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The Mailbag: What Is the Unpardonable Sin?

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What is the unpardonable sin -the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – and can a Christian, or anyone else, commit it today?

Jesus mentions the unforgiveable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, in Matthew 12:31-32:

“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Earlier in chapter 12, the crowd had expressed amazement at Jesus’ healing of a demon oppressed, blind and mute man, by exclaiming, “Can this be the Son of David [the Messiah]?” (23) The Pharisees, wishing to discredit Jesus, responded, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons,” (24) attributing the work of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus, to Satan.

It is is in this context that Jesus speaks in verses 31-32 about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan).

It is generally agreed upon by reputable theologians that Christians today who have been genuinely born again cannot, nor would they desire to if they could, give Satan the credit and glory for works done by God the Holy Spirit. The first resource I have listed below makes a compelling argument that no one can commit this sin today since its context was limited to the miracles done by Jesus while He was on earth.

Additional Resources:

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit—The “Unpardonable Sin” at Apologetics Press

What is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Can A Christian Commit it? at CARM

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit, part 2 at Grace to You


If you have a question about: a well known Christian author/leader, a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

5 thoughts on “The Mailbag: What Is the Unpardonable Sin?”

  1. Agree and Mark 3:30 gives the reason very clearly why Jesus said what he said. And we are not told in any of the epistles of any sins that cannot be forgiven. 1 John 1:9 and 2:2.

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  2. I always thought the unforgivable sin was continuous rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I understand that there are no sins big enough to escape God’s mercy, but inevitably hearing Jesus Christ as the Saviour, believing Him and trusting Him, then becoming hardened and hateful of His offer eventually leads to eternal destruction. God, though, never lets the truly converted become unconverted! Great post! fromfrightenedtofather.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks, Luke :0) Unbelief is definitely the ultimate sin against God that won’t be forgiven if not repented of before death. But the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (which has been given the nickname “the unpardonable/unforgiveable sin”) is a separate thing- a particular act of sin committed by the people Jesus is addressing in this specific passage. The semantics can muddy the waters a bit.

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