What is the unpardonable sin?

Q. What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? How do we know we haven’t committed this “unpardonable sin”?

A. Jesus speaks in Matthew 12:31, 32 about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He says, “All manner of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven man, except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

Now this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not mean you lose your temper, shake your fist at God, and call Him names. That is certainly an outrageous sin, but that is not the “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” of which Jesus is speaking.

The Jewish leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy when He claimed equality with God and the right to forgive sin. Of course, they would have been correct to do so if Jesus were not God.

However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a perpetual, constant resisting of the drawing love of God’s Spirit, so much so that you lose the capacity to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice. The conscience becomes seared (1 Timothy 4:2). This deadly blasphemy is also called “grieving away” the Holy Spirit. Paul refers to “Grieve not the Holy Spirit, wherewith you are sealed,” meaning we can permanently grieve away the Spirit.

Eventually, a person loses the capacity to repent, and therefore cannot be saved. It is for this sin that a person cannot be forgiven, because they have rejected the Spirit that convicts of sin (John 16:8). So if we still feel convicted of sin and have the desire to repent, then we have probably not committed the unpardonable sin.

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