Have You Committed the Unpardonable Sin (Without Knowing It)?

A reader sent me this question:

My question is in regard to the “unforgivable sin”. What is your perspective on that particular subject? I have to say personally that I wonder if I have done that myself. And that is half the reason why I get so confused and study so much.

Which of us have not read this verse and wondered the same thing:

Matthew 12:31 (HCSB) — Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

My Pastor’s Common Sense Answer

I remember the answer my pastor gave back in church during the 90’s to this question. He said that as believers seeking to serve God, “if you are worried you have committed this sin, then you have not done it.” In other words, the people who might commit this sin are the people who are enemies of God, not the ones worried about what God thinks.

This fits with the audience that the verse above was directed at, the Pharisees (Mt 12:24).  The Pharisees were doing everything they could to contradict, undermine, and trap Jesus, a man sent by God by their own admission (John 3:2). They saw him as a threat to their position, power and glory which was their primary concern, not serving God (John 11:47-48). In fact, Jesus plainly said that they did not serve God (John 7:17-19), but followed men and their traditions (Mt 15:3-9) because Satan was their father  (John 8:44). Their evil desires and animosity for Jesus caused them to commit many intentional sins and all could be forgiven—except blaspheming acts that were done by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As long as you have always been neutral or friendly towards God, you could not have possibly committed the unpardonable sin.

Understanding Accountability For Punishment

But what  if in the past you were acting as an enemy of God, much like Paul while he was a Pharisee before his Road to Damascus conversion? How do you know for sure that you did not commit the unpardonable sin then, especially when you did not know enough to realize what it was?

You can know for sure you did not because God is reasonable, fair, and just. He will not damn you eternally for a sin done in ignorance. A sin of ignorance may bring an immediate penalty or curse  for breaking his rules (such as the many curses that Philistines suffered after they captured and touched the untouchable Ark of the Covenant in 1Samuel 5 or the curses on Abimelech for unknowingly taking Abraham’s wife in Genesis 5), but not the ultimate penalty of the Second Death. For you to be accountable for that final punishment, you must first be fully informed in advance of the behaviors that would lead to that punishment. In other words, you must know you are doing it to be accountable for it.

Therefore it’s impossible to commit the unpardonable sin and not know it. You have to consciously be opposing God to commit it and also be aware of God’s will on the subject. The Pharisees, if they really were Satan’s seed as Jesus implied (John 8:44) , were already nonredeemable and had nothing to lose and everything to gain by making a blasphemous lie about the source of power Jesus used to cast out demons.  However, it is unlikely that any believer reading has knowingly blasphemed like that.

Unpardonable Sin Impossible To Commit Today

Besides the aforementioned knowledge prerequisite, a final consideration about this sin is the question of the situation needed for it to happen. Jesus was able to do “many signs” because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. There miracles (and his ministry) began when he was baptized in water by John the Baptist followed by the spirit descending on him like a dove. This was his own private “Day of Pentecost” event, if you will, filling him with the Holy Spirit.

From that day forward, he was able to do the signs he did because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees witnessed this power repeatedly (along with his irresistible, wise and superior teaching from God’s word). He warned them they were in danger of the unpardonable sin because they knew where his power really came from and yet continued to attribute his power to the Devil instead of God. This same power was also seen in the the apostles and others present in Jerusalem at Pentecost and those who they then laid hands on. Jesus predicted this. He said “these signs shall surely follow” and they did as we can read all about in Acts.

However, today it’s different. Today there is nobody left who had hands laid on them by someone with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is not to say miracles and healings do not happen still. They do, but through the fervent prayer of faith by righteous men (James 5…I have personally received divine healed three times this way). Yet, we are not presently familiar with the easy or accidental miracles like those that Acts tells us constantly surrounded those full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). For example, Acts implies that healings happened by Peter’s shadow passing over the sick in the streets or by receiving a clothing that Paul had worn. That’s the difference between being filled with Holy Spirit and miracles surrounding you constantly and merely being a faithful righteous person who prays to receive miracles and gets them a small percentage of the time.

Given that you are unlikely to find a person filled with the Holy Spirit today, you are not going to see a real miracle that was clearly and obviously done by the Holy Spirit for you to blaspheme. Thus, you cannot commit the unpardonable sin today even if you wanted to.

