Assemblies of God SearchSite GuideStoreContact Us



What is the unpardonable sin and how can I be certain
that I have not committed it?

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 God’s plan of salvation in order to grasp the Savior’s 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 God’s 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 Matthew’s 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 so.


James K. Bridges is general treasurer for the Assemblies of God.

 

| Articles | Subscriptions | News & Notes | Talk-Back | Meet the Staff | Writers Guidelines |
| ABCs of Salvation | Who We Are | Life's Q&A | From Our Files | Pentecostal Evangel Books |

©1998-2000 Gospel Publishing House, General Council of the Assemblies of God