Post Author: Bill Pratt
If you are worried, then it’s likely that you have not committed the unpardonable sin. This sin is first mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 12, verses 31-32, in the context of Jesus’s healing of a demon-possessed man. As always, when reading the Bible, we need to look at the surrounding verses before we can draw any conclusions about the meaning of verses 31-32.
In verse 22, a demon-possessed man who is blind and mute is brought to Jesus. The text says that Jesus heals him, but some religious authorities who are Pharisees, instead of acknowledging that Jesus’s miraculous healing was of God, accuse him of using the power of Satan to drive out the demons.
In response, Jesus makes four rejoinders in verses 25-29. First, he says that it is illogical for Satan to be casting out his own demons. Second, among the Pharisees themselves there were exorcists, so Jesus asks if they also cast out demons by the power of Satan. Of course they would deny this. Third, Jesus explains that if he is driving out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has arrived. Fourth, Jesus explains that in order for Satan’s forces to be cast out, someone stronger than Satan must be acting – the Spirit of God.
After refuting the Pharisees’s accusations, Jesus gives a most serious warning in verses 30-32:
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
So what is this blasphemy against the Spirit that will not be forgiven? In context, it appears Jesus is referring to the Pharisee’s denial that Jesus’s miraculous healing was of the Spirit of God. The blasphemy of the Spirit, according to J. F. Walvoord, is: “attributing to Satan what is accomplished by the power of God.” Clay Jones puts it this way: “They attributed the undeniable, unambiguous, healing work of the Holy Spirit – in this case He freed a man from being ravaged by a demon that resulted in the man’s being blind and mute – to the power of Satan.”
Now that we have a better understanding of what the unpardonable sin is, we need to dig into why Jesus chose this time and this group of people to issue his dire warning. We will tackle that in part 2.