Hebrews confirms that the presence of the Holy Spirit is a necessary prerequisite of a sin you cannot repent of:

Hebrews 6:4 (HCSB) — For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit

This passage is not talking about generic salvation as salvation of itself does not make you “a companion of the Holy Spirit.” The laying on of hands is what gives that gift (1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 1:6). That was the special situation of the First Century. People had “enlightenment” or the Holy Spirit as their “companion” because of the laying on of hands (Acts 19:1-6). The passage is saying that if they then fall away after tasting such a level of intimate understanding with God’s way and power (or “enlightenment”) then they were accountable for knowing better if they then abandoned that way. This differs from the accountability people have today without the spirit filling them. We are generally in confusion and doubt on even what the Bible says when we attempt to read it. Such as, for example, what the Bible teaches on what sins you can never be forgiven for =).

Conclusion

There is no need to worry about being guilty of the unpardonable sin and not knowing it. In Scripture God’s enemies are the ones who are in danger of it. Further, it probably has been impossible to commit this sin ever since soon after the First Century. Unlike then, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not poured out on all believers so that you can witness many signs done by the spirit and then blaspheme it. If you still do catch yourself worrying about having committed it, then that might be the best evidence one can point to that you have not done so.

21 thoughts on “Have You Committed the Unpardonable Sin (Without Knowing It)?

  1. Dear Tim.
    For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Romans 3:23-24.
    Matthew 12:31
    Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
    Matthew 12:32
    And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
    Mark 3:29
    But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
    Luke 12:10
    And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
    Ephesians 1:7
    In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
    Please ask the The Holy Ghost to guide u in prayers.
    Amen.

  2. Hullo Tim, am an avid reader and believer of the Bible. I find it rather strange when u say that sin against the Holy Spirit is impossible in our times bcoz we dont anymore have people filled with the Holy Spirit and attendant miraculous happenings. I truly believe that we do still have such miraculous happenings and healings taking place in the name of our LORD, and that we do have disciples on whom the Spirit has been poured out. After all God did say He’d pour out His Spirit on all manner of people (Joel 2:28-29)and I believe Mark 16:17-18 is truly being acted out in our midst.

    • John,

      I’m afraid my words in the article have been misunderstood. Please reread the article, especially the part where I say “This is not to say miracles and healings do not happen still. They do…”

      As for Joel 2:28-30, that’s a future prophecy that was only partially fulfilled at Pentecost with Peter. Note that Joel 2:30=Rev 6:12- was not fulfilled then. Nothing happened in the sky then. If you think Mark 16:17-18 is being acted out in our midst, then I encourage you to reread Acts where it was fulfilled and compare that to today. Then go and find someone to lays hands on you like Paul did in Acts 19 when he found out the people had only accomplished getting wet in their John baptism, like we have today. The people he laid hands on immediately prophesied and spoke in tongues and healings and other miracles always followed among the believers. We simply do not have signs to anything like that high degree today. And that’s the difference, high frequency vs. now-and-then infrequency. Hope this helps.

  3. Dear Tim,

    Like your correspondent John, I fervently believe that Mark 16, vv 17 & 18 still apply today. It is a fundamental belief of all Pentecostal Christians that believers would normally be baptised in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues, prophesy, etc. as the Holy Spirit inspires them. For a long time, my wife & I were members of a Pentecostal church in London, England, where prophetic counselling (words of knowledge, words of wisdom, etc.) were commonplace and where physical healings and deliverance from demonic spirits were regarded as normal, basic Christian experience. You may not have witnessed such things personally, but to our knowledge many people have, and we know of a number of pastors and evangelists who have been used by the Lord to raise people from the dead!

    Food for thought!

    • Richard, I’m familiar with everything you refer to since I’ve also visited a Pentecostal church. After an extended time there, I noticed many things there did not match up with the Bible and how the Holy Spirit worked in the First Century church. I had to conclude, like many do, that demonic spirits were running about and masquerading as the HS to bring the healings, words, prophecies, “deliverance”, etc. This is easy for a wiley demon to do in an place that does not know their Bible well (less than 5% of Christians read the entire Bible) and therefore does not have good discernment on how to “test the spirits” for the false ones (1Jn 4:1-).

      • Tim, that’s quite a conclusion for someone who just wrote that the Pharisees were accused of committing the unpardonable sin by attributing the power of the HS to the devil. I’m a Oneness Pentecostal and, like you, I find the way many churches behave themselves in the name of the Holy Spirit unnerving, but I will stop short of saying it is demonic. I will say that perhaps your church wasn’t right, not the idea. Speaking with tongues was a common theme in the New Testament, and many times the tongues were not understood, as Paul says, they were between man and God.

        “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
        I Corinthians 14:2?, ?14?-?15 NKJV
        http://bible.com/114/1co.14.2-15.NKJV

        I hope this post brings you edification, just as your writings have for me. God bless you.

