The Unpardonable Sin
- Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Adultery. Greed. Lust. Murder. Hate. . . What is the worst sin you can think of? Looking back on your own life, what past action brings the most guilt?
The lives of some believers are filled with doubt, anxiety, and worry-all because they believe they have committed some "unpardonable sin" (Matthew 12:32; Matthew 13:22) While Jesus makes one reference in Matthew 12 to such an unforgivable transgression, rest assured that no such action is possible today.
Matthew 12 specifically refers to a definite moment in history, while Jesus was on the earth performing miraculous works. Instead of recognizing Christ's power, the Pharisees attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, accusing Jesus of casting out devils through the power of "Beelzebul the ruler of demons" (Matthew 12:24). Christ's simple response-"If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?"-proved the Pharisees' faulty logic. Indicting them of the ultimate heresy-direct blasphemy against the Holy Spirit-Jesus further added, "Whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him . . . ." (Matthew 12:32).
The events surrounding Christ's mention of the unpardonable sin can no longer be duplicated. The Pharisees-with the living, breathing Son of God in front of them-deliberately denied Christ in the face of irrefutable evidence. Miracles and wonders surrounded them and Jesus Christ Himself was physically in their presence, yet they refused to accept the truth He offered. Much like the soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane-who witnessed Jesus heal the detached ear of their wounded comrade-the Pharisees denied a living miracle right in front of their eyes.
Think of all the heinous sins committed by men of God in the Bible. David committed murder and adultery and was nonetheless called "a man after [God's] heart." Peter profusely denied knowing Christ three times, even swearing, yet He was used by God in a mighty way. Paul-one of the most significant figures in the Christian faith-once vehemently opposed Christ and His church. Paul persecuted Christians with the same passion with which he would later support Christ and His followers.
You see, when Christ died on the cross, not long after His encounter with the Pharisees, He washed away ALL sin. There are no exception clauses in God's promise of forgiveness. Psalm 103:3 says that God will "pardon all your iniquities." Imagine if David had written, "God will pardon all your iniquities, except for the unpardonable sin."
Paul wrote, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Where is the exception clause in this pivotal verse? There isn't one! The fact is-we can't out-sin the grace of God.
The most heinous sin ever committed was certainly the crucifixion of the Son of God, yet as He hung on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who executed Him. (Luke 23:34) What an amazing display of the immensity of God's grace and forgiveness!
Now, some may take this truth and distort it. "If I can't out-sin God's grace," one may say, "then I can just keep on sinning and sinning." But God's overwhelming forgiveness is not a license for sin, but a motivation for holiness.
And even though God will forgive, the consequences of our actions can never be undone. In addition, one day we will have to account for every single act we've ever committed. However, to say that any sin is unforgivable is to say that Christ's death was not enough, that the crucifixion was not the remedy for man's sin.
All of our iniquities-past, present, and future-have been forgiven. Instead of living in fear, doubt, and anxiety-constantly worrying whether or not we have committed some unpardonable act-we can take comfort in knowing that God is faithful to forgive. (1 John 1:9) He will never let us down.
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For more on the unpardonable sin from Dr. Charles Stanley and In Touch, be sure to visit these links:
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