Monday, September 8, 2008

The Unpardonable sin

The below is something a sincere Christian student wrote, who is worried about the 'unpardonable sin':

"I would like to just know if what it says in Matthew is true. It states that every sin is forgivable, except if a person speaks badly about the Holy Spirit. I have attended a private Christian school and one day my Bible teacher was saying that a person is not forgiven if he/she speaks against the Holy Spirit. As he stated that… I thought something against the Holy Spirit. I did not mean to… it just happened. I prayed and asked forgiveness, but does that mean I am forgiven or eternally condemned? SINCERELY WORRIED"

It made me chuckle because I could relate.

There was a time in my pentecostal church life that I was worried about the unpardonable sin; but then later on, I figured out the unpardonable sin was nothing but speaking against Holy spirit and His gifts. I even thought all the baptists are doing 'unpardonable' sin as they speak against the gift of tongues, prophecy etc. I couldn't wait to see the baptists burning in the hell as the Pentecostals dancing in heaven. I even mentioned this 'revelation' to my pentecostal pastor and he agreed!

Yes, there is something called unpardonable sin; but the question is, what is it?

But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin. - Mark 3:29

It's important to see the verse following this:

He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit." In another words, they did not believe Jesus for who He is (God), and Jesus called it an unpardonable sin. Which in fact IS an unpardonable sin!

The same incident was recorded by Mathew as well:

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. - Mathew 12:32

Here, it is important to see what the purpose of sending the Holy Spirit was:

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. - John 16:7-11

The sin (singular) mentioned here is the sin of unbelief ('because men do not believe in me'). Holy Spirit convicts an unbeliever of their unbelief in Jesus and if they reject that conviction, it is a sin against Holy Spirit and it will not be forgiven in this age or in the age to come. The ONLY sin Holy Spirit ever going to convince people is the sin of unbelief.

As far as the believers are concerned, they have already repented of their unbelief and placed their faith in Christ Jesus and are free of any condemnation. Holy Spirit's job in a believer's life is to convince them of their righteousness in Christ ('He will guide you into all truth'). The truth of who we are in Christ.

There are no sin which is unpardonable other than the sin of unbelief, which has to be repented of. All other sins were judged on the body of Christ, has taken away from the eyes of God, never to see them again. Today, if somebody is condemning us due to our sins, it is either 'the accuser of the brethren' or one of his agents. Holy Spirit will never ever point us to our sins, instead He will always point us to Christ and His righteousness which is imputed to us.

Amen?

13 comments:

Amy said...

Bino,
I remember when I went through a season of doubting my salvation. Sigh...I honestly believe many traditional congregations and leaders (knowingly or unknowingly) actually encourage it by using fear to cause members to doubt their security. Towards the later times of my "church-building-going" days, I grew more and more aware of, and saddened by how many believers people would go up during altar calls week after week. I have to admit, during a season in my college years, I did too -- not for the "salvation" invitation, but for the "other" invitations of "rededicating" myself to "try to" overcome this, or do better at that, etc... I've discovered that many churches subtly "lump" such altar calls into one...confusing the message all the more. With regards to the "unpardonable sin," my experience was that it was always taught in a "fuzzy" sort of manner, in which guilt, fear and shame were underlying the message. And, as I mentioned above, it became common for ANY sin to become almost considered on the same "level" as an unpardonable one, if the person doesn't "nip it in the bud."

Love your last paragraph there. Amen!

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

RJW said...

Bino,
What a great post; so many people worry needlessly about their "sins". Christ did take care of our sin issue at the cross, so as Christians we need not fear condemnation and we can share the Good News with the world that God is not counting their sins against them. You are right; since our sins have been dealt with, unbelief becomes the unpardonable sin.
Phrases like "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner" confuse the issue because God dealt with the sin issue at the cross! The world is reconciled; God just wants everyone to believe that and accept our new life in Him.
Wonderful post!

lydia joy said...

This was good Bino! I did a post not long ago on "Does the Holy Spirit convict you of sin?" -and it has been my most popular post based on the Google Analytics word search. (christians must have a complex, and if they don't "feel" convicted when they sin something must be wrong with them!) I have had random strangers do fly by comments as to why they disagree with me, and believe that the HS convicts them still of their sin, and they seem to be happy about this. Anyway, I think it is very confusing and sad to believe this lie! So, all that to say, I love hearing others preaching the truth about how the HS leads us into all truth!!

Ike said...

Lydia Joy,
Can you give me scripture that christians are not convicted of sin? Actually I would like to read your article but I can't find it.

Bino M. said...

Ike,
I am not sure if there is a specific Scripture which says that believers are NOT convicted of sins. But on the other hand, there is not even a single scripture pointing out that Holy Spirit would convict us (believers) of our sins. Logically thinking, why would Holy Spirit point us to sins, when it is an absolute fact that Jesus took away all our sins upon the cross? God says it's been removed as far as the east is from the west (which is infinity).

Lydia, Pls. share if you have any specific Scriptures.

Ike said...

Bino....

