Therefore, I tell you every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Matthew 12:31 ESV
It is, no doubt, the most terrifying warning to ever fall from the lips of Jesus. It is also the most asked question of any preacher or bible teacher. So, let’s tackle it. What isthe unforgiveable sin? Before we wrestle with this very important topic, I would like us to notice a few things. First of all, we should all be thankful that there is only one sin that falls into this dreaded category, not seven, as one church would unhappily have us believe. Next, let’s be careful not to miss the context out of which the warning of Jesus flowed. The Pharisees were criticizing Jesus for healing a man who was blind and mute. The man could still hear, and I believe he could hear quite well. I intend to circle back around to that fact at the end, so stick that feather in your cap for now.
The Pharisees were claiming that Jesus’ power came from Satan, not the Holy Spirit, in setting the man free from Satan’s grip. After destroying their demonic accusation with five different arguments Jesus uttered His dire warning. Jesus declared that it was the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit as the sin that would be unforgiveable in any age, present and the one future. So, what is this sin or more importantly, how do we avoid it? In speaking of the Holy Spirit’s arrival in John 16:8, Jesus taught that He, the Spirit, would fulfill three distinct purposes to three different groups. To the unbeliever, He would convince or convict (same word) them of sin, to the believer He would convince them of His righteousness now bestowed, and to all, that Satan was truly defeated. (John 16:8-11) The first group, unredeemed man, would need to believe in the testimony of the Holy Spirit concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be forgiven. The sin to be forgiven is unbelief. To resist is speak against what the Spirit is speaking to the heart of man.
When I played football, I would occasional run the ball. Mostly I was running for my life. My best friend, while carrying the old pigskin, was called a stiff-arm. I understood I was not allowed to punch the opposing player (although I did do that once, much to my regret), but I was permitted hold my arm out stiff and repel my would-be tackler. What worked well on a football field will send a man to hell. The only sin that is unforgiveable, is stiff-arming the Holy Spirit when He presents to you and I an opportunity to come to Christ. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, the scripture says. You see, the man who was blind and mute could still hear quite well. God made sure of it. Man will have no excuse. Are you listening?