The Unforgivable Sin: What is it?

The unforgivable sin, what is it and why do you need to know about it? Have you ever asked yourself the question, “have I committed the unforgivable sin?” Or maybe this question, “can the unpardonable sin be committed today, in this era? These are fair questions and today, I am going to help you understand what it is and what it isn’t.

woman sitting at table in white and back shirt with text saying How do I know if I committed the Unforgivable Sin?
Pin this to read later!

To answer these questions plus some others that will crop up, we need to turn to a few Bible passages that will teach us about the unforgivable sin.

We will use the term “unforgivable sin” interchangeably with

  • unpardonable sin and
  • blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12, The Unforgivable Sin

Matthew 12:22-32 gives a bit of background leading up to the verse that mentions ‘speaketh against the Holy Ghost.’

You know me, let’s keep the passage in context, so we’ll review it together. I could easily give you the answer to this question but I believe that you will remember this much better if we discovered the answer together.

In Matthew 12:1-8, we learn that the Pharisees were keeping an eye on Jesus as he and his disciples were walking through the cornfield plucking the corn to eat (Matt 12:1-2). The Pharisees questioned Jesus that He and his disciples would “work” on the Sabbath. So after Jesus taught them about the Sabbath, he continued on His way to the synagogue.

It was in the synagogue that Jesus healed a man who had a withered hand. Remember, this is still the Sabbath day so you can imagine that the Pharisees were seething with indignation. Matthew 12:14 states that they “went out and held a council against Him.”

Move down to Matthew 12:22 where our text begins. Jesus is busy healing a man from demonic activity. The Pharisees heard this (Matt 12:24) and were saying that Jesus was casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and teaches them that a kingdom divided by itself cannot stand. He was saying that if He, the Son of God, cast out devils by the Spirit of God then the kingdom of God has come to them. And they didn’t even know it.

I know, what does this have to do with blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Hold on…it’s coming!

The Unforgivable Sin

He that is not with me is against me, Jesus said in Matthew 12:30 and then he says

  • all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven
  • but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven
  • whoever speaks against the Son of man shall be forgiven
  • but any word spoken against the Holy Ghost shall never be forgiven. Not now, not ever.

Okay, what do we know?

One, we know that if we sin against Jesus, those sins will be forgiven. Two, if we sin against the Holy Spirit, that sin will not be forgiven.

I’m guessing you have some questions. So, let’s answer them.

Does God forgive repeated sins?

Yes, God forgives repeated sins. Psalm 103:12 reminds us that As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Do you wonder if your sins are forgiven? Satan will deceive you to think that your sins are not forgiven. Don’t listen to that lie!

When you repent of your sins, God forgives you. He will never throw your sins back at you the way the devil does. Your sins are no longer in His presence.

If you want a second verse to confirm that, read 1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is an incredible promise that you can depend on! God extends His never-ending mercy and grace to you each day, Lamentations 3:22-23. Do you stumble in sin? God will forgive every time you repent of your sin.

Does this mean that you can willfully sin and be forgiven?

When we sin because we like to do it, that is willfully sinning and is not possible for a Christian. Let’s turn over a few pages to 1 John 3:8-9 to get the clarification on that.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

John teaches that those who regularly practice sin is of the devil. Christians, born of God, cannot regularly or habitually, practice sin.

That sin that you do? Are you willfully desiring to do it? Or does it happen unwillingly? Another question to ask is, are you grieved after you’ve sinned? If so, is that the attitude of someone who wants to sin?

2 Corinthians 7:10-11 says it like this, that godly sorrow leads to repentance which leads to being cleared of all wrong. Interesting, right?

So, don’t fall for satan’s tricks to get you to think that your sins are not forgivable. He is a liar and the father of lies and you belong to Almighty God, the God of Truth!

What is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?

Let’s head back to Matthew 12:33-37 where Jesus explains about the tree. This is helpful for you to know who you are. As a born again believer, you are a ‘good tree’, producing good fruit. A good tree cannot produce evil fruit. We just talked about that in the section about “willful sin.”

We need to look at this tree in light of Jesus.

Jesus ended his discourse in verse 37 saying that ‘For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’

Your words will justify you or condemn you. Look back to Matt 12:32 where He said ‘whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world…’

Do you know what are these “words” that is mentioned?

