This morning we will discuss a much debated topic in Christianity: The Unforgivable Sin. There are many different interpretations of what this sin is and many people have become anxious about whether or not they have committed it. This morning we shall discuss this topic and learn that a true follower of Christ cannot commit it because the Spirit of God keeps them from it. We shall also learn that a false follower of Christ is in danger of committing it. Let us look together at Luke 12:8-12
The context of Luke 12:8-12 is Jesus instructing His disciples about the importance of the work Holy Spirit in their lives. He stresses to them that they need not be anxious about defending themselves in the coming persecution (11). The reason is that the Holy Spirit will teach them what to say (12) and keep them from denying their Lord (9) and uttering blasphemy (10) during a time of intense persecution. It is in this teaching that Jesus mentions a sin that is unforgivable (10). Let us look together at this sin and pray that a study of it will encourage us to live faithful lives.
Verse 10 says, “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” To blaspheme is to revile, malign, to speak an insulting word against someone or something. Jesus says that while blasphemy (speaking a word against) Him (the Son of Man) is forgivable; there is a blasphemy which is not forgivable.
Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. Why is it unforgivable? Jesus Christ is able “to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25) and “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43).
With this being true, how can blasphemy against the Holy Spirit be unforgivable? There is no forgiveness for this sin because it is committed by a person who has reached such a state of rebellion and stubbornness that they have been handed over to judgment and are simply awaiting its sentence. This person has no hope for forgiveness because they have no desire for forgiveness. This person shall receive no forgiveness because they have so grieved and blasphemed the Holy Spirit that He has withdrawn from them. And when the Holy Spirit has withdrawn from a person, there is no hope since it is the Holy Spirit who “convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? How do we know if we have committed it or not? I can tell you with certainty that it is not a one-time act of sin. It is not murder, adultery, or taking God’s name in vain because many have committed these sins and found forgiveness. It is not simply attributing the work of the Spirit to demons because people can do that and find forgiveness. To commit the unforgivable sin is not a one-time act of blasphemy, but is better understood as a process of blasphemy.
The process begins with a person foolishly thinking they can love God and love the world. They make a decision to accept Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior, but what they actually decide is to make Jesus into a garnish that will decorate their life and pacify their conviction. They want the appearance of godliness but they do not want to actually be godly (2 Tim 3:5). They call themselves a Christ-follower while not actually following Christ. They signify to the church in baptism that their old self has died with Christ and the new self has been raised with Christ, while proclaiming to the world that the old self is still alive and well.
The process continues with a loss of whatever spiritual energy they once possessed. They thought they would soothe their conscience by adding Jesus as an enhancement to their life, but they soon discover that Jesus is not an enhancement but Lord. Their conscience, rather than is not soothed, is seared (1 Tim 4:2). The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin upon them and calls them to true faith, but they stubbornly refuse to stop loving the world and their sin. Soon, the Holy Spirit’s call becomes fainter and softer and more distant as the person’s conscience becomes more and more calloused and hardened. They are easily offended and are slow to forgive others. They often leave the church out of anger or apathy. The local church calls and beckons for them to return but they have no intention of returning because they have no love for Christ. They are Baptists or Methodists or Lutherans, they have a memory of a decision, they have a baptismal certificate, but they blaspheme against the Holy Spirit through their stubborn refusal to submit to the teachings of Christ and a stubborn refusal to submit to the working of the Spirit in their life.
Eventfully, sometime during this process, a line is crossed in which a person so grieves and blasphemes the Holy Spirit through their continual and unrepentant sinning that God pronounces judgment on them while they are still alive and they are handed over to the sin they love. They will not be forgiven because they do not seek to be forgiven because they have no desire to be forgiven. For them “the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 1:8).
The process comes to an end when they close their eyes in death and realize that their hypocrisy was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. They had the appearance of godliness but denied its power (2 Tim 3:5). They perverted the grace of our God into sensuality (Jude 1:4). They were never asked to give a defense for the hope that was within them (1 Peter 3:15) because no one know about any hope within them. Even if they had been asked, they could not give a defense because there was no hope within them.
A true follower of Christ cannot commit an unforgivable sin because Christ has already forgiven all their sin. A person who thinks they believe, but actually does not is in danger of committing the unforgivable sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. If you feel you are in danger, hear the Holy Spirit’s voice now and come to Christ is repentance and faith. We must also remember that we cannot know when a person has crossed that line so therefore we will continually bring witness of Christ to all.