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Of all questions in modern Christendom, none is more agonizing than this one. “Have I committed the unpardonable sin”, many ask; uncertain whether or not God has accepted their repentance, their faith is crippled and their spiritual progress stalled.

Many others fear for good friends and loved ones who have been in the church, been converted, and then for one reason or another drifted back into the world, perhaps in complete rebellion to die in their sins; are these people lost forever? Will their next moments of consciousness involve an angelic boot to the seat of the pants into a lake of fire?

Of all the wonderful pieces of understanding, perhaps none offers such comfort as the one you are about to read; none allows you to watch WITH UNDERSTANDING as a loved one makes a choice they will one day regret and walks away from God and the truth. None offers you hope for this persons future as this one does. So JUST WHAT IS THE UNPARDONABLE SIN? AND HAVE YOU COMMITTED IT?

There are three main scriptures that address this issue. I shall address each in order.

  1. Blasphemy against the holy spirit

Matthew 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.

And there you have it. If you blaspheme the holy spirit, you will NEVER be forgiven, and if you say (for example) “the holy spirit is STUPID!” then, whew, enjoy the rest of your life because the next time you wake up it’s lake-of-fire-time for you, buddy!

…but is that really what it says? I know that’s what everybody thinks. That this is the one sin even great, loving, merciful God can’t bring himself to forgive. But let me ask you a question. What is the wages of sin? Everybody knows this one. What’s that? Death, you say? Very good. The wages of sin is Death. How many deaths?

You don’t understand the question? OK, let me simplify. Is the wages of sin TEN deaths? When you sin, do you earn a penalty of TEN deaths? God resurrects you and kills you and resurrects you and kills you TEN TIMES to pay for your sins? Is THAT the wages of sin? No, of course not. Is it five deaths? Is the wages of sin TWO deaths? No? That’s correct; the wages of sin is ONE DEATH. (Romans 6:23)

You’re sure we’re clear on this? Good. The wages of sin is -A- death. ONE DEATH. Uno. The reason I ask is… when you die (after, for example, saying that the holy spirit is boring), what has happened? You died, right? Which means… you PAID the penalty for your sin, right? Which means if God decides to resurrect you, out of the goodness of His enormous heart and the grace bought with His OWN death… do you still OWE the law anything?

Before you died, after sinning all manner of heinous sins INCLUDING blaspheming the holy spirit, you OWED THE LAW A DEATH! And when you died, YOU PAID THE LAW YOUR DEBT! And if God resurrects you in “the world to come”, YOU DON’T OWE THE LAW A RED CENT!

Take your time; absorb this. Most people have never thought about this, but it’s quite simple. Now read Matthew 12:31-32 again. When you blaspheme the holy spirit in THIS LIFE, it will NOT be forgiven! And when you die, and pay the penalty for this life’s blaspemy, and are resurrected a new, clean creature, with a FRESH START AND A CLEAN SLATE, and if you THEN blaspheme the holy spirit in THAT LIFE, YOU WON’T BE FORGIVEN FOR IT THEN EITHER!

Now how simple is that? You earned a death penalty with your very first sin; and you will NOT get out of this life without paying that penalty – the law MUST have a payment. Of course, if you accept Christ and repent, you can apply HIS death as a payment for that debt – and then you are no longer under the penalty of the law (Romans 3:19, Galatians 5:18, etc). You are born, at repentance and Baptism, a NEWBORN CREATURE IN CHRIST! EVERYONE KNOWS THIS! Because the PENALTY OF YOUR SINS has been PAID for by the blood of JESUS CHRIST!

But people fail to realize that WHEN YOU DIE YOUR SINS ARE PAID FOR WITH YOUR OWN BLOOD! And when Christ resurrects you, the law has NO CLAIM OVER YOUR HEAD! You are a NEW CREATURE, with a NEW LIFE to live. But if you sin again in your new life, the law will AGAIN claim your life, and you will again have to seek to Christ to cover the penalty and take you out from under the law. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s cover the next scripture:

  1. Willful Sin

Hebrews 10:26-29 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

So there you have it. If you know something is a sin – and do it anyway, out of weakness, or rebellion, or torture, or pressure from your wife, or hunger – for any reason – if you KNOW something is wrong, and DO IT ANYWAY, THERE CAN NOT BE A SACRIFICE FOR YOUR SIN!

The Bible says that quite plain, and it means it quite literally. If you WILFULLY sin, you CANNOT be forgiven. Ever. Period. No amount of repentance, and no amount of sacrifice can ever bring you back to God’s presence. You must be totally and utterly destroyed. And this time I’m not being facetious. I mean it.

However.

You haven’t done this.

Hitler didn’t do this.

The coming man of sin will not do this.

How do I know? Because none of them know God.

Have you ever met God? Ever talked with Him, face-to-face? Did He, personally, give you the ten commandments, while being all shiny and glowing and powerful and stuff? I didn’t think so. You’ve heard about God. Men like me have told you about Him. You read about Him in a book, written over 2000 years ago by men long-dead, who may well have been hopped-up hippies on a shroom high. YOU DON’T KNOW, for ABSOLUTE CERTAIN, that GOD EXISTS!