Recall that the Pharisees accused Jesus of delivering the demonic possessed man by Beelzebub. This is the “corrupt tree”, verse 33. The Pharisees equated the Son of God with satan.

Jesus said that He delivered the demoniac by the Spirit of God. Good tree, good fruit.

man and woman facing each other with the text saying What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
Save this to read later…Pin it!

The Pharisees said that Jesus is a bad tree producing good fruit. Remember Matthew 12:24? He was referred to as Beelzebub, bad tree.

Now, look at verse 37, by your words you will be condemned because

the blasphemy against the Spirit is saying that Jesus’ good works (by the Spirit) are the fruit of a bad (demonic) tree.

Jonathan Pennington, The Gospel Coalition, August 13, 2013
Source: What is the Unforgivable Sin by Andy Rau

In a nutshell, the unpardonable sin is explained as giving credit to satan for the works done through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said then and it is still true today, that calling the works that Jesus does through the Spirit of God, demonic, is totally unforgivable.

The Unforgivable Sin

So, can the unpardonable sin be committed today?

Yes, it can still be committed today because what Jesus said in the book of Matthew is still true and never changes.

Can Christians commit the unpardonable sin? No, Christians cannot commit the unpardonable sin. Here’s a quote that supports the verses we looked at:

“If you’re worried that you may be guilty of the unforgivable sin, you almost certainly are not,” Rick Cornish aptly points out in his book Five Minute Theologian. “Concern about committing it reveals the opposite attitude of what the sin is. Those who might be guilty wouldn’t care because they have no distress or remorse over the possibility.”

Lee Strobel, Investigating Faith Newsletter, BibleGateway Blog

So, as long as your heart is tender towards God Almighty, you cannot commit the unforgivable sin. You don’t spend time fretting over whether you have accidentally committed this unforgivable offence.

Have you been thinking about the verses that speak of “grieving” or “quenching” the Holy Spirit? If so, that is a different topic altogether. You can read more about that in this post, 5 Things that Grieve the Holy Spirit, that will be very helpful for you.

There are some other posts about the Holy Spirit that you might find helpful in your walk in the Lord. Check these out!

Sins that are not Considered Unforgivable

In my research, I learned that there are many people, including Christians, who think that certain sins are unforgivable.

Well, there are many who will not extend forgiveness toward others for things done wrong to them. But with God, that’s another story. As we read already, when we repent of sins, God is ready to forgive them and throw them as far as the east is from the west, Psalm 103:12.

woman holding sunglasses with text saying How many unforgivable sins are there?
Save this to read later…Pin it!

So, let’s look at some sins that we may consider unforgivable but are not.

When we repent, God will forgive

  • using His name in vain. The third commandment tells us not to use His name in vain but yet, God will forgive us if we do.
  • suicide. Such a touchy subject but remember this, as a Christian, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God, Romans 8:38-39. So if a Christian is depressed to the point that he or she commits suicide, God will forgive him/her. God sees the heart. God also knows who His children are and when someone is suffering from depression and isn’t thinking clearly, He knows. And He will forgive them when He welcomes them in heaven.
  • divorce. Yes, God hates divorce, He hates what it does to the husband and wife, what it does to the family. But, you know what? God loves the people in a broken marriage. God loves you even if you are divorced. Just like He loves me when I expected that He would hate me because I left my marriage.
  • murder. God loves His children and when someone commits murder, either premeditated or accidental, God will forgive them. Consequences of the sin will have to be lived out but God will extend mercy and forgiveness.
  • breaking and entry, robbery. Stealing from others what doesn’t belong to you, is forgivable upon repentance. Christians won’t purposefully commit these sins but the unsaved would and they can expect forgiveness when they repent in the sincerity of heart.
  • abortion. While this is unimaginable, there are millions of women around the world having abortions for one reason or another. And again, with a sincere heart of repentance, God will forgive each and every one of them for this sin.

All of these sins and more, God will forgive. Remember, Jesus said that ALL sins are forgivable except for one.

So, are you okay now, knowing that you haven’t committed the unpardonable sin? Can you rejoice in your love for God and be thankful for the Holy Spirit living in you, leading and directing you?

