By Hank Hanegraaff
This is one of the most frequently asked questions on the Bible Answer Man broadcast, and it stems from the following words spoken by Christ: “I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 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” (Matthew 12:31–32 NASB). As a result of these words, Christians are often paralyzed by the fear of having committed the unforgivable sin.
In response, let me first point out that from a historic perspective, the Pharisees mentioned by Jesus militantly hated Christ and attributed His miracles to Beelzebub, the prince of demons. Unlike people who are afraid they have committed the unforgivable sin, the Pharisees were totally unconcerned about receiving Christ’s forgiveness. Instead, with premeditation and persistence, they willfully blasphemed the Holy Spirit’s testimony that Christ was the Son of the living God. It is crucial to recognize, then, that the unforgivable sin is not a single act but a continuous, ongoing rejection of Jesus.
Furthermore, those who have committed the unpardonable sin have no godly regrets. As Paul emphasized in Romans, they not only continue in their evil ways but approve of others who do so as well (1:32). Conversely, “godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Sorrow for sin and the desire for Christ’s forgiveness are proof positive that you have not rejected the Savior of your soul. Never forget that three times Peter denied his Lord with vile oaths. Yet not only did Christ forgive him, but his confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 NASB) became the cornerstone of the Christian church.
Finally, the Bible consistently teaches that those who spend eternity separated from God do so because they willingly, knowingly, and continuously reject the gospel. John referred to this as the “sin that leads to death” (1 John 5:16) in the sense that those who refuse forgiveness through Christ will spend eternity separated from His grace and love. Be assured that those who sincerely desire God’s forgiveness can be absolutely certain that He will never turn them away.
These things I have written to you who believe in
the name of the Son of God, that you may know
that you have eternal life, and that you may
continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:13 NKJV
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, “The Unforgivable Sin,”.
***Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***