What is The Unforgivable Sin Really? – Matthew 12:24-50

Reflection from my reading in Matthew 12:24-50 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

This is one of the more scary passages of scripture! After reading some commentaries, here are some of my thoughts on this passage.

A House Divided 

The context as always is important in interpreting  scripture. Jesus healed a demon-oppressed man and the religious leaders said Jesus was using the power of Beelzebul, the prince of Demons.

Jesus responded by telling them that a kingdom divided against it self will not stand.

Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” Matthew 12:25–26

Jesus showed them how illogical their claims were….

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matthew 12:28

Basically, the religious leaders were attributing the Spirit’s work to demons! By denying the Spirit’s work, they were in effect rejecting Jesus and his validity. Jesus was drawing the line in the sand. Either you are with me or not!

The Scariest Passage In the Bible

“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:31–32

For passages like this, it is important not to overlook them or explain them away. As I did research on this, it is important to know that it is not the the words themselves that are not unforgivable but the fruit of a heart that has rejected the Holy Spirit. One of the best commentaries I have found on this section is from Warren Wiersbe, 

“It appears that this situation existed only while Christ was ministering on earth. Jesus did not appear to be different from any other Jewish man (Isa. 53:2). To speak against Christ could be forgiven while He was on earth. But when the Spirit of God came at Pentecost as proof that Jesus was the Christ, and was alive, to reject the witness of the Spirit was final. The only consequence would be judgment. When the leaders rejected John the Baptist, they were rejecting the Father who sent him. When they rejected Jesus, they were rejecting the Son. But when they rejected the ministry of the Apostles, they rejected the Holy Spirit—and that is the end. There is no more witness. Such rejection cannot be forgiven.

Basically, God can forgive any sin accept the final rejection of the God himself. In his outline, Warren Wiersbe explains even more simply,

It is the sin of willful, persistent unbelief and final rejection of Jesus Christ. Adultery is not unpardonable (see John 8:1–11), nor is murder (God forgave David). But when a person persists in rejecting Christ and comes to the place where his heart is so calloused he has no concern for his eternal destiny, then it is too late.”

So my best understanding is that the unforgivable sin in this passage is attributing the work of the Spirit done by Jesus to demons, and ultimately rejecting Jesus and not receiving his forgiveness and eternal life.

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About David Worcester

I am the founder and director of a campus ministry at San Diego State called Challenge. I am also serving as an ordained elder at Mission Trails Church. I love speaking and writing about college ministry, gospel appointments, and practical ways to live out God’s Word! I am also passionate about: leadership training, learning, missions, church planting, surfing, hiking, sports, photography and traveling (So far I’ve visited 23 countries & all 50 states). I’m married to Jessica Worcester who I fell in love with while doing college ministry together and we have a two year old son named Samuel. I graduated from from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a degree in Film & Video Studies. And I received my Masters in Theological Studies from Gateway Seminary. I am an ordained minister who loves speaking and writing about practical ways to live out God’s Word in life and ministry.

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