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Unforgivable

Read: Matthew 12:24-32

Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (v. 32)

When I was in high school, a friend dropped out of Bible college and fell into a deep depression. He confessed the reason for both: he feared he had committed “the unforgivable sin.”

Jesus mentions a sin that will not be forgiven: blaspheming, or “speaking against,” the Holy Spirit (v. 32). To understand this grave sin, we must first understand the role of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit bears witness to the glory and grace of the Father and the Son using inspired words and, at times, miraculous works. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to misattribute his works or deny his words. The Pharisees denied the Spirit’s witness by crediting Satan with the Spirit’s works (v. 24). We may at times deny the Spirit’s witness by ignoring his words. Among other divine truths, the Holy Spirit tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and “there is salvation in no one else” but Jesus (Acts 4:12). When we respond, “I’m not that bad” or “I can earn salvation by being good” or even “I am too bad for Jesus to save me,” we blaspheme the Spirit. We deny his witness.

There is good news. If you fear the “unforgivable sin,” you know that you need salvation. This means the Spirit has already convicted you, and you need only accept his testimony: “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24 NIV). —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, receive the Spirit’s conviction and embrace his message of salvation.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.