Jan

18

The Unforgivable Sin

By admin

There is a Christian radio station where I live that has an interesting call-in show hosted by several well-known church pastors. People can call in with any questions that they may have about The Bible or about the Christian faith in general. It’s actually quite good. If you want to check it out, it is syndicated nationally. The program is called Pastor’s Perspective and they will take calls from anybody and responsibly answer all kinds of religious questions. If you can’t find it on a local radio station you can pick it up on the internet at: http://kwve.com.

There are a few commonly asked questions that you hear on a regular basis. Probably the most entertaining of these is about the unforgivable sin. This is in reference to a biblical passage where Jesus alludes to a certain sin which cannot ever be forgiven. What’s so entertaining about this question is that you can tell the people who call in asking about it are scared. They are genuinely worried that they may have committed this unforgivable sin (and that consequently there is no hope for their salvation).

So what is this unforgivable sin? Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That’s it. Everything else is forgivable – murder, rape, swindling, you name it. Even sexual assault and murder of innocent children. Not only that, but Jesus specifically asserts that all other forms of blasphemy are forgivable as well. This would include blasphemy of God the Father and of Jesus himself. Here is the passage:

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the {age} to come.

Matthew 12:31-32:

(These words that Jesus spoke are also reported in two of the other Gospels, Luke 12:10 and Mark 3:29.)

I was greatly reminded of this Bible passage recently when I was listening to a blues CD that an atheist friend had given me. The singer had a serious chip on his shoulder and the song lyrics were full of hateful political jargon. At one point when the music slowed down he was spewing some of that garbage and he mentioned something about the mother f—ing Holy Ghost. I kid you not. I tossed the CD in the trash shortly after that, as we had guests coming over and I was sort of previewing the CD to see if it would be OK to play while they were visiting.

So – did the singer of that band commit the unforgivable sin? Because it sure seems like if anybody ever has he is a good candidate, don’t you think? What about me for even typing that in the last paragraph and publishing it on the web? Have I just chucked my eternity into the hot coals with no hope of getting it back?

As the pastors on that radio show keep telling everybody, no. God isn’t legalistic. He isn’t going to leave you in hell forever just because you didn’t dot an i or cross a t somewhere. The Bible shows that God’s consciousness is manifested in three separate persons, that of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But they are all God, although they are each individual functioning centers of his consciousness. How much sense does it make to single out one of these three persons (that God is) and decide that calling that particular one names is an unforgivable sin, while calling the other two names is forgiveable?

So what does it mean, then? What is the unforgivable sin? Most good pastors and Bible scholars agree that what Jesus is referring to is rejecting the testimony of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus left this earth he promised to send a helper for the Church – that is the Holy Spirit. (This promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost which you can read about in the book of Acts chapter two.) The testimony of the Holy Spirit is, of course, the message of the Gospel: We are all sinners and as such are lost, but Jesus died in your place and if you accept that sacrifice which was made for you, and make him your Lord, you are saved. Rejecting that message – that is rejecting Christ, is then the unforgivable sin.

Note that your status when you die is what counts. The moment before your death, are you believing in the testimony of the Holy Spirit or are you blaspheming him by calling it a lie? If you do not believe in Christ you are doing the latter and are lost. Like the pastors on the show always say, if you are worried that you may have committed the unforgivable sin that is a sure sign you haven’t!

Papa Riah

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