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What is the unforgivable sin?

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the 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. Matthew 12:30-32

There was recently a movement to proclaim blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  Those involved believed that by uttering one simple phrase, found in Matthew 12:30-32, they would seal up their fate in five seconds, making them unforgivable and doomed to hell.

The phrase, “I blaspheme the Holy Spirit.”

Thankfully, it just doesn’t work that way.

What they failed to understand was the context of that verse. In Matthew 12, Jesus addressed Pharisees who just witnessed the healing of a demon-possessed man and accused Jesus of being friends with the devil. The Pharisees’ hard hearts kept them from believing a miracle that occurred right in front of their own eyes.  Jesus said they were guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

To answer what is so unforgiveable about that we need to know what blasphemy is. Simply, blasphemy is any rejection of God. It comes in many forms and deeds.

Notice Jesus said that you can be forgiven for any blasphemy you utter towards Him, but not the Holy Spirit.

So what does the Holy Spirit do? Jesus told us:

When he comes (the Holy Spirit), he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” John 16:8-15

        The Holy Spirit’s job is to:
  • Convict the world of sin
  • Convict the world that it needs righteousness
  • Convict the world of a coming judgment
  • Guide us into all truth
  • Speak for God
  • Bring glory to God
  • Make Jesus known to us
These are ongoing tasks, not one-time opportunities. God wants our attention and uses the Holy Spirit to bang on the door of our hearts constantly. The Pharisees refused God’s invitation, over and over again.

Jesus was not talking about a one time verbal assault on God, but an ongoing rejection of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives.

If we continue to reject God (blasphemy) over and over again, there comes a point when we cannot be forgiven. We have crossed the point of no return. When is that? For most, when we die. For some, like the Pharisees who had made up their minds and would never change, it could be while they are alive. Only God would know that.

No sin is unforgivable in the Bible, only the ongoing rejection of God’s attempts to get your attention and draw you closer to Him.