Have I Committed the Unforgivable Sin?

August 29, 2012

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This series on NoSuperHeroes deals with the Top Questions I receive in my Grace Seminars. Come back each day to see how we can answer our questions without changing the message of Grace!

Top Question:  Have I Committed the Unforgivable Sin, “Blaspheming the Holy Spirit”?

Have you ever found yourself fearing that you or someone you know has committed the unforgivable sin?

In a moment of doubt or trial, you uttered a statement that has haunted you ever since. In the back of your mind, you feel concern God will not forgive this indiscretion.

Will you face God someday and hear Him tell you to “depart” for you did the unpardonable? Will Jesus vomit you out of his mouth saying you are “lukewarm“?

The passage in question comes from Mark 3:28-29“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

What exactly was Jesus referring to when He spoke this strange statement? Was He walking towards Jerusalem and his impending death and suddenly realize He had forgotten one indispensable teaching?

“Hey guys, I’ve got to let you know about the one thing you never want to do.” He explains this and then says, “Ok, let’s keep going.”

This is probably not how it took place.

Let us consider the context of this passage starting in Mark 3:20-30.

The event we are looking at has the scribes saying Jesus was doing miracles by the power of Beelzebub, or Satan. Jesus responds to these accusations in a parable, showing that any team divided will fail. He concludes His defense with this statement about blasphemy. Now, if we look at the verse immediately after the passage, it will help our interpretation.

Verse 30 tells us why Jesus says what He does. “for they had said, He has an unclean spirit.” They had just levied this accusation against Him. The “they” was referring to his family who was restraining him and the scribes who were accusing him. So we see this statement is not a random, unsolicited comment, but rather a direct response to the situation at hand.

Before we see how this applies to us today, let’s take an even wider look at context. When coming upon unclear passages in Scripture, we always need to keep the big picture of Scripture in mind for our interpretations.

In the Bible, do we see other sins being called unforgivable? Does Scripture give a distinction on the levels of sin?

Romans 6:23 makes it very clear when it says, “for the wages of sin is death.” There is no distinction.

So what is the interpretation of the blasphemy passage?

Jesus was directly speaking to people who were accusing Him of doing His ministry by the power of Satan. He told them they could never be forgiven. We know from the rest of Scripture if they repented, they would indeed be forgiven. The apostle Paul is the best example of this. If anyone blasphemed, it was Paul (then known as Saul).

Rather than making a statement towards a specific sin, Jesus was dealing with a person’s faith. Remember, they were accusing Him of being Satan. If someone believes Jesus to be Satan, it would be impossible to find forgiveness. You would not believe Jesus is God and the source of all forgiveness.

Not being forgiven would constitute having eternal sin. All sin not under the power of Christ is an eternal sin; it is never forgiven and goes with you to the grave and judgement. To put it simply, in their current state of belief, these people would never find the forgiveness of sin.

If they no longer believe that Christ is Satan can they find eternal life?

The two groups of people being addressed here are Jesus’ family and scribes. We know from later in Scripture, James the brother of Christ, wrote an epistle. Jesus’ mother was at the cross and seemed to understand the full picture of who her Son was. These people were forgiven.

We also see in the gospels that a scribe was told he was close to the kingdom of God in Mark 12:28-34. If this blaspheming was truly an unforgivable sin, this could not have occurred. We would have to conclude that Jesus was lying to the man!

Look how the other gospels support this interpretation. The writers record a summary in their accounts of this teaching.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” Luke 11:23, Matthew 12:30

So do you need to fear committing the unforgivable sin?

If you are currently a believer in Christ, then the answer is a resounding no. To believe so would imply there is some sin that falls outside of the sacrifice of Christ.

Do not fear!

This was inspired by Ron Edmondson’s article “Is Suicide an Unforgiveable Sin?

Have you feared that you have done the unpardonable? 

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- For more information on how to book a grace seminar at your church or training program look HERE.

- If you want to explore grace as a small group or on your own, Death of the Modern SuperHero: How Grace Breaks our Rules comes with discussion questions and read and studied in groups all over the world. 

Other questions in the “Top Questions” series are:
Do I Need to Repent?
What Happens to Me on Judgment Day?

Can I Do Whatever I Want?

Take a Look and pass them on to others who would benefit!

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 21 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God