The Unpardonable Sin [1]

Matt. 12:22-32


Be sure to read all the above scripture, even though it is a lengthily reading.  This subject of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost must be understood in light of the context.

            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.  The "sin unto death" (I John 5:16), is not the unpardonable sin for a saved person can sin unto death, and only a lost person can commit the unpardonable sin or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  Please notice that the book of I John is written to saved people, therefore John speaks about the sin unto death.  Jesus is talking to lost people in Matt. 12 and talks about the unpardonable sin, or blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.  Therefore the unpardonable sin (blasphemy of the Holy Ghost) refers only to those that are lost, and the sin unto death refers only to those that are saved.

            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.

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.

      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.

      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.

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 blaspheme, or to speak injuriously against Christ, something like Peter who denied Jesus three times.  Peter did not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit or lose his salvation, and the believers Paul compelled to blaspheme didn’t lose their salvation either.

The believers Paul forced to blaspheme could not blaspheme the Holy Ghost.  The reason?  There must be (1) light in the mind and (2) malice in the heart in order to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.  These believers were forced to blasphemy, they had no malice in their hearts against God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, or any of God's works. 

3.   Rom. 2:24, Paul tells the Baptist church located at Rome, Italy, 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.  Do you understand that in order to blaspheme, it must be intentional.  It cannot be accidental.

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."

3.   Can the Holy Spirit be blasphemed today?  YES.  Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is when a person knows God did a certain work, but he attributes that work of God to Satan, or when a person knows Satan did a certain work, but he attributes that work of Satan to God.  Both Satan and God are working today - are they not?

[1]See this study also in: winword\articles\unpardon.doc

More information on this subject can be found in the following files. (as of 7/22/96)