The Sin God will not Forgive
The Sin that God Will Not Forgive
Therefore, I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.”
The statements in this passage rightfully cause us to pause and ponder the implications of what Jesus is stating. In these verses, Christ points to a sin that is so grievous that it will not be forgiven. This sin is so horrific in the sight of a holy God that there will be no forgiveness and second opportunity. So this leads us to the all-important question: What is the only sin God will never forgive?
To answer this question, we must first recognize the extent of God’s grace that he offers through his son. When Christ died on the cross, he made it possible for us to be forgiven of all our sins. While we think of sin in terms of severity, God considers all sin a violation of his moral law that expresses his divine character and righteousness. Stephen Charnock, in his classic work, The Existence and Attributes of God, points to the severity of sin when he states, “Sin implies that god is unworthy of a being. Every sin is a kind of cursing God in the heart.” He writes, “A man in every sin aims to set up his own will as his rule and his glory as the end of his actions, against the will and glory of God: and could a sinner attain his end, God would be destroyed.” In every act of sin, we affirm that we would disown and reject God’s rule over us and set ourselves up as rulers of ourselves. Yet, despite this rejection of him, God made forgiveness available for us. He placed the judicial penalty for sin upon the shoulders of Christ so that Christ paid the penalty for every sin we commit, no matter how grievous or heinous. Even the worst sins one could commit can be forgiven because of the work of Christ, except one, and that one sin will never be forgiven for all eternity. There will be no second chance, no opportunity in the throes of hell to attain forgiveness. It is the one sin that we cannot commit.
What, then, is this unforgivable sin? The answer lies in the context of Jesus' statement. In the previous verses, the Pharisees refused to recognize Jesus as the Messiah even in the face of irrefutable evidence. When Jesus demonstrated his power over sin and evil by healing a man possessed by a demon, the Pharisees refused to accept Jesus. Instead, they attributed his works, and thus Jesus himself, to be in alignment with Satan himself. This is what points us to the unforgivable sin. The one sin that cannot and will not be forgiven is the refusal to accept forgiveness from Christ and to reject him as the savior and king of the universe. Jesus knew the heart of his opponents that they would persist in their disbelief for life, and as a result, they would never accept the salvation that Christ offers us through his death and resurrection. It is to refuse to surrender to Christ's rule over our life and persist in the desire to usurp God’s position as the king of the universe.
No matter what we have done in the past, no matter how heinous our sin, no matter how far we fell into the pit of rebellion against God, we can obtain forgiveness. Every sin we have committed in the past can be forgiven merely by surrendering our life to Christ. However, if we continue to reject his offer and remain steadfast in our obstinate rejection of Christ, if we continue to shake our fist in the face of God and deny his authority, then we are facing an eternity of judgment without the hope of forgiveness. Our sin is unforgivable, not because God cannot forgive our sin, but because we refuse to accept his forgiveness. This is the one sin that God will not forgive. The unforgivable sin is not defined by what we have done but by what we refuse to do: Accept the salvation Christ offers.