Matt. 12:31,32, Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.


We must state at the very beginning that the unpardonable sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the same thing. As for the "sin unto death" (I John 5:16), I seriously doubt it is the unpardonable sin for a saved person can sin unto death, and only a lost person can commit the unpardonable sin.

There is a sin unto death.

1) I John 5:16 states, "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it." This is a brother (a saved person) who commits this sin.

2) What is this sin? I don’t know, but it never pays to sin willfully against God.

3) Hebrews 10:26 – Here is a sin where there is no hope for forgiveness. A simple (and very common) thing like willfully absenting from church services is considered a terrible sin because that sin tramples upon the blood of Christ, and is very discouraging to other believers, as well as unbelievers.

4) James 5:19,20 declares, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." I believe this passage is speaking to and about saved people, because the book of James is written to believers. The statement is made to "brethren," not unbelievers. My notes on James 5:19-20 can be found at the end of this article.  

5) Examples of the sin unto death.

a) Saul disobeyed the command of God to kill all the Amalekites, and lost the good spirit from the Lord and received an evil spirit instead. He continued to rule for 38 years, but never had the blessings of God upon him.

b) It is likely Moses also committed the sin unto death, but I am not at all sure about whether his sin would be called a sin unto death. He struck the rock twice instead of striking it once, then speaking to it the next time. He was unable to go into the promised land because of this sin.

There is also a difference between an unpardoned sin and an unpardonable sin. There are many unpardoned sins which will be forgiven when asked, but there is only one unpardonable sin.

Point # 1 – What The Unpardonable Sin is not

1. It is not any sin against men. All sins (these are more correctly stated to be "trespasses") against men (murder, rape, adultery, stealing, lying, etc.;) can be forgiven.

2. It is not any sin against Jesus Christ. A person can deny all the doctrines of Christ and still be forgiven, according to the text.

a. I have been very disturbed to hear a great many preachers preach that the unpardonable sin is rejecting Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. This theory is false for it teaches that as soon as a lost person rejects Christ, they have committed the unpardonable sin and are doomed to an eternal hell! I believe it is safe to say that practically nobody was saved when Christ first dealt with them concerning salvation. We were all saved only after repeated dealings by the Holy Spirit. Of course, if a person rejects Christ until he dies, his sins are unforgiven, but this does not mean he has committed the unpardonable sin. If we say that the unpardonable sin is rejecting Christ as our personal Saviour, this disregards entirely the doctrine of "Total Depravity" and the work of the Holy Spirit in redemption. All are lost and will reject Christ until His Holy Spirit condemns them and draws them to a loving and saving Christ.

b. I was in a meeting one time where there were several preachers present. Before the meeting, the pastor asked several of the pastors present if they would meet together to pray for the meeting. We met in one of the Sunday School rooms and before prayer, the evangelist asked for special prayer for himself that night as he was going to preach on the unpardonable sin. I thought this was going to be interesting, as I considered that a strange subject for an evangelistic meeting. The evangelist preached that the unpardonable sin was rejecting Christ as ones personal saviour. I thought then he was wrong, and I still think he was wrong. The reasons are in the above paragraph.

c. Jesus makes it very clear that sins against Himself, and some sins against the Holy Spirit, shall be forgiven. It is a particular sin against the Holy Spirit that will not be forgiven.

3. It is not any sin against the ten commandments. Christ died on the cross to save sinners from the curse of the law, Gal. 3:13.

4. It is not any sin against God the Father. The text says, "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men".

5. It is not every sin against the Holy Spirit.

a. I Thess. 5:19 - The Holy Spirit can be quenched,

b. Eph. 4:30 - The Holy Spirit can be grieved.

c. Acts 7:51,52 - The Holy Spirit can be resisted.

d. All of these sins can be forgiven, if the sinner will only ask.

Point # 2 – What the Unpardonable Sin is

According to the text, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (the unpardonable sin) is attributing a work of God to Satan, or attributing a work of Satan to God. Blasphemy is to speak injuriously.

Please notice that every blasphemy is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

1. Acts 13:45, the Jews at Antioch contradicted and blasphemed those things spoken by Paul. In verse 46, Paul states they had put the gospel from them, judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life. The Bible does not state they committed the unpardonable sin.

2. Acts 26:11, Paul compelled the believers to blasphemy, or to speak injuriously against Christ, probably something like Peter who denied Jesus three times. Peter did not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit or lose his salvation, and these believers didn't either.

3. Rom. 2:24, Paul tells the Roman church that they have caused the name of Christ to be blasphemed among the Gentiles, yet this sin can be forgiven if they will only ask, I John 1:8-10.

4. I Tim. 1:13, Paul says that before he was saved, he was a blasphemer, but he obtained mercy because he did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Point # 3 – Conditions under which the Holy Spirit is Blasphemed

1. There must be an unmistakable work of the Spirit. Our text clearly indicates that a miracle had been performed which the Jews could not deny. They knew God performed this miracle, but accused Jesus of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.

2. There must be a knowledge that the work is of God. In I Tim. 1:13, Paul obtained forgiveness of blasphemy because he did it ignorantly in unbelief, but these Pharisees were not ignorant. Thos. Goodwyn, one of the Puritans, says that two things are necessary in committing the unpardonable sin: "Light in the mind and malice in the heart."


