both adultery and murder, and yet, after his confession and repentance, he was restored fully to his state of grace. Second, and more important, when Jesus taught on the unpardonable sin, He said nothing about murder or adultery.
What is Blasphemy?
Blasphemy Against the Son of Man
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View 4 Decisively Reject Clear Truth The Spirit Revealed About Jesus By Attributing His Mighty Works To Satan
Those who commit the unpardonable sin, explains John Calvin, with evil intention, resist Gods truth, although by its brightness they are so touched that they cannot claim ignorance.2 They decisively reject clear Spirit-revealed truth about Jesus by attributing his mighty works to Satan. They reject Jesus because they never repent. They continue to rebel against Jesus until they die. Instead of submitting to who Jesus is and recognizing that the Spirit empowered Jesus mighty works, they rebel against Jesus by declaring that Satan empowered his mighty works.
The unpardonable sin is not an accidental, impulsive, or unguarded slip of the tongue. It is deliberately repudiating the truth about Jesus. God responds to such rebellion by hardening the rebels heart and not giving that person a desire to repent and believe. The sin is unforgivable because God never enables that person to repent and believe. So this is a sin that only unbelievers can commit.
Only God knows who is guilty of this sin. It is impossible for a mere human to know with certainty that a fellow human has committed the unpardonable sin and is thus beyond repentance. Many people who appear to have committed this sin later repent and believe.
Expositors Bible CommentaryInstitutes of the Christian Religion
When Does A Religion Become An Obsession
People who experience this form of OCD suffer from obsessive religious doubts and fears, unwanted blasphemous thoughts and images, as well as compulsive religious rituals, reassurance seeking, and avoidance. People with religious OCD strongly believe in and fear punishment from a divine being or deity.
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View 1 Commit A Really Bad Sin Such As Adultery Murder Or Denying Christ Under Pressure
According to this popular view, most sins are forgivable, but sins such as adultery, murder, and denying Christ when threatened with persecution are so bad that they are unforgivable. This view is wrong not merely because it doesnt fit the literary context of Matthew 12, Mark 3, and Luke 12. It is wrong because the Bible includes examples of people who committed those very sins and received Gods forgiveness: King David committed adultery and murdered Uriah Paul testifies, formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent and the Apostle Peter denied Christ three times . Genuine Christians still sin in all kinds of waysincluding grieving the Holy Spirit of God . Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar: If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us . But God forgives repenting sinners because of Jesus: If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous .
Jesus Mentions The Unforgivable Sin In The Gospel Of Mark
Jesus christ resolved this argument in Mark 3:20-30, a verse that says Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation . This is one of the verses that is quoted first when this argument ensues.
To correctly understand the unforgivable sin, you have to look at the last phrase.
Look deeply at Jesus last statement in verses 28-30: OF mark 3Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation, because they said, He has an unclean spirit.
This particular verse has really caused serious arguments among Christians. To get the exact meaning, lets start with the last phrase, which tells us why he made this statement.
Jesus made this statement because some people accused him of being possessed by an unclean spirit . In other words, he was addressing them to be careful of what they say and the sin they commit because there is a sin that is unpardonable.
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What You Need To Understand About The Unpardonable Sin
In Matthew 12:2231, after Jesus had just cast a demon out of a man, the Pharisees accuse him of using the power of Satan to do so. In response, Jesus first points out that this is not only illogical, for what kingdom divides against itself , but that his signs, done in the power of Gods Spirit, actually reveal that Gods kingdom has entered into their reality and is standing before them . But then Jesus gives the Pharisees a rebuke, saying,
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
So what exactly is blasphemy against the Spirit, what many call the unpardonable sin?
Simply put, the unpardonable sin is the rejection of Gods grace. Lets consider again the context of Jesus words.
For the Pharisees, there was no misunderstanding, or ignorance, or confusion over what had been done. Their promised God stood in their midst, revealing himself to be gracious, loving, and good, and yet they called him evil. Jesus had liberated a demon-possessed man and restored his sight. And at this, the Pharisees shut their eyes and closed their ears, refusing to embrace Jesus as the Messiah. The Spirt had enlightened them to the truth of Christ, and yet they closed themselves up in darkness.
View 2 Assert What Is False About The Spirit
Most of the early church fathers who address the unpardonable sin take this view. For example, Cyril of Jerusalem asserts, A man must often fear to say, either from ignorance or assumed reverence, what is improper about the Holy Spirit, and thereby come under this condemnation .
This view is unlikely because it is describes the sin too generally. Many non-Christians have expressed false beliefs about the Spirit but later have become Christians and believed correctly about the Spirit. And many Christians have expressed false beliefs about the Spirit but later corrected those beliefs as they matured in understanding what the Bible reveals about the Spirit. For example, a Christian may realize that it is wrong to refer to the Holy Spirit as it since he is a person.
