“And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Mat 12:31 NIV
What sin is unforgivable? Ask this question and you will receive a list of horrid sins that are surely unforgivable. Murder will be first. Then conversation will fire up about motives, just cause, and self-defense. Crimes of passion make for interesting conversation and have fueled Hollywood for decades. Does anyone on death row make it to heaven? Are we playing God? Heinous crimes against innocent children will rise to the top of the list. The longer the list grows the harder it is to believe there is only one unforgiveable sin.
The truth is, the Gatekeeper of Heaven tells us there is only one sin that keeps a soul locked out for eternity – “blasphemy against the Spirit.” Jesus Christ warns us, “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.”
What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God?
First we must understand that blasphemy is:
- an act of cursing or reviling God,
- a crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God;
- and, that acts of blasphemy come from a condition of the heart.
Speaking a word against the Son of Man can be expressed by taking the Lord’s name in vain, and we know that with a repentant heart it is forgiven. Doubting Jesus Christ is the Messiah is also forgivable. Even Thomas, who walked with Jesus, needed to touch his nail-scarred hands and pierced side in order to believe.
So, how is speaking against the Holy Spirit any different?
“Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” can be understood as a continued and persistently stubborn rejection of the gospel of salvation. This would be an “unpardonable sin” because as long as a person remains in unbelief, he voluntarily excludes himself from forgiveness of sin.
Can blasphemy against the Son of Man and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit appear the same? How do we know the difference?
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” Just as a tree consistently bears the same fruit, so does a blasphemous heart against the Holy Spirit of God.
When I was a child, someone painted demonic signs on a church. All my life I thought they will certainly never make it into heaven. I never prayed for them because I was told they committed an unforgivable sin. I have judged them for years. In fact, I judge people’s actions all the time. I am guilty of assuming the position of God as Judge. Who am I to know the heart of man?
Do you believe God forgives horrific crimes?
Have you received forgiveness for your sins through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection?
Are you playing God?