John 16:7-11
7"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the (A)Helper will not come to you; but if I go, (B)I will send Him to you. 8"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, (C)because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning (D)righteousness, because (E)I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11(F)and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
Bino, who is He talking to when He says "you"? Yes we are forgiven all our sins but genuine believers are "sensitive" to sin.
1 John 1:9, "If "we" confess "our" sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive "us" our sins and to cleanse "us" from all unrighteousness." Continual confession of sin is an indication of genuine salvation. While the false teachers would not admit their sin, the genuine Christian admitted and forsook it (Ps. 32:3-5, Pr. 28:13). The term 'confess' means to say the same thing about sin as God does; to acknowledge His perspective about sin. While verse 7, "the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" is from God's perspective, v. 9 is from the Christians perspective. Confession of sin characterizes genuine Christians, and God "continually" cleanses those who are confessing (cf v. 7). Rather than focusing on confession for every single sin as necessary, John has especially in mind here a settled recognition and acknowlegdent that one is a sinner in need of cleansing and forgiveness (Eph 4:32; Col. 2:13).
Bino.....when the Bible says 'Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated'.......how do you think God's hate manifested itself towards Esau? God cut the ropes on Esau and let him run. Never will you find in the Bible that God ever disciplined Esau. But look at Jacob. Every day of his life, God beats him. Every wrong turn and God was there disciplining Jacob until they finally wrestled and God touched his hip and Jacob came back into the land limping.
Bino.....why do you think the Lord disciplines His children? Because "we" still sin and "we" are His children and although the price of our sin was paid for 2000 years ago......when "we" sin He is faithful to keep cleansing us.....IF WE CONFESS. You are trying to eliminate the cleansing that is absolutey necessary for fellowship. You see Bino.....grace is free but genuine faith also works......."faith without works is dead" (James 2:17).

Bino M. said...

Ike,

I am sorry that we are not in agreement.

It's interesting you pointed 1 john 1:9 to establish forgiveness through confession. The problem is confession is all about US. But forgiveness is all about HIM, providing us as a gift. We only need to receive by faith.

.when "we" sin He is faithful to keep cleansing us.....IF WE CONFESS.

But Bible says, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It didn't say, without confession there is no forgiveness.
Who shed the blood? Jesus. How many times? One time. And through that one sacrifice he took away the sins of the entire world. When we read 1 john 1:9, lets not forget this fact.

The same john, in the same chapter, said: the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (v7). It is the blood what purifies us, not our confession.

Going in and out of fellowship is nowhere in the Bible. We are either IN fellowship (saved) OR we are out of fellowship (lost). There is no middle ground.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave (past tense) you. - Eph 4:32

Providing the forgiveness for our sins was a one time act through the one time sacrifice of the one man Jesus. He has to go back to the cross again if there needs to be further forgiveness extended to humanity.

So, when we sin, instead of feeling guilty and asking for forgiveness (which we already have), I would thank God for His provision of forgiveness on the cross AND I will confess my sin to the person I wronged, there by reconciling with him/her. With God, I have already reconciled once for ever.

About discipline, yes, I believe God disciplines us, but discipline is very different from punishment. Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

Discipline is more like reminding us who we truly are in Christ, which is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Again, I think any verse in the Bible (like the ones you quoted) should be interpreted in the light of either Old Covenant Or New Covenant. Is it for the people under the Old Covenant or Is it for the people under the New Covenant. Because New Covenant made a huge difference. And the main clause of New Covenant is:

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. - Hebrews 8:12

If God is not remembering our sins, why are we still hanging on to it?

It can only make us sin-consciousness which leads to more sin.

Ike said...

1 John 1:9. There is a small, four letter word in that verse that I want to draw your attention to. It’s the word just. You see, Scripture makes it clear that in forgiving our sins God is just in doing so. How is that so?

First and foremost, we must point out that the book of 1 John was written to "Christians". It is addressed to those who have put their faith and trust in Christ alone for their salvation and have repented of their sin. "So this ability to confess our sins is only available to Christians on the basis of Christ’s finished work."

John writes that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. He is just in doing so because in order to forgive sins a price must be paid. Many people believe that God can just overlook our sin and forgive us if we simply ask Him to. If this were the case why the cross? Further, if God were to forgive us our sins without a propitiation being made through a substitute, He would be breaking His own Word in Scripture. Let’s take a look at Proverbs 17:15…

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” (NAS)

So how can God, who is just and righteous just overlook sin? How can He just forgive iniquity? It is against His character and would violate His own Word! A price must be paid. A propitiation must be laid down. The word propitiation, used several times in Scripture, means satisfaction. God’s holy wrath against sin must be satisfied.

Christ Jesus died on the cross to make atonement and propitiation for the sins of the elect. God’s wrath was poured out on Him instead of those who through faith and repentance put their faith and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. God’s righteous wrath was satisfied in His Son on that cross. This is the beauty and grace of substitutionary atonement. Our glorious Creator became our merciful Redeemer. This is amazing grace. This is the glorious doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement and it is the heart of the Gospel of God.