        • Alex, yes it is quite a conclusion, thanks.

          The difference is, to ascribe the works of a proven, authenticated baptized-in-the-spirit prophet like Jesus to the devil requires a serious hard-heart in the face of overwhelming signs. That was the unique situation the Pharisees had with Yeshua in front of them who even called them “children of your father the devil.”

          In contrast to this, laity and preachers doing questionable antics in the churches are classified differently since none of these people are authenticated prophets or baptized in the spirit by the apostles like the people in Acts all were (not even deacons like Philip did this). I’ve yet to see one of these so called “prophets” or “baptized-in-the-spirit” Christians that measure up to the quality and standards laid out in the Bible for these things. I see a lot of counterfeits missing key aspects, but close enough to fool the masses. That’s kind of Christianity’s calling card, “many deceiving many in Christ’s name” (Mt 24:5). So I’m not uncomfortable to generalize about the group (not any individual, certainly not one doing signs like Yeshua. Would not say that!)

          To be clear, I’m not saying it’s all 100% demonic, but at best it’s a very lob-sided mix with the demons having the upper hand with the lack of discerning of spirits I’ve seen in these churches (even ones with deliverance ministries!).

  4. you are wrong,people are still receiving the holy ghost today. miracles are still happening today, your eyes needs to be opened to the true word of GOD. my whole family has received the holy ghost and have experienced many miracles. you might deceive the unlearned but you are too late to deceive us.

  5. i am still waiting for your answer to my comment on 8-28. or do you only respond to comments that agreed with you and promote tour ideas.

  6. I attend a pentecostal church have done for many years, i have heard people speaking in tongues and cannot help but think it is mumbo jumbo considering when i first become a christian i was told to practices talking in tongues by using goo goo ga ga words.how do we practice something that is apparently a gift of the holy spirit

  7. “How do we practice something that is apparently a gift of the Holy Spirtn”, well said! I was told to say glory, glory over and over again till the Spirit took control of my tongue…”and when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do” -Jesus
    “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?”, “and I will declare to them, I never knew you” -Jesus

  8. I agree with Tim. The kind of power that was going on in those days was intense! It happened in a way that left no room for doubt. I think this was part of God’s plan? I mean…have you read the stories? Show me a man who walks on water…or heals the sick with ONE touch of his hand or just ONE word. Show me a man who says to a dead body “Rise up!” followed by him doing that very thing. Jesus was absolutely filled! Filled with the holy spirit. I remember a passage where the disciples ask Jesus about speaking in parables. They don’t understand why he talks like that to the people but not like that when in their presence. Jesus explains to the disciples that they have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Right? So he says that’s why he doesn’t have to talk like that to them but that without it…they wouldn’t even understand him! He says the people have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. So this tells me that even in those days when many miracles were taking place, it was anything but ordinary. (And look. I’ve been in a church or two like you describe. I was never comfortable with it because I kind of smelled a lie. Ya know? Church should be a place for gaining Wisdom and knowing better God’s Will through His Word and Commandments, not some 3 ring circus of people demonstrating a power that they haven’t even tested. I remember those people locked me in an auditorium full of 50 adults trying to drive the devil out of me. I was 13 years old in Foster care. I loved God so much…so much that they sensed something different about me and were afraid of it. God was right inside me in a quiet place where I reside with Him. I guess they preferred I make my Father a theater act for desperate fools.

  9. to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hugenr, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”The father has given us to the son, those given will come to the son and all who are given Jesus will not cast out! We see a similar situation in John 17, how Jesus is praying for the children of God and those that have been give to Christ he gives to the father.Then Romans 8:15For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”Galatians 4:64 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.We are redeemed sons (children of God). We know that we have been redeemed. We that believe in Christ and love Christ can have unbelievable hope in these last couple passages:Romans 8:28-3028 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.For those who love God Do you love God? Yes, I think so. If you do, then you can know that all things work for God to those called (children of God) He foreknew you, he predestined you to be in the image of his son, he called you (this is why you believe in him), you are justified (sins are gone all of them), and you will be glorified with him in the life to come. Amazingly beautiful. Even more here:Ephesians 1:3-53 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, So we know that the sons of God are redeemed, they are called, none are lost or cast out. we know that the children of God are those who love God and not we see that we were predestined before the foundation of the world to be adopted as children of God through Christ. Amen? Wow. You are a child of God! Your sins are already justified, already redeemed, already taken away. Finally, one last one to seal the deal:Romans 5:6-76 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.Wow, I say! Wow! Christ died while we were still sinners! He died before we even were born. We are justified by his atoning blood and justified at the cross. we are not justified at some later date. we see from all these passages that before you were even born you were predestined, chosen, called, and justified all before you could do any particular sin. No sin that we can do can separate us from the love of our Father, so we cry Abba! in adoration and love for him. He died for us before we were born, justified by his blood, and we will be saved from the wrath of God. All of these passages relate to all of us. Take each of these passages and see how you, as a child of God cannot, cannot, cannot sin your way out of God’s loving arms and salvation. Believe in what Christ has done and have great joy in your savior. Leave your chains of slavery to fear, sin, doubt all behind and find freedom and joy in Christ from this sin. 🙂 Carol, I hope this helps emphasize what we have talked about earlier. This is scripture it is in the word it is the Word of God.God Bless You!abidingthroughgrace