You may think you do. You may be pretty sure He does. But let’s be honest. YOU CANNOT KNOW! You may have seen some things hard to explain. You may have no better explanation than Evolution for the ubiquitous question “how did we get here?”. You may even have seen inexplicable miracles happen around you. But you and I both know that there are other possible explanations. Unlikely, but possible. An outside chance remains that God doesn’t exist – and you know it.

Furthermore, you don’t know what He’s like – for certain. You understand some things about Him – you may think the ten commandments should be obeyed. You probably think He’s basically good. But you don’t know. Not for certain. And when you’re backed into a corner, with your life on the line, and it’s between stealing a loaf of bread and seeing your child starve, what will you do?

Will you stand on your conviction that God exists, that God is good, and that stealing is wrong? I hope so – that IS the right answer – but being honest, you have to admit that you don’t know. So let’s say, hypothetically, that you WERE in that situation. Knowing that stealing is wrong, you STEAL that loaf of bread. This is a sin. And since you knew, going in, that it was a sin, it was a WILFULL sin. Wasn’t it?

No, it wasn’t. It was an act you THINK was PROBABLY wrong, because men who MAY have known what God was like read it in a book that MAY have been written by inspired men 2500 years who MAY have been inspired by a God who MIGHT EXIST! And as long as that is the case, you CANNOT commit a willful sin that will endanger your eternal existence!

1 Corinthians 13:9,12 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. … For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Paul, who ranks highly as one of the most understanding men ever to live, had BEEN IN THE THIRD HEAVEN! (He never did figure out if he was really there, or only in a vision, but that’s beside the point). He WALKED ON THE SEA OF GLASS! (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). He heard things that men cannot speak! He was PERSONALLY TRAINED BY CHRIST FOR THREE YEARS! (Galatians 1:11-18) And this man – this GIANT in the pantheon of God’s heroes – SAW IN PART! And at BEST, he saw God as through a hazy, smoky glass! HE DIDN’T KNOW GOD FULLY!

And if you don’t FULLY KNOW THE COMMAND OF GOD, YOU CAN’T COMMIT A FULLY WILLFUL SIN, because sin IS breaking the command of God, and you can’t willfully break a command YOU DON’T KNOW, since whole point of a willful sin is doing what YOU KNOW TO BE WRONG!

Of course, the more you know, the more you are responsible for. You, for example, probably know that stealing is wrong. You don’t know it perfectly, but you know it pretty well. When you, then, break the commandment it is CLOSER to a willful sin than when, say, a gangster in Chicago breaks it.

Luke 12:47-48 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

The better you know your Lord’s will when you break it, the more stern will be your penalty. Because the greater will be your willful sin, which is just another way of saying that greater will be your rebellion against what you know. And therefore, the less the sacrifice of Christ can apply to you, and the MORE you have to pay the penalty yourself!

Hebrews 10:26-29 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

If you broke Moses’ law, YOU DIED without mercy. How many deaths? Fourteen? Six? That’s right; you died one death. And how well you know and understand that what you are doing is wrong determines how much of that sin is willful – and how much YOU must pay for YOURSELF, for there can be no sacrifice applied to that portion of the sin!

However, God made us; He knows us.

Psalms 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

And He is very careful about giving us knowledge we could abuse. That is why He makes us PROVE TO HIM, which EACH STEP we take, that we LOVE the knowledge He has given us, before He gives us more!

Isaiah 28:9-10 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

By giving you understanding a little bit at a time, and watching how you handle it, He prevents you from fully knowing Him, and avoids risking YOUR ETERNAL CHANCE AT SALVATION by exposing you to too much, too soon. And that is why EVEN PAUL saw through a glass darkly!

So to commit a perfect willful sin, and earn a PERMANENT death penalty, you would have to stand, with a clear, open mind before the throne of God, KNOWING that His way is right, and then spit in His face. And… I doubt you’ve done that. Have you? Then YOU haven’t committed the unpardonable sin.

  1. Renewing to repentance

However, there IS one more facet of this to answer. Renewing to repentance. And this… this it is possible to do in this lifetime. And it is a terrible price to pay if you have. But, God is big, and God, well, “God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20)

This answer is the simplest of all – but so revealing!

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Now look clearly at the qualifications, and remember the preceding scripture; in order to get into that situation where it is “IMPOSSIBLE to renew them to repentance” they have to first (logically) have truly repented! This eliminates the majority of professing Christians. Next they had to have once been ENLIGHTENED – their minds had to be OPENED to the truth! They had to have THE SPIRIT OF GOD LIVING IN THEM – which He only gives to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32)!

Already you can clearly see we are not talking about your average person here. But he adds more saying they have to have tasted the good word of God – they have to have seen the FRUITS of what this word will do for them! Have to have actually TASTED the GOODNESS of this way of life! How many can say that? Precious few, indeed!

