What is the Unforgivable Sin?


I have had friends come to me after Bible studies or call me in the wee hours of the evening distressed — even crying — thinking that they’ve committed the unforgivable sin, that they’ve blasphemed the Holy Spirit and they’re toast! Done for! They probably stumbled across this Scripture:

Jesus said, “People will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness.”–Mark 3:28

Never have forgiveness?” Ouch. That stings a little bit. What does Jesus mean by this? The issue of blasphemy against the Spirit has bothered many Bible readers.

What is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?

665We read in the third commandment that blasphemies against God are prohibited. Blasphemy involves an utterance or action that purposefully defames God. Jesus says in Luke 12:10 that blaspheming God and taking Jesus’ own name in vain is forgivable. If the Trinity is one, what makes blasphemy of the Holy Spirit different?

Jesus seems to be referring to something greater than plainly speaking words or actions against God’s Spirit. Let’s look at the context of Mark 3:30… Jesus’ accusers were insisting that Jesus’ Spirit (the Holy Spirit) was at the core demonic, satanic, and evil! This isn’t about name-calling being unforgivable, but that their words would cause the speakers to reject God’s only offer of salvation. We must understand that the Holy Spirit is God’s final witness to Christ and his salvation.

Whatever is said about Jesus, if the whisper of the Spirit in the ear or the shout of his voice in creation and history is ignored fully and finally, there can be no forgiveness, because there will be no regeneration, no conversion, no repentance.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is tied to one of the Spirit’s most important works–revelation. In the end, it is the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Revelation who must turn the minds and hearts of the human race. If we do not listen to him, we shall never receive Christ, and if we never receive Christ, God will never forgive us.

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 Want to Learn More About the Holy Spirit?

Fifty days after Jesus died on the cross and ten days after he ascended into heaven, history changed forever as the Lord filled his disciples with the Holy Spirit. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the disciples boldly spread the good news throughout Jerusalem and thousands surrendered their lives to Christ. It is this event that Pentecost Sunday celebrates! Easily find out the significance of the timing and the missional impact of Pentecost with this FREE eChart:

    1. Timing of Pentecost—The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts occurred during the Feast of Pentecost. Find out the symbolic significance of this timing!
    2. Impact of Pentecost— Find out how the early church (empowered by the Holy Spirit) adapted to different audiences while keeping the core message of the Gospel the same—a valuable “missional” model for today’s church to follow! Includes a quick-reference comparison chart of 4 key speeches by Peter and Paul.

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