What is the unpardonable sin?

30 Aug 2021 7:42 AM | Josh Hunt (Administrator)

The unpardonable sin was first mentioned by Jesus when the Pharisees rejected the miracles that He did. Jesus knew their thoughts and said, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:31–32).

There are several views concerning this unpardonable sin. First, several in the Roman Catholic Church have taught that the unpardonable sin is suicide. Since a person committing suicide can’t take advantage of extreme unction or confess sins to a priest, that person has committed a sin that cannot be pardoned. Suicide is unpardonable because a person cannot take advantage of forgiveness offered by the Church.

Certain Christians believe that when they commit sins of blasphemy, rejection of God, or apostatizing, they lose their salvation. When they commit such sins, “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb. 10:26).

A third view held by dispensationalists is that only those who live in the time of Christ could commit the unpardonable sin. It is attributing to Satan the miracles of God as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. Since Christ no longer lives on earth, people can no longer commit this unpardonable sin.

There is a fourth view that says when people deliberately and in their hearts finally reject Jesus Christ, they are dead while they are living. That means some living people are lost and cannot be saved because they have committed the final act of rejection. Those who hold this view quote such verses as “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever” (Gen. 6:3). People who commit an unpardonable sin cross a point of no return when they reject Jesus Christ one time too many.

A last view is that the only sin God cannot forgive is the sin of unbelief. The very nature of unbelief indicates that God cannot forgive it. But anyone who wants to be saved can be saved. Even Paul the murderer was forgiven, and the thief on the cross was told, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The last chapter of the Bible invites “Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). So those who want to be saved have not committed the unpardonable sin. However, if a person dies in unbelief, that person has committed a sin that cannot be pardoned; that person has committed the unpardonable sin. According to this view, no one who is living has committed the unpardonable sin.

So what is the unpardonable sin? The unpardonable sin is simply the final rejection of Jesus Christ at death.

Elmer Towns, Bible Answers for Almost All Your Questions (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003).

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