What is the most terrible thing that could happen to a human being?
Did you know that there is a sin so great, so devastating in its awfulness, that even the great mercy of God cannot overlook it, and the shed blood of Jesus Christ cannot wash it away? A sin that can never be forgiven.
Jesus warned that it could happen. “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28-29, RAV throughout except as noted).
Who could commit such a dreadful sin, and subject themselves to such an appalling fate — to lose all hope of forgiveness and salvation?
Jesus addressed these stern words to self-righteous religious leaders of first century Jerusalem. They had developed an implacable contempt for Jesus. During his ministry, Jesus occasionally clashed with them, and several times he warned them of the dire consequences of their attitude. Finally, they trumped up charges against him and occasioned his crucifixion by the Romans.
But was this the unpardonable sin?
An unpardonable sin is by no means the special province of bigots. Have you ever noticed this scripture in the epistles of John, whose writings usually epitomize love, tolerance and forgiveness? “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that” (I John 5:16). (more…)
Only three places in the Bible mention “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”: Matthew 12:22-32, Mark 3:20-30 and Luke 12:10. The Greek word in these verses means “to speak abusively, defame, vilify.” Certain people of Jesus’ day blasphemed the Spirit by attributing the power and works of God to the devil — by saying Jesus cast out demons by an unclean spirit.
Blasphemy against the Spirit of God is not pardonable. The reason is this: We can come to repentance only when the Holy Spirit convicts us that our ways have been wrong and that God’s ways are right. If we reject, by not repenting, the Holy Spirit and the works it does, we are rejecting the only channel through which we could qualify for God’s gift of grace. The unpardonable sin is the one unrepented of.
Falling away after once having the Holy Spirit is also unpardonable (Hebrews 6:4-6). Falling away means turning from God’s way of life after sincerely embracing it, or rejecting Christ’s sacrifice, which makes it possible for humans to receive God’s Spirit after repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). It is possible, as I Thessalonians 5:19 shows, to quench the Spirit in us.
Many have worried needlessly about this question. No one who has blasphemed the Spirit of God wants to do the works of God. He hates them! But as long as one is truly repentant, wants to live God’s way of life and strives to overcome, he or she has not committed the unpardonable sin.
The Bible gives no specific command regarding suicide, nor does the word itself appear in the Bible. There are, however, references to seven people who killed themselves: Samson (Judges 16); Abimelech ( Judges 9); Saul (I Samuel 31); Saul’s armorbearer (I Samuel 31); Zimri (I Kings 16:18); Ahithophel (II Samuel 17:23); and Judas (Matthew 27:5). The earlier conduct of all seven was morally corrupt, and except for Samson their suicides were simply attempts to escape their well-deserved fates.
“Suicide means self-murder and murder is forbidden by the Sixth Commandment: “Thou shalt do no murder.” God has not given an individual — even one who could rightly judge himself deserving of the death penalty (as could most of the above) — the right to pass such a sentence. Suicide is not an acceptable way of escaping punishment, dishonor or the like.”
In a different case, however, Samson died a hero, because his suicide was in fact a dedication of his life, at long last, wholly to the service of God in the liberation of Israel from the Philistines. His motive was not just to kill himself to escape. Christ Himself similarly gave His life for others.
Since a suicide experiencing quick death or unconsciousness has no opportunity to repent of his murder in this life, some have wondered if suicide is the unpardonable sin. The answer is no, because the unpardonable sin is only unpardonable because it is something a person refuses to repent of.
God is merciful, not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9), but He simply has not called most people to repentance in this life. They will have their chance in a resurrected life after the millennium in the period known as the White Throne Judgment.