Are you desiring to live a holy life but not sure how to do that? Or maybe you want to know about walking in the truth of His Word? These posts will be helpful:

That’s a Wrap

There you have it. The unforgivable sin explained. You now know

  • God forgives repeated sin and does not throw them back at you
  • Christians cannot habitually and willfully sin against God
  • the unpardonable sin can still be committed today but not by those who are tenderhearted towards God, serving Him in humility and out of love.
  • Christians cannot commit the unforgivable sin because of your love for God
  • blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is crediting the works of God done through the Holy Spirit to satan
  • the unforgivable sin is committed by those who are not the sons of God

What do you think about this? Has this cleared up for you what the unforgivable sin is? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment below!

Did you like this post? Sign up to stay in touch with me!

11 thoughts on “The Unforgivable Sin: What is it?

  1. Christine

    Thank you so very much. It’s a wonderful message. It put many things into perspective.
    God bless you and the work you do.

  2. Saphronia

    What about being angry with God? Raising your fist to Him and saying things you will regreat later.

    I keep wondering if God will forgive me for all the terrible things i had said to Him because of some delima i was going through. Feeling like He didnt care for me but only used me as a pawn.

    Im very ashamed and i can not feel His presence anymore. I couldnt blame Him for throwing me into the lake if fire.

    Thanks

    • Cindy

      Hi, Saphronia. I’m so glad you asked that question as I believe it is common for all of us to do that at one time or another. My answer is that that is NOT an unforgivable sin. Upon repentance, God WILL forgive you! Getting angry with God for whatever reason is forgivable.

      Don’t let the enemy steal your peace and joy any longer. Repent before God and accept His forgiveness. It may sound like a difficult thing to do but that is because the enemy doesn’t want you to accept the fact that God will forgive you immediately.

      If you read the post again, there are verses in there that speak of forgiveness that will help reassure you of that truth. Write down the Scripture references and look them up in your Bible. When you have thoughts that maybe God didn’t forgive you, you can then look at these verses and remind yourself that this is TRUTH and not a lie. God WILL forgive you!

      If you need to get in touch with me, you can send me an email at cindy.friendship@gmail.com and I’ll reply to you, okay?

      I will be praying for you!

  3. Monica Sanday

    I’ve always been afraid and in question about whether or not I have committed the unforgivable sin especially when at times I no longer feel His presence or when I’m no longer close to Him…
    Thank You very much…
    Reading this has really helped me a lot.
    God continue to bless you and everything that you do. ❤

    • Cindy

      I’m very glad that this post helped clarify for you what the unforgivable sin is. When you’re not feeling His presence, ask yourself what just happened, do I need to repent of any sin? If so, repent and I’m sure you will sense His presence again.
      Thanks for your comment, Monica, I’m glad you stopped by today!

  4. What a great Bible study! So many of us secretly question what an unforgivable sin is (and if I’ve committed it!) but your post really spells it out. My take-away quote is “the unpardonable sin is explained as giving credit to satan for the works done through the Holy Spirit.” I’ve never thought of it that way before. Great job!

    • Cindy

      Hey, Melissa! Yes, this was/is a great Bible study! I love digging in to see what the Word is teaching us and when we read verses out of context, it sends us down the wrong path. Thank God for studying in context! Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed this study! <3

