The Unforgivable Sin
The unforgivable sin? We come across the concept of the unforgivable sin in Mark 3.
Mark 3:29-30 ESV – 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
We also encounter the unforgivable sin in Matthew 6.
Matthew 6:14-15 ESV – 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
A state of unbelief characterizes the unforgivable sin in both passages. In the first passage, they express unbelief in Jesus by misattributing the work of the Holy Spirit. In the second passage the one who refuses to forgive after being forgiven spits of his salvation. The one who fails to forgive denies the true work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The high level of unbelief in Christ described in Mark appears more permanent, but in my opinion, one can repent of even it. I think a qualifier would be: “as long as one remains in this attitude or state of mind, he has committed the unforgivable sin.”
One can certainly repent of the attitude of unbelief expressed by a failure to forgive. Beware, a failure to forgive turns a heart toward the unforgivable sin.
Repent and Bring it into His Light Quickly
1 John 1:5-10 ESV – 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
An Expansion of 1 John 1:5-10 from Oswald Chambers
“If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, “Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.” The complete Chambers devotional.
Unbelief, at Core, is The Unforgivable Sin
Unbelief, denial of Christ, at core, is the unforgivable sin. A passage from today’s reading for Morning Prayer states it even stronger.
1 John 2:18-22 ESV 18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
So the one who comes into fellowship with Jesus, then rejects him, becomes an anti-Christ, perhaps the strongest form of unbelief coupled with a strong rejection.
But all of us know one can turn from this state and repent? Don’t we? Did not Peter deny Jesus three times publicly? So, the unforgivable sin is state of being or attitude at a moment in time. If un-repented, yes it leads to damnation, but even this high state of choice toward evil can be forgiven if one repents and does the work of the Lord.
And What is the Work of the Lord?
John 6:28-29 ESV 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
Believing isn’t passive. We make a daily choice to take up our cross of obedience remembering that we need not attempt to carry it alone.
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV – 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
To believe is to trust, to take our direction from our Lord, and to ask his help for ourselves and others in our walk.
Matthew 6:9-13 ESV – 9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For an excellent expansion of all the Lord’s prayer entails add this book to your New Year’s Resolutions. Make it the first. It is a short read. The Lord and His Prayer by NT Wright. An excellent book to expand anyone’s prayer life no matter how strong and mature it may be.
Sometimes a poor concept of God lies at the root of unbelief. For help in that area, this post may be of use Prayer: What is Your Concept of God?