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Making A Willful Decision Against God
Several passages in the letter to the Hebrews talk about falling away from the faith. People backslide in a way that makes it hard for them to renew their repentance. How is that? Is every backslider doomed?
Lets look at Hebrews 6:1-6 in particular verses 4 through 6.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,
and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance,
since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Hebrews 6:4-6 NKJV
Backsliding and falling away from faith seems to be a recurring theme in the letter to the Hebrews.
We read in Hebrews 10:26-31, For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
If we sin willfully, it is like trampling on Jesus, taking His blood for granted, and insulting the Holy Spirit.
In Hebrews 12:16-17, the reader is warned not to be a fornicator and profane person like Esau. He willfully gave away his blessing just to fill his belly. Then shortly after Esau felt sorry, but he didnt repent. Therein lies the difference.
For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected,
for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Hebrews 12:17 NKJV
This is where we are headed.
What Does Falling Away Mean In The Bible
The second passage, Hebrews 6:4-6, is a powerful warning against abandoning the understanding of Gods Word, instruction and promises. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
This passage describes a person who had come to repentance, understood and accepted Gods forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, but subsequently, knowingly and intentionally rejected Jesus. This is a person who, even though he knows Gods authority, has intentionally set his mind to reject the gift of Gods Holy Spirit and to reject the only One through whom repentance is possible.
Repentance means to seek Gods forgiveness for sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and to commit to a lifetime of obedience, forsaking a previous way of life. When we repent, we receive the gift of Gods Holy Spirit by which we have an understanding of Gods goodness and eternal promises.
The sin that cannot be forgiven is a sin of which a person does not want to repent. It is the act of rejecting the sacrifice of Christ and intentionally choosing sin over repentance, forgiveness and obedience.
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The Unforgivable Sin: Evidence You Have Not Committed It
What is the unforgivable sin?
In this excerpt, adapted from Navigating Tough Texts: A Guide to Problem Passages in the New Testament, Murray J. Harris explains what it isand discusses the one thing that shows evidence you have not committed the sin God doesnt forgive.
Our English word blaspheme derives from two Greek wordsblapt and phm . To blaspheme is to injure the reputation of God by slanderous speech about him or by misusing his name . Originally blasphemy also involved the repudiation of the political and social order that God commanded and upheld. But today in the Western world, blasphemy has been watered down to the offense of religious hatred, and in particular, hate speech.
Who Is The Holy Spirit
He is The Creator Spirit, present before the creation of the universe and through his power everything was made in Jesus Christ, by God the Father.
For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Holy Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God..
Rejection Of The Holy Spirit
In the Old Testament, Israel rejected God the Father. In the Gospel records, they rejected God the Son. In early Acts, Israel rejected God the Holy Spirit. By blaspheming the Spirit in deliberate rebellion, they completed their rejection of the Godhead in totality. The Holy Spirit was their last chance to repent, believe, and be saved. Thats why blaspheming the third Person of the Trinity was unforgivable.
The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and then worked mightily in Israel with signs and wonders. Those signs and wonders, done in the name of Jesus Christ, confronted Israel and its leaders with overwhelming proof of Christs resurrection and Messiahship . Israels continued rejection of Christ was inexcusable in light of the Spirits ministry. Rather than heed the pleadings of the Spirit-filled apostles, the religious leaders ignored them and initiated a persecution against them in which they were threatened , imprisoned , and beaten .
Israels rejection of the Holy Spirit reached its zenith in Acts 7, when Stephen confronted their sin and unbelief. Stephen was a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost . He stood before the Sanhedrin, Israels ruling religious body, and challenged them about their willful rejection of Christ, their refusal to open their hearts, and their guilt of resisting the Holy Spirit:
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The Continuation Of Pharisaical Sin
Did the Pharisees repent and trust Christ? No.
After the resounding logical and theological beating the religious leaders had just suffered publically, they still would not humble themselves. Now they wanted a sign that Christ was from God.
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
Of course, our Lord would not give them another sign because they were rejected the signs right in front of them.
As a result, the Master gives them an even more stern warning and declares Himself the Messiah once again.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whales belly so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
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Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit
In other words, they look right into the light and then turn to the darkness. The key to the unpardonable sin, then, seems to lie in the role of the Holy Spirit, which is to reveal God and draw people to the truth. Anyone who rejects the work of the Spirit in their life is essentially rejecting any hope of salvation .
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 .
The context here suggests that the unpardonable sin was attributing to Satan Christs authenticating miracles done in the power of the Holy Spirit and never repenting of that attitude. In other words, the only unpardonable sin is a persistent refusal to acknowledge the presence of God in Christ.