Is There an Unforgivable Sin?

The choices we make today may not turn you into some criminal or damn you to an eternal hell but the choices do create the conditions, the circumstances, even the climate within which you live out your life. Sometimes, these conditions can become intolerable, perhaps even unforgivable, if by no other than yourself.

Summer morning sun rising in a blue sky

The question: Is there a sin God will not forgive? What did Jesus mean by these words?

In Mark 3:28-29, Jesus says, “I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.”

I remember preachers saying things like, “When the Holy Spirit seeks to lead you into repentance from your sins and you continue to reject the Holy Spirit, He will withdraw, leave you alone, and, at that point, you have sealed your eternal destiny…you’ll never be forgiven,” by which these preachers meant, you’ll not go to heaven when you die. You’ll go to hell instead.

Is this what Jesus meant by “speaking against the Holy Spirit?”

I suggest a different reading, one I think is closer to the meaning Jesus wished to convey.

Shortly before his death, Jesus sought to comfort his troubled followers. As he spoke of leaving them, they spoke of going with him instead. Peter went so far as to promise he would defend Jesus to the death.

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Jesus reminded them, however, where he was going they could not come. But he would be with them nonetheless, because the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, would come after Him and be that Presence in them and among them and all would be as before. (read the entire section of John 13 – 16 to get the full import of Jesus’ words).

What is this Holy Spirit?

Isn’t it the voice within? The inner impulse you feel? The Presence of God guiding you…leading you…prompting you…enabling you?

You’ve heard his voice before, observed his messages, however subtle they may have been.

Can you remember the last time, for example, when you needed to make a decision and, in that moment, you knew what you should do but, for some reason, you did not do what you knew you should? Instead of taking the hint right before you, you ignored the message from beyond and did something else entirely.

The consequences you’ve never forgotten. Maybe have never forgiven either.

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Related Topics: Sin, Faith

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