No Seriously: Is There An Unforgivable Sin?

Anonymous asked:

This is a follow-up to the May 9th question about “unforgivable sin”. Isn’t that talking about blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29)? And what exactly does that mean? If it isn’t unforgivable, why is it in there?

I answered:

“Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”  -Mark 3:28-29 (NIV)

That is a very scary little statement tucked into the scriptures right there. Here is what we can absolutely tell for sure for that passage: if you are an eye witness to Jesus healing someone, do not accuse Him of being possessed by Satan. He does not appreciate that. Verse 30 says explicitly “He said this because they were saying, ‘He has an impure spirit.’” So that’s an important safety tip.

That gospel story strikes me as a statement on people whose hearts are hardened toward the message of Jesus. It reminds me of Matthew 11 where Jesus tells a crowd that Sodom would have believed if they had seen the miracles shown to that town. This guy plainly saw Jesus work a miracle and just had to come up with a reason for Jesus to not be who He claimed to be. So maybe blaspheming the Holy Spirit has something to do with resisting His call on your heart. 

As to what that story means for us, to be totally honest I don’t really know. Here Is what I do know, that one verse does not undo the rest of the New Testament. The gospel is not that Jesus took all your sins on the cross, unless you say that wrong combination of words about the Holy Spirit.

If you have believed in Jesus, all your sins are forgiven. That is written all over the New Testament. This one verse does not undo that. It is important to keep that perspective on things like this. In 1 Corinthians 2:2 says “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Whatever you read in the Bible serves the narrative of grace being free for those who accept it because of the work of Jesus on the cross. 

It is important remember that foundational aspect so you don’t get pulled in a weird direction. I’ll tell you what I mean. If someone says “blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. Blaspheme the Holy Spirit and you go to Hell!”, you might buy that. That opens the door to “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so masturbating is blaspheming against that, so you will go to hell for masturbating.” Now someone has taken to disparate and isolated, yet technically correct biblical points and twisted them to say whatever they want.

It is good to look into all aspects of what the Bible has to tell us, but you have to be careful to keep your feet on the solid ground of what we know the Bible says about who we are. God created you, He loves you, and because He sacrificed His son, forgiveness is free for all who accept it.


-Matt from The Bridge

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