By James K. Bridges
It is sobering to realize that the One who introduced the subject
of a sin that can never be pardoned is the only Person in the world
who is capable of forgiving sin our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Savior of all men.
In Matthew 12:31,32, the Lord Jesus declared that "blasphemy
or speaking profanely against the Holy Spirit" is the sin for
which there was neither forgiveness in this world or the world to
come. Thus, whoever is guilty of committing such a sin is "subject
to eternal condemnation" (Mark 3:29, NKJV).
It is vital that we understand the role of the Holy Spirit in Gods
plan of salvation in order to grasp the Saviors meaning of
how one sins against the Holy Spirit. Only through the ministry
of the Holy Spirit can a person know conviction of sin (John 16:8),
be drawn to God (John 6:44; Revelation 22:17), and receive a revelation
of the saving work of the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:14).
Those who deliberately reject the only means by which Gods
grace is mediated to lost sinners remove themselves from the only
source of pardon provided by divine mercy. When Christ is willfully
rejected, the Scripture states, "There no longer remains a
sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26). Such a sin is called unpardonable
because the basis for pardon has been rejected.
Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is described as "insulting the
Spirit of grace" (Hebrews 10:29). For when a person with full
understanding of what he or she is doing "tramples the Son
of God underfoot, and counts the blood of the covenant by which
he was sanctified a common thing," the Holy Spirit is denied
the opportunity to administer the grace and pardon of Christ.
Regarding the unpardonable sin, J. Oswald Sanders wrote in his
Bible Studies in Matthews Gospel: "These things
should be noted: (1) It is a calculated sin, not one of impulse.
(2) It is a sin of knowledge, not ignorance, but a sin against spiritual
knowledge and light (Hebrews 10:26,32). (3) It is not an isolated
act but a habitual attitude. (4) It is a sin of the heart, not merely
of the intellect or the tongue. (5) It is a sin of finality
complete rejection of Christ." The harsh term "blasphemy"
indicates a deliberate and godless rejection of the saving power
and grace of God.
Unfortunately, the devil has led some people to believe they have
committed the unpardonable sin. People who are fearful they have
committed such a sin would do well to heed the words of William
Barclay: "The person who cannot have committed the sin against
the Holy Spirit is the person who fears he/she has, for the sin
against the Holy Spirit can be truly described as the loss of all
sense of sin" (The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 2, p.50).
The capacity to have concern regarding whether or not one has committed
the unpardonable sin is a certain indicator the person has not done
James K. Bridges is general treasurer for
the Assemblies of God.