So when we come to the verse in 1 John 1:9 we need to pause and reflect on that little word just. God is faithful and just to forgive the sins of saints who confess their sins (agree with God on the severity of their sin and have a desire to turn from them) solely on the basis that His Son, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ bore the penalty due to all those who are chosen in Him so that when the "saints" cry out to God confessing their sins He is truly just in forgiving them on the basis of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

Bino, the only place we part ways is when you say "confession" of sin is not for the believer and the Word of God is clear that "confession" of sin is ONLY for the believer and if you do not continue repenting then your faith was not faith.

Bino M. said...

Ike,
If your mortgage is paid in full, would you still keep on sending your check to the bank?
When Jesus cried out from the cross, 'It's finished', he meant it is PAID IN FULL. The word propitiation itself means wipe out. He wiped out our sins. He erased it from his memory. He not only forgave it, he also forgot it. There is NOTHING left for you and me to do in order to be forgiven, other than putting our faith in what Christ has accomplished for us.

I suspect you come from a Calvinistic background. That could be part of the problem. Christ's sacrifice was not just for the elect. It was for the entire world. While introducing the Messiah, John the Baptist said, 'Behold the lamb of god who takes away the sins of the WORLD'. I know that Calvinists wouldn't agree to the meaning of the word 'world'. The reason is they think that salvation is nothing but forgiveness of sins and if Christ died for the entire world, that means universal salvation. So, to deal with that issue, they came with the 'elect' (Predestination). Forgiveness was a pre-requisite for salvation but salvation is receiving LIFE, the life of resurrected Christ. One cannot exist without the other. That is why resurrection is far more significant than the Crucifixion. Paul said, 'if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.'

For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son [an accomplished fact], how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! - Romans 5:10

You said: if you do not continue repenting then your faith was not faith.

My faith is depended on His faithfulness, not my repenting. More over that, repenting means changing of our mind from unbelief to belief, which I already did. Repenting is not being sorry and guilty. Repent means 'change of mind' (You may check for yourselves). Have you repented? Have you changed your mind from unbelief to belief in Christ? If so, you are born again, you are a new creation, complete in Christ, totally forgiven, citizen of heaven, a royal priesthood, joint heir of Christ, child of Almighty God, partaker of divine nature, Christ' friend, holy, saint, have the mind of Christ, temple of god, a member of His body, God is in you and you are in Him.

No sin can separate you from His love. Nothing will cause you to lose your fellowship with Him. No one can snatch you out of His hands. This is the truth what sets you free, my friend.

I pray that you see this truth. It's 100% Him and His faithfulness. It's not depended on anything we 'do'. Amen?

Ike said...

Bino...
I really like you and Amy! But both of you have embraced "body truth" and completely dismiss "family truth"? What you say is absolutely true but you always come up short of what the Scripture really says? Let me give you another example. You and I both agree that salvation is the "grace" of God through faith in Christ ALONE! Where we part ways is although that is true.......faith is never alone by itself.....it produces something.

Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
How you write these verses is this way, "the gate is small (only through Jesus)and the way is BROAD"??? The problem is it doesn't say that?? It says the gate is through Christ only....yes.....but the way is narrow! Salvation is by grace alone, but it is not easy. It calls for knowledge of the truth, repentence, submission to Christ as Lord, and a willingness to obey His will and Word.

I am not promoting a "works" salvation but I am also not promoting an easy believism either. If you study the 7th chapter of Matthew you can easily see who the group is that only a "few" are genuine. When a jew wants to emphasize something he repeats it. When it says "many" will say to Me 'Lord,Lord'.....it isn't talking about peoples of other faiths outside of christianity.........it is talking about all the people who emphatically claim Me as Lord....of these people......only a "few" are genuine. This is frightening! Whats the difference between someone who believes all the truths about Christ and someone who actually is "in Christ"? You see it isn't.....do you realize you are a sinner?......whats important is while you heard the Gospel message.....has God done such a work in your heart (regeneration) that you now hate the sin you once loved........and love the God you once hated? That is what seperates the genuine from the ones who just say 'Lord, Lord". Your profession of faith in Jesus Christ means absolutely NOTHING.....unless God has done a work of regeneration!
I am not saying this is you or anybody else......I'm just saying what Scripture says. Your best friend in life will tell you the most truth!!! And I want to be your best friend.

Bino M. said...

Ike,
Yes, I do believe the path is narrow. Salvation is not easy because people don't want to give up their efforts to earn it and keep it. During Jesus's time who has struggled to receive him? Those (Pharisees) who thought they are right with God because of their obedience to the law.
Salvation is so very difficult for them. It is too simple and easy so they reject it and try to earn it in a 'difficult' way (through law).

I too believe only a minority are saved, but that's not because the salvation Jesus offered is difficult, in fact it is because it is simple and easy, almost too good to be true.

The 'works' or 'fruits' are a NATURAL result. A branch cannot produce fruit, it can only bear fruit. As we abide in the Vine, He will produce good fruits in us, in due season. There is no struggle for the branch there.

Again, what I am saying may sound like an 'easy believism'. It is easy if you are ready to give up your self efforts. When you think it is your commitment, confession, faithfulness etc is what keeps you saved, it becomes difficult.

Matthew Daelon said...

Wonderful post, Bino. Very encouraging!

Bino M. said...

Matthew,
Thank you, my friend!