What is the unforgivable sin or unpardonable sin?
First, every sin can be forgiven, even the seven deadly sins. Whew—you can rest easier now. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 12:31, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.” If a person truly listens to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and asks for pardon and forgiveness that person is not guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Let’s discover more about the second part of the verse below.
Is there a sin that cannot be forgiven?
Yes, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is any sin that a person clings to by continually resisting the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that there is not one specific sin that is unforgivable, such as lying, stealing or murder, but rather a perpetual hardening of the heart and willfully sinning against God and man (1 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15). In Acts 7:51 Stephen says the following to the Pharisees, "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” In a nutshell the unforgivable, or unpardonable, sin is any sin that a person doesn’t want to give up, confess, or even ask forgiveness for and additionally doesn’t want to hear any more about it from the Holy Spirit.
Any sin mankind wants pardon for is forgivable, however, if we turn our backs on the voice of the Holy Spirit we begin to silence His convictions and eventually we cannot hear His convicting power. This effectively blocks the working of God in our lives because we have reached a point where we cannot respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. At this stage a person can no longer ask for repentance and therefore cannot be saved. (Please read the following illustration for further understanding and clarity.)
Consider this illustration of the unpardonable sin. Imagine you are tired of the the Holy Spirit convicting you of a particular pet sin. You want to completely remove His promptings even though the voice is warning you of danger and lovingly trying to show you the right path. So what do you do? You begin building a theoretical brick wall to block your conviction. Each brick in the wall represents a singular time you reject the conviction of the Holy Spirit. As you continue to reject the Holy Spirit, the “voice” you hear gets softer and softer. You become more and more confident in your current pathway of life. Eventually, as you lay more and more bricks down you cannot hear the Holy Spirit anymore, thus effectively cutting off your way of repentance and therefore salvation.
The good news is this—if a person still desires forgiveness and confesses their sins, those sins will be forgiven and blotted out. As long as you are under conviction, which is the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:8) and you want to be forgiven you are not guilty of the unpardonable sin. Consider the following Bible verses.
Abundant pardon for all
- 1 John 1:9 = "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
- Ezekiel 33:11 = "Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?”
- 1 Timothy 1:13-15 = “Although I [Paul] was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."
Take a look at your life
Do you have any bricks that need to be removed? Do you hear the Holy Spirit calling you to remove some walls in your life so that Jesus can freely communicate and spend time with you? Why not follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit right now and ask for help breaking down any wall of separation between you and God.