Occasionally, someone will ask with trembling what the unpardonable sin is. Fear in their voice and a troubled countenance suggest that they wonder whether they have committed this sin beyond all hope.

Jesus said, “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” (Matt. 12:32).

Why is this the case? Why is the greater sin against the Holy Spirit?

Individuals without Christ are “the natural man” incapable of spiritual understanding because they do not have the indwelling Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14). What hope do they have? Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me” (John 16:8-9a). Although the unsaved do not have the Spirit, the Spirit does convict them of their need. This convincing work of the Spirit in the heart of unbelievers is necessary to bring them to believing in Jesus.

The only sin that keeps a person out of heaven is not believing in Jesus. But since the Holy Spirit convinces of sin so that people will believe on Jesus, it is dangerous to resist the convincing work of the Holy Spirit. Saying no to the Spirit one too many times so that He never comes back to convict, in my understanding, seems to be the unpardonable sin. Without the convicting work of the Spirit, no one will believe in Jesus. Resisting the Spirit keeps people from trusting in Jesus. Thus, “the unpardonable sin.”

When someone with trembling asks if they have committed the unpardonable sin, they haven’t because they evidence the convicting work of the Spirit.

John Van Gelderen

John Van Gelderen

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