When The Holy Spirit Leaves
Q. How do I know I haven’t committed the “unpardonable sin”?
A. In Matthew 12:31, 32, Jesus gives a very solemn warning about a specific kind of sin. He says, “All manner of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven man, except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” This sin is also commonly known as the unpardonable sin.
This statement from Jesus has caused all kinds of confusion among Christians, and many who don’t know what this sin is live in fear that they’ve actually committed it. Still, others don’t know how close they’ve come to this disastrous act. Let’s take a few moments to clear this up.
In Greek, the word is blasphemos, and according to one dictionary’s definition, it means “to vilify, to speak impiously, to defame, to rail upon, to revile, to speak evil, to hurt or blast the reputation, nature or works of God.” To call God foul names and to besmirch His Son’s saving grace are certainly forms of blasphemy.
Additionally, in John 10:33, we read that some leaders in Israel were trying to find a reason to stone Jesus. “The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’” These men accused Jesus of blasphemy when He claimed equality with God and the right to forgive sin. Of course, they would have been correct to do so if Jesus were not God.
But blasphemy itself is not the unpardonable sin. In 1 Timothy 1:13, the apostle Paul writes: “Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” We know Paul will be in heaven even though he was a blasphemer. God’s grace to us is exceedingly abundant; it forgives even blasphemy. Remember, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men.” God’s grace is amazing!
So what about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable? Well, to answer this, we need to understand what the Holy Spirit does. Once we do that, we’ll see why His function is so crucial that blasphemy against Him is so serious a sin that it cannot be forgiven.
The Holy Spirit does three things: First, He teaches us the things we need to know for our salvation (John 14:26). Second, the Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13). Third, the mission of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin (John 16:7, 8).
This is His work. It is logical, therefore, to conclude that as long as we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us, to guide us, and to convict us, we could never be guilty of committing the unpardonable sin. But suppose we refuse to acknowledge these three operations of the Spirit in our personal experience with God? That is exactly when people begin to approach the deadly parameters of the worst sin on record.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a perpetual, constant resisting of the drawing love of God’s Spirit, so much so that you lose the capacity to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice. The conscience becomes seared (1 Timothy 4:2). This deadly blasphemy is also called “grieving away” the Holy Spirit. Paul refers to “Grieve not the Holy Spirit, wherewith you are sealed,” meaning we can permanently grieve Him away.
Eventually, a person loses the capacity to repent, and therefore cannot be saved. It is for this sin that a person cannot be forgiven, because they have rejected the Spirit that convicts of sin (John 16:8). So if you still feel convicted of sin and have the desire to repent, then you have probably not committed the unpardonable sin.