  5. Pingback: 5 Things that Grieve the Holy Spirit - Women's Tabletop Friendship

  6. Joseph Higgin

    Hello Cindy,
    Just want to correct you on something. Suicide is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. If forgiveness is something that a repentant heart is searching for, in no way shape or form is suicide a form of forgiveness. We are not given to much to bear. As stated in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will not temp us with misery, but will make a way out of no way. It’s sad to say, but suicide is common among man (both male and female), and it is our duty to cast all care on God, for he cares for us as stated in 1 Peter 5:7. By committing suicide, no matter how we look at it, we have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It’s murder. And if we take our temple and abuse it for our own pleasure, God will not be pleased. When Christ Jesus was on the cross, every weight of sin was lifted off of us and we were given an opportunity to come unto the Lord in any situation except blasphemy of the Holy Ghost and be forgiven. A big example in the Bible that a lot of people know of is Judas Iscariot committed suicide, but if he didn’t, he could have been forgiven if he had repented and stayed away from that way of thinking. It was hard on him, but God had a plan for him, but he still had a chance. God has created us to serve him, and he has the right paths laid out for us. A form of blasphemy is to take the will of God into our own hands, especially when we feel overwhelmed with this world, which we are definitely not supposed to be conformed to. By the transformation of our minds, we are to let our mind be in us that was also in Christ Jesus. No matter what a person is going through, they need to understand that if we make it up in our minds that we need to commit suicide, we have a heavy heart and Christ Jesus has reminded us of the fulfillment of the commandments is two forms. One, as it is written in Matthew 22:37, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” If the heart doesn’t love God, the mind can’t. And if the soul hungers and thirst for God, but the neither the heart or mind is right, God is not going to be glorified. Two, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” The problem with that, is the pain that is received after a person has committed suicide to family, friends, and even strangers. The time that we are contemplating it, no matter the situation, we must lay aside every weight that so easily beset is and run this race with patience as Paul has written for us to do.
    ‭‭

    • Cindy

      Thank you very much, Joseph, for your thoughtful comment.

      I fully understand how you or anyone else could think that suicide is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. I had been taught that as well because how could the person who committed suicide have a chance to repent? It made no sense to me.

      It is true that suicide is common among men and women, even among Christians. It is sad that a person’s life goes so far that he or she feels life isn’t worth living anymore. I have experienced that as well when I was a teenager but thankfully that was not successful.

      I totally agree with you that God is not pleased when we abuse our bodies, whether it is through overeating, drinking alcohol excessively or doing drugs. He’s also not pleased when we abuse ourselves through torture, mutilation or any other method that changes our body from what He designed it to be.

      Yes, I totally agree that Jesus hung on the cross for our sins, carrying it with Him for the sole purpose of giving us the wonderful gift of salvation and eternal life. I praise God for that! Such love!

      You are right that as believers we are not to be conformed to this world but be renewed through our minds by the washing of the Word. And you are right that sin and murder are blasphemy against God. But…

      As I study this subject, which is controversial at best, I come to the same conclusion. The words that Jesus spoke are quite clear to me and that is that every sin we (mankind) can and does do, is forgivable. Can you imagine that? Everything except for one sin.

      Jesus own words say in Matthew 12:31-32: (and also Mark 3:28-29)
      31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 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.

      As I wrote in the post that Jesus explains that attributing the works of the Spirit of God to the devil is the one and only unforgivable sin.
      All other sins, including suicide, are forgivable.

      I wanted to ensure that I wasn’t alone in this conclusion so I did some external research and found this blurb that I thought might be helpful:

      Is Suicide the Unpardonable Sin? People often answer “yes” to this question because suicide leaves no room for repentance; a person enters eternity with unconfessed and therefore unforgiven sin. But nowhere does the Bible say that suicide is an unforgivable or unpardonable sin. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that all sin—past, present, and future—is forgiven through faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
      SOURCE: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-suicide-the-unpardonable-sin/

      And this blurb is from another source, Nicolas Davis:
      Suicide is mentioned only six times in the whole Bible, but when it is mentioned there is no moral evaluation given as to whether it is right or wrong:
      1. Abimelech (Judg. 9:50–57);
      2. Samson (Judg. 16:28–30);
      3. Saul (1 Sam. 31:1–6; 2 Sam. 1:1–15; 1 Chron. 10:1–13);
      4. Ahithophel (2 Sam. 17:23); 5. Zimri (1 Kings 16:18–19); and
      6. Judas Iscariot (Matt. 27:5; Acts 1:18–20).

      In fact, the clear and consistent message of the Bible is the complete and full forgiveness of sins (past, present, and future—known sin and unknown sin) through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

      SOURCE: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/is-suicide-the-unforgivable-sin

      I will conclude with this borrowed statement from Nicolas Davis:
      Suicide is certainly a sin—because it robs a person of the sanctity of life and the full time given to them by God alone. Family and friends of a believer who has committed suicide should never worry about whether their loved one is in heaven. Thankfully, even suicide is not greater than the body and blood of Jesus—broken and shed for the forgiveness of all our sins.

      So, again, thank you for your comment. I appreciate hearing from you.

So, what are your thoughts about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.