  10. I have been blessed and anointed with the holy spirit ..does this mean i are possessed with a demon spirit ..i did not receive the holy spirit in a church ..i was praying and asking god to show me the truth and a warmth and love came over me that i had never felt before ..A love i felt so strong it made me cry ..I was praising his name and then i started speaking in tongues ..i have not been to church ..But i are always seeking knowledge and trying to sort out the truth and facts about this world we live in i have a relationship with Jesus And god with the holy spirit guiding me ..i are the protector and defender of the lost and forgotten the homeless and the sick and the pain in my heart every time i see the atrocity happening in this world i feel so much pain …Could this be a demon ..I cant beleive that jesus did not intend this gift of tongues to be given to the unbeleivers as it states in the bible the power of prayer and the love i feel for almighty god ..can not be demonic what do you say to this thankyou

  11. Hello. If Mystery Babylon is the US ( which I believe it may be ), does the phrase “come out of her” mean that Christians should leave the US, or ( as we should all strive to do ), depart from her sins. The most offensive of which I agree ( and have been guilty of, am repenting for ) is luxurious living.
    Also, do you believe that there comes a time when a Christian is UNABLE to repent or God thru Christ is unwilling to forgive? Many people use the Esau story to justify that belief however, Esau was unable to obtain the BLESSING, his repentance had nothing to do with his salvation. That was a separate matter. He was “godless” and did not repent of that as far as we know in the word. Thanks!

  12. Tim, another great article, very polarizing it seems among the less mature, which is understandable; it is a hard teaching. An interesting thing I’ve thought of (Holy Spirit inspired?) as I pondered your words here, is that there are three types of Holy Spirit interactions with man, not just one. The first is a “basic” interaction, which all Christians should be familiar with, that is, the Holy Spirit giving us knowledge and understanding of Scripture, and speaking to us in that “still small voice”. The second is a little more intense, and that is described in the old testament when the Spirit of the Lord would “come upon” a person, i.e. Sampson. I can’t imagine this to be an indwelling of HS, as I previously thought before considering this article, since Sampson was obviously living in sin. Rather, it is more of a supernatural “inspiration” to accomplish the will of God, I believe to possibly be the same style of inspiration on the writers and composers of Scripture. Also, possibly an explanation for *some* who speak in tongues or dream dreams etc. (not of the Pentecostal church type, obviously). Then of course there is the third type, which comes by the laying on of hands, which may be lost now or for a time (I need to consider this more carefully before being sure). Let me know what you think

  13. I’ve always wondered how does one know they have the Holy Spirit (HS)?
    It’s certainly not speaking gobbeldy gook that no-one around you understands.
    If you have the gift of tongues, it’s kind if the reverse of the tower of Babel.
    Can anyone claiming to have the gift of tongues speak to any foreigner they encounter in their own language despite never learning that language like the Acts crew?
    If not, it’s not the Biblical gift of tongues.
    Does one have to be baptised before receiving the HS?
    Seemingly not.
    Acts 10 describes Cornelius’ household being endowed with the HS before they were baptised.
    Do people who claim to have the HS behave differently (like- kind of Holy I guess)?
    I know a number of people who claim to have the HS who are quite nasty.

    The Acts crew clearly received the HS with all the violent winds and tongues like fire settling on them.
    After Acts, it seems nothing like that happens until the HS is poured out in the last days.
    I sure don’t think I have the HS despite asking for it constantly.
    Maybe it’s just not time.

  14. Wow, Tim, I have to say as an aside, your website automatically linked my Acts 10 reference to the scripture for viewing.
    Never noticed that before.Probaby never mentioned a scripture.
    Did you write that script?
    Brilliant!

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