Sin by definition is rebellion against God. As Christians, we know we are not to sin but this can be quite a task because we are sinful beings. As much as we don’t want to, we still sin in our daily lives because of the sinful nature that was injected into us through the fall. Because God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin, and our sin separates us from him, becoming a barrier to our fellowship with Him and even causing us to lose the joy of our salvation. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have become a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that He does not hear.”
Are all sins equal in God’s eyes? It is not only difficult, but also dangerous to list sins according to their seriousness. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). All sin is equal in that it separates us from God. There are some sins that are worse than others in both effects and motivations. Stealing a piece of candy is very different than mass murder. Sins can also vary at their root. While the motivation and impact of sin can be different, every sin separates us from God’s grace.
The only unforgivable sin according to the Bible is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is mentioned in two gospels, Mark 3:28-30 and Matthew 12:31-32. Jesus had been performing miracles, including driving demons out of people by the power of the Holy Spirit. Instead of recognizing the source of Jesus’ power and accepting Him as God’s Son, the religious leaders accused Him of being possessed by the devil and driving demons out in the power of the devil. Jesus responded by saying "I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemes of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
According to Jesus, the unforgivable sin is unique because it is the one iniquity that will never be forgiven. The unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit related to the Spirit’s work in the world through Christ. This particular case of blasphemy is different than any other sin. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, specific as it was to the Pharisees’ situation, cannot be duplicated today. Jesus Christ is not on earth, and no one can personally see Jesus perform a miracle and then attribute that power to Satan instead of the Spirit. The only unpardonable sin today is that of continued unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in his rejection of Christ.
If you are struggling with sin right now, one of the first steps to take against it is to repent. The importance of repentance is hard to overstate. After all, Jesus’ first public exhortation was “Repent!” (Mark 1:15) – and if it was that high on Jesus’ list, we probably should pay attention to. Repentance requires honesty. The Bible tells us, “How happy is the man the LORD does not charge with sin, and in whose spirit is no deceit!” (Psalm 32:2). No one comes to God with true repentance in their heart unless they’ve first acknowledged their need for forgiveness and reconciliation with Him. Only those who have ceased trying to cover up their sin with self-righteousness and deceit can experience the deep and lasting change that comes only through repentance. It’s important that you acknowledge the danger of sin and the damage of guilt. We must honestly assess the consequences of our sin, which means assessing both personal consequences and impact it has had – and will continue to have on others.
Another important step is turning to Jesus. Backsliding refers to going backwards spiritually and morally. When a believer backslides, he falls back in some way into a less desirable condition; His lapse may be a relatively minor one and unintentional. He may simply fall back through neglect by not praying, reading the Bible, and keeping his focus on living for God. On the other hand, a believer may backslide by deliberately choosing to indulge in this life’s sinful pleasures. This type of backsliding can carry disastrous consequences. It can bring dishonor to the One who laid down His life for us. But there is good news for us when we backslide. God doesn’t condemn him. God’s loving concern for backsliders is steadfast and sure. A big step you take to escape the tangles of sin is turning to Jesus, the only One who has defeated sin and death out of His deep love for us.
We should also pray and seek the Holy Spirit for strength when we are struggling with sin. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit can be “quenched” as well as “grieved” (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). Because He is so holy, our sinful habits and attitudes can cause Him to withdraw. This is why it’s important for us to walk in constant communion with God, and be willing to repent quickly when we know we have sinned. Some people stuff their secret sins in the closets of their hearts. If you want to be filled with the Spirit, you must be willing to open those closets and invite the light of God’s holiness into every dark corner of your life.
The truth is, we all have a sin problem. The seriousness of sin should make us realize we cannot tolerate it or give sin any ground in our lives. That’s why we need Jesus so much. But if you or someone you love is trapped in a pattern of sin, or refuses to repent from sin, the stakes can seem sky high. When you don’t know what to pray, pray God’s Word. Pray that you would see sin as God sees it. Also, ask God to soften your heart. Pray that you would recognize the kindness of God and desire His Word. It’s so important that we recognize that only God can satisfy our deepest needs.