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Persistent unbelief is the only evidence of unforgivable sin. Have you ever read a seemingly scary passage in the Bible and wondered if you were going to make it into heaven? If so, I have good news. Because you care about your salvation, then you are open the to Gospel message. You are either a believer or you have the potential to become one.
Here are the two verses from Matthew that create some spiritual confusion about the “unforgivable sin.”
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.Matthew 12:31-32 ESV
The Person Who Believes Has The Holy Spirit Forever
To be capable of speaking against the Holy Spirit, a person cannot already have the Holy Spirit.
Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV
If you consider the context of Jesus’s statement that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable, you will see that the bottom-line meaning of blasphemy is persistent, absolute unbelief.
If you die while still not believing in the power of the Holy Spirit to raise you from the dead, this is unforgivable; You won’t be in heaven. But, for example, if you became a born-again believer ten years ago, you lied to someone yesterday, and you died today, you would still be in heaven. That’s because by being born-again you have the saving power of the Spirit living within you. Committing further sin does not evict the Holy Spirit. Your sin will grieve the Holy Spirit, but God will never abandon you.
This also means if you at one time in your life claimed, “The Holy Spirit isn’t real,” or “The Holy Spirit has no power to save,” but today you believe, then you will still be in heaven when you die. You couldn’t have committed the unpardonable sin. Peter, a believer, denied Christ three times, but Jesus didn’t consider Peter a lost cause.
The sin of unbelief only becomes unforgivable after you die. Before you die, all sin is forgivable. Even the thief on the cross with Jesus became a believer only hours before his death.
Unbelief in The Power of The Holy Spirit Is Unforgivable
The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict the believer of sin. If a person denies the power of the Holy Spirit, then there is no power that can bring a person to repentance.
Jesus makes a powerful logical argument for why the Pharisees are spiritually blind.
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.Matthew 12:22-30 ESV
In context, Jesus is saying that only a person aligned with Satan would deny that the Holy Spirit has power. Meaning: only someone with unbelief toward God and who attributes miracles to the power of Satan. A person can’t reject the work of the Holy Spirit in their life and be saved.
But, anyone who accepts the work of the Holy Spirit will be saved. As long as you have the Holy Spirit, you have access to repentance and “forgiveness for every sin and blasphemy.”
Jesus’s explanation in verses 22 to 30 is a logical proof. There are two powers: one of evil and one of good. Evil does not work against evil. Good does not work against good. Only an evil spirit can work against a good Spirit (also see Matthew 12:33-37). Only a good Spirit can work against an evil spirit. If a person attributes the work of the Holy Spirit to the work of Satan, that person must be blind to the truth (unsaved). They stand in judgment and condemnation.
A person who is still concerned about their sin still has a conscience which means the Holy Spirit is still working in the person’s life. After a person commits the unforgivable sin, the Holy Spirit cannot indwell the person.
If you care about your salvation and can repent, there’s still hope for you. But for the person who doesn’t care, this person doesn’t believe in heaven or hell, and therefore this person won’t feel any concern about their disbelief. They are ignorant of the truth.
A person who cannot believe the truth does not have access to the power of the Holy Spirit and therefore cannot believe the Holy Spirit is real, and therefore can only conclude that Satan works against Satan, as absurd as that is. The person who so deliberately aligns themselves with absolute darkness and against the light stands eternally condemned. The Holy Spirit cannot grant them repentance.
How about you, are you aware of or ignorant of the truth? It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that a person becomes aware of the truth.
Read about the full assurance of hope that is yours.
Read about forgiving others.
Image by Marlon Sommer from Pixabay
More about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit:
Eternal Sin. Note: I don’t agree with everything said.
Beyond Forgiveness. Note: I don’t agree with everything said.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.