Notes on James 5:19-20

Aid To Fallen Brethren

Verse 19,20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; {20} Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

These two verses are an encouragement to help a fallen brother. It is not a means of salvation or of hiding (erasing) our sins. Not talking about doing penance, atonement, restitution or amends for our sins, or paying for our own sins.

I. Things that a brother in Christ could fall from:

A. Christ, who is the truth.

1. by forsaking His ways,

2. His worship,

3. His ordinances.

B. The Scriptures of truth.

1. not speaking according to the scriptures.

2. embracing notions that are contrary to them.

C. The Gospel, the word of truth. (after making a profession of Christianity, joining a local church of the Lord Jesus Christ and has walked in the path of truth and holiness.)

1. From the doctrine of faith.

2. from uprightness of life and conversation.

D. He is fallen in principle, practice, or both.

1. If he has fallen in principle, he will soon fall in practice.

2. It is always necessary to fall in principle before there is a fall in practice.

II. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth.

A. Brethren - a saved person. A person in the commonwealth of faith.

B. Sometimes saved people err from the truth.

C. The error is either doctrinal or a falling into sinful practices.

D. We ought to have such a love for our brethren that we would constantly encourage them to remain faithful to God's Word. (even when they're not going away)

E. If we see our brother going away from the truth, our love for him should cause us to be especially eager to help by carefully pointing out his sin, but never to condemning (judging) him.

III. And one convert him. (helping a fallen brother to understand where the real focus of his a happy, contented life is.)

A. Means to turn, turn about again.

B. Luke 22:32 - Jesus tells Peter to strengthen the brethren when he is converted. (Not saved, but stop trusting in himself and start trusting in God.)

C. Acts 15:3 - Paul and Barnabas tells of the conversion of the Gentiles (speaks of more than salvation, but a changed life).

IV. Let him know - so the one who helps will be encouraged.

A. Verse 20 shows the blessings that will come when a rebellious saved person is encouraged to return to faithfulness.

B. How do we convert a sinner from the error of his ways?

1. II Tim. 3:16 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2. By reproving them: using the Word of God to show them where and how they have gone astray.

3. By encouraging them: show them that the blessings of God is much, much greater than the pleasures of sin for a season.

4. By praying for them.

a. James has just finished saying that the prayer of faith shall save the physically sick.

b. He now enlarges on that thought by saying that the prayer of faith shall return the rebellious to the fold of God.

V. converteth the sinner from the error of his way.

A. Any sinner, but it'll most likely be a sinner we are well acquainted with.

B. Reclaiming people from the snare of sin is a work of God that we are responsible to do.

1. We do this work by the grace of God.

2. Matt. 7:1-5 - God has not set us up as a judge that we try to get everybody to fit into our mold.

3. Gal. 5:1-5 - We must bear others burdens, while we (and they) bear their own burdens. We must help them and they helping us.

C. The reason for converting the sinner is for the truth's sake (that they will understand, believe and live the truth).

1. Not that we shall receive any reward at all.

2. Our reward is III John 4 - "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

VI. Save a soul from death.

A. Save his life from destruction, not the soul from eternal damnation.

1. A person won't have to endure the penalty of sin.

2. If there are no sins, there is no penalty to pay.

B. The soul of the one converted.

1. The word "soul" in this place does not refer to the eternal soul, but to the life of the saved person.

2. Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, there is no other.

3. Jesus Christ does intend for us to be used of one another to aid and encourage to faithfulness.

4. I Tim. 4:16 - Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

5. This verse doesn't mean that Timothy will save anybody from eternal hell, but by taking heed to his life, he can not only save himself, but those that watch him.

C. Death of the soul.

1. In eternal hell (if the soul refers to the spirit). This is not the case in this passage.

2. or a wasted life (if the soul refers to the life). This is the case in this passage.

VII. Shall hide a multitude of sins.

A. The word "hide" means to hinder the knowledge of a thing.

1. The sins of the one converted will be hidden, or stopped, therefore will be hidden from knowledge.

2. Relating to responsibility VS the sovereignty of God – God knows all about everything, even our sins, yet we are always responsible to live correctly before a most holy God.

B. Not the sins of the one doing the converting.

1. A danger of believing that something other than the atonement takes care of our sins.

2. A danger of believing that our works cause us to be acceptable to God.

C. All the sins the person committed during their rebellion against God would be forgiven.

D. All the sins the person would have committed if they had continued on their rebellious way would never have been committed.

1. There are many paths of our lives. We are not programmed robots, but we make choices (which God already knows about, of course). We can go down the path of sin, or the path of righteousness.

2. There are many paths of sin we can walk down, but the path of righteousness is strait and narrow. (Matt. 7:13)

a. People can either help us or hurt us.

b. We can either help or hurt others.

c. Many times God leaves the choice with us as to whether we will serve God or Satan (ourselves - our fleshly lusts).

d. I Sam. 23:7-15 - God left the decisions to David. There would be various results according to David's actions.

e. II Chron. 7:14 - "If my people..." God knows what Israel will do, but leaves the choice to them as to which path they chose to walk.

f. Joshua 24;15 - Joshua told Israel to "...choose this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.