What is the "unforgivable sin"?
Topic(s): Forgiveness, Sin
Is the unforgivable, or unpardonable sin murder? Suicide? Backsliding? Jesus said, Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come (Matthew 12:31-32). The sin that shall not be forgiven is specifically identified as blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Blasphemy means to speak impiously or irreverently of, to speak evil of, to abuse. Thus the unforgivable sin means to peak impiously or irreverently of the Holy Ghost.
To properly understand what Jesus was speaking of, we must look to the context of His statement, and see what had happened to cause Him to make this pronouncement. Just before this, there was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils (Matthew 12:22-24). Rather than acknowledge the power of God as demonstrated in the miracle of Jesus, the Pharisees attributed His power to the Devil! They rejected the clear witness of the Holy Ghost in the miracle He performed. Their sin was unforgivable because they were so determined to condemn Him that they refused to accept the clear evidence. Earlier, the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him (Matthew 12:14). Their attitude was, My mind is made up! Don't confuse me with the facts! Jesus knew their thoughts (Matthew 12:25) and He knew their hearts.
The sin of the Pharisees came about because of the condition of their hearts. On a former occasion, Jesus was grieved for the hardness of their hearts (Mark 3:5). The blasphemous words of the Pharisees were the result of the complete hardness of their hearts, which would not allow them to accept Jesus and His message. Their hearts were so hardened that they would never repent of their evil thoughts, and could not be forgiven, because God cannot forgive unrepented sin. John describes those who could not believe because of their blinded eyes and hardened hearts (John 12:39-40).
Does anyone commit the unforgivable sin today? The rejection of the will of God by the hardening of the heart is a gradual process. As Stephen faced death, he accused his persecutors saying, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, because they refused to hear his message (Acts 7:51). God gives men the free will to receive or reject the message of the Spirit. The Lord cannot forgive the person who is so hardened that he cannot repent, and will not obey God, but the person still concerned about doing God's will, and listening to His Word, has not reached the point of no return, the unforgivable sin.