What is the unforgivable sin?
Anyone who wants to turn to Christ in repentance and faith, anyone who comes to him and says, “I’m sorry for my sins,” is forgiven.
Many Christians struggle with, what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? What is the unforgivable sin? Have I committed it? Many Christians feel tortured about this, even, and it can torment them.
I think a helpful way to think about it is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin, I think it’s the same sin as mortal sin in 1 John 5, the sin unto death. I think it’s the same sin as what we find in the warning passages in Hebrews, crucifying Christ again, trampling him under foot is the expression used. Outraging the Spirit, right? Insulting the Spirit of grace.
There’s a variety of ways that Scripture talks about what this sin is. In the historical context of the gospels, when Jesus talks about the blasphemy against the Spirit, who’s committed that sin? It’s the Pharisees. How have they committed that sin? They have attributed to the devil what Jesus Christ has done.
So Jesus Christ has healed a person who had a demon and he heals them and they say, “That’s not the work of God, that’s the work of the devil.” I think that’s immediately helpful. Can a Christian commit that sin? Can a Christian look at the work of Jesus Christ, can someone who believes in Jesus look at the work of Jesus Christ and say, “No, that’s the work of the devil”? I’d say, no, no Christian can, no Christian will ever commit that sin. And those who have committed that sin, they don’t care.
If you look at the work of Jesus, if you look at the work of the Spirit of God and you say, That’s the work of the devil, that’s demonic, that’s fundamentally evil, you’re not tortured by that, you think the other side is actually evil and contrary to the things of God, if you even believe in God.
So no Christian should fear, it’s often been said, but it’s true. If you fear that you’ve committed this sin, if you’re tortured by that, then you almost certainly haven’t committed that sin.
Anyone who wants to turn to Christ in repentance and faith, anyone who comes to him and says, “I’m sorry for my sins,” is forgiven. Those who have committed this sin, to put it another way, they never ever want to turn back. They’ve left Christianity behind, they’ve left Jesus Christ behind and how does it culminate in the gospels? They put Jesus to death. That’s the language of Hebrews again, isn’t it? They crucify the son of God, they utterly and totally reject him. No Christian does that, no Christian can do that.
Should we be concerned about sin in our lives? Absolutely. And we want to keep our hearts warm towards Jesus Christ. But the God who called us, he’ll keep us, he’ll preserve us and we will not repudiate him. The one who began a good work in us, Philippians 1:6, “will keep us until the day of Christ Jesus.”