Frequently as Christians, we try to make a point about someone else’s sin. To do that we frequently say that the person that does … has committed ‘the unpardonable sin’
And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 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. (Matthew 12:31-32(NIV)
The Bible makes it clear that sin is sin. there are no first degree sins, second degree sins, third degree sins, etc. We can group sins into various categories but the consequences of sin are the same for each category.
Henry Brandt & Kerry L. Skinner in their book: The Heart of the Problem, (page 73) group sin into four categories which are helpful in understanding our sin. Sin can be committed in our mind, our emotions, our mouth, and our behavior.
1 John 3:15(NIV) says:
Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
In this verse we see ‘hate’ would take place in our emotions and ‘murder’ would take place in our behavior. You see, both hate and murder are sin but they take place in different parts of our body. The consequence is the same. They are sin.
Going back to the passage in Matthew 12:31, we see that sin of every kind can be forgiven, except blasphemy against the Spirit.. And in verse 32 we find an explanation of ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’. It is when a person speaks against the Holy Spirit. This is a very strong statement! In other words, it is the failure to accept the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is the failure to act on the conviction of the Holy Spirit regarding our sinful nature. It is our desire to make ourselves out to be God. God will never force us to become Christians against our own wishes.
Often as Christians we attempt to deal with the symptoms of sin rather than the sin itself. Sin is simply living for our own fleshly desires. The symptoms of living for our fleshly desires are found in Galatians 5:19-21:
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21(NIV)
When we reject the Holy Spirit, we live our lives according to our fleshly desires. Our fleshly desires will cause us to perform these sinful acts. If we continue doing sinful acts, (continually reject the working of the Holy Spirit) we will not go to heaven.
There is one other qualifier regarding the unpardonable sin. Committing the unpardonable sin is a deliberate rejection of the Holy Spirit. To reject the Holy Spirit, we must be aware of what God did for us when He gave His Son for a sin offering for our sin. Committing the unpardonable sin doesn’t take place by accident.
17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17(NIV)
We cannot replace our sinful acts in our own strength. We must surrender these sinful acts to God so that the Holy Spirit can give us the power to replace them with spiritual acts, the acts we will perform if we are surrendered to the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26):
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)
God illustrates this principle in the lives of Adam and Eve. In Genesis, when God talked about creating the animals, including mankind, He said that man was made in God’s image. From man, he made woman. Then God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
When he placed them in the garden, he also gave them instructions not eat of the tree in the middle of the garden. They were obedient to God’s instructions until Satan came into the picture. He convinced them that they could be like God if they ate the fruit. So Eve ate of the fruit and gave some to Adam also. Their desire was to become like God.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-4(NIV)
Immediately they realized they were naked. When God came looking for them, they hid themselves. When God found them, He knew what they had done. He explained the consequence of what they had done, then barred them from the Garden of Eden so they would not eat of the tree that would cause them to live forever.
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:21-24(NIV)
You see, when man tries to make himself like God by placing his personal desires above those of God, he is banned from experiencing eternal life in heaven. Likewise, Adam and Eve were banned from spending eternity with God in Garden of Eden when they put their desires above God’s.
Every person has two options in life. They can either surrender their lives to God, or they can surrender their lives to self. When they surrender to God, we call them ‘Christians’. When they surrender to their fleshly desires, they commit an unpardonable sin and are call ‘sinners’.
However, becoming a Christian, does not make us perfect. Christians will have those weaknesses that cause them to perform sinful acts but when the Holy Spirit convicts them of those sinful acts, they will turn from their sinful ways and willingly follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIV unless otherwise noted.