And finally, they have to have tasted the POWERS OF THE WORLD TO COME! They have to have seen DRAMATIC answers to prayer – and I mean DRAMATIC, not someone being prayed over and their cold getting better a week later! They have to have TASTED the protection of God in their lives, and SEEN the miraculous workings of God in their lives – HOW well have YOU tasted that??

And if, after all of this, they turn their backs on God – why, it is quite IMPOSSIBLE to renew them to repentance – IN THIS LIFE! Remember, at death they’ve paid their debts to society. They’ve “served their time”, so to speak. But what have they lost?

We are called in this life to something very special – unique, actually. We are told there is an opening on the ground floor of the government of the universe. We are offered a chance to be the brothers of Christ, KINGS and PRIESTS over all the hosts of heaven for all of time!

This is a dumbfounding offer; but it is a temporary one. We are offered a chance to be the FIRSTBORN SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD. Let that sink in. The FIRSTBORN. What does that imply? That we will be the ELDEST CHILDREN in a family that involves SECOND born – otherwise, if there aren’t others to be born into this family, it’s pointless to be FIRST!

We are given a BIRTHRIGHT. An inheritance that is larger than that which will be given to the “secondborn”, for lack of a better term. In fact, our reward will be exactly double that of the secondborn. When Moses was handing out the law, God had him set down a law; that even though a man loved his second son more (or his second son’s mother more), he COULD NOT give him the birthright over his firstborn son; But instead, he HAD to give a DOUBLE PORTION to the firstborn, because that was the FIRSTBORN’S RIGHT!

Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a DOUBLE PORTION of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

That God has not forgotten this principle (I know, I know, but let’s make sure), there is a similar New Testament scripture, in regard to the elders of the church…

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

And so it follows that the FIRSTBORN of the spirit should be counted WORTHY of double honor – of a double portion of the inheritance that God has promised to ALL His children! Of course, the second born will still get their portion in due time, at the second resurrection. God will still love them – but they will never have a chance at being a firstborn child again! THAT door will close at that midnight hour when Christ returns! (Matthew 25:1-12)

And we can’t discuss renewing someone to repentance without mentioning our star example – our cousin Esau! Who is a TYPE, or an EXAMPLE, laid down for us of a person who HAS tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come and is IN LINE to inherit the blessing of the firstborn, but TRADES it all for a morsel of bread!

Hebrews 12:15-17 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he WOULD have inherited the blessing, HE WAS REJECTED: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Esau was in line to inherit ALL of the inheritance and blessings that God had promised to Abraham and Isaac – and HE WOULD HAVE! But he traded that inheritance, that “ground floor opportunity” in for a morsel of meat, and so it rightfully became Jacob’s, who through deception also received the blessings, and when Esau returned and REPENTED – and He was BITTERLY sorry, and sought this repentance CAREFULLY, WITH TEARS, IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO RENEW HIM TO REPENTANCE! HE HAD LOST HIS REWARD, AND IT WAS GONE FOREVER!

But his father still loved him.

He was still a child of Isaac. He still deserved a portion of the family estate.

Genesis 27:39-40 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt SERVE THY BROTHER; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.

And so Esau still received a very good blessing; but not like Jacob’s. And He was doomed to be his brother’s servant. And now it’s time to wrap up the loose ends. When a person comes into a typical protestant church, and learns a few things about “Jesus”, and then gets fed up and walks off and never comes back – that person is in no danger of a willful sin, because HE DIDN’T LEARN MUCH ABOUT JESUS THERE!

Likewise, there will be little problem in “renewing” him to repentance, because the typical protestant church never taught him how to repent in the FIRST PLACE! And this person hasn’t TASTED the good word of God! He hasn’t SEEN the power of God in their congregation, because THAT POWER ISN’T THERE! (But that’s another article)

And if someone WAS in the true church, and SAW the power of God working, and LOVED the truth, and then decided that a good paying job, or a certain female, or a nice car was more important… well, that person sold their birthright, just like Esau did. And that birthright is GONE FOREVER. And he CANNOT BE RENEWED to repentance, IN THIS LIFE. And when he does finally come to his senses, though he seeks it carefully with tears, he CANNOT EVER BE RENEWED TO HIS STATUS AS A FIRSTBORN CHILD OF GOD, and HE HAS LOST HIS REWARD!

…But he, and your other friends who have lost their way, are still children of God. They still, if they shape up in the next life, when things are easier and life is simpler, can inherit the kingdom of God. But they will always serve their elder brothers. And that… is as it should be. That… is what they wanted.

But that doesn’t mean God won’t love them. It doesn’t mean God won’t give them every opportunity to be valuable citizens in the kingdom of God, and cherished younger brothers in the family of God. The bottom line here is… You will see your backsliding friends and loved ones again. In a better time, without deception to cloud their judgment, in a time when hopefully YOU will be there, as their older sibling, to help them at last…. choose … life.

Have I Committed The Unpardonable Sin?


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