Is There an Unpardonable Sin?

Is there a sin that God will not impute to the sacrifice of Christ?  Is there an “unpardonable sin” mentioned in Scripture?

The Pharisees and Sadducees attempted to disqualify Jesus as the begotten son of God by demanding evidence proving he was the messiah, and so “the Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.”  But Jesus responded by saying:  “When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather:  for the sky is red.  And in the morning, it will be foul weather today:  for the sky is red and lowring.  O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Mt. 16:1-3.)

Plainly, then, Jesus was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees that they were in no position to discern and judge what would constitute a “sign from heaven” because they could not discern the “signs of the times” regarding the coming of the messiah and the state of the Commonwealth of Israel.

Thus, Jesus’ rebuke further revealed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which largely had its roots in the beliefs and ideas of those who returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile in the days of Ezra.  Because it is apparent from the recorded arguments of the Pharisees and Sadducees that they had accepted some misguided beliefs while anchoring their authoritative claims on being perpetual inheritors of the land of promise because they were of the lineage of Abraham (Ezra 9:10-15).

Consequently, this issue of a perpetual inheritance became a foundational argument for the Pharisees and Sadducees, and also the scribes, when they confronted Jesus and when they challenged the baptism of John the Baptist.  And so we see that those who came to the prophet John for baptism were told to:  “bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father:  for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Lk. 3:8).  [Author’s emphasis throughout.]

Allowing us then to say that the issue of the “stones” indirectly implied that gentiles could also become “children” of Abraham, because the promise of a perpetual landed inheritance—made possible by the gift of holy spirit—is not dependent on a biological pedigree related to Abraham (Acts 13:26).  But it is, however, dependent upon being reconciled to God, and that reconciliation is defined in the context of the law of God—the Ten Commandments.

This is of importance to consider because sin is also defined by that same law of God.

That is why Jesus called upon sinners to accept the requirement of repentance–demonstrating the fruits of repentance as revealed by the law–so that they may receive the holy spirit, and by means of the holy spirit they—including the gentiles—could then become as “children of Abraham,” and co-heirs with Jesus in regard to the coming kingdom of God (Gal. 3:7).  Which tells us that unless we repent we are not in a position to have our sins imputed to the sacrifice of Christ, and thereby we forfeit any right of inheritance by excluding ourselves from being “children of Abraham,” because the promise of incorruptible life is not without a familial identity in Abraham (Lk. 15:7; Acts 11:17-18).

For the Apostle Paul clearly stated that:  “if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).

Meaning then that if we are not repentant in breaking the law of God, and we reject the sacrifice of Jesus for the remission of our sins, then we can become unworthy of receiving forgiveness of our sins and begin to place ourselves outside the promises and in an unpardonable position in regard to the penalty incurred by our sins.

Or we could say that if we do not have an attitude of repentance then our sins will not be imputed to the sacrifice of Jesus, and therefore we remain unjustified before God.  But if we do repent, and we do ask for forgiveness, then there is no sin that cannot be imputed to Jesus’ sacrifice, because Jesus said that:  “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:  But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost [spirit] hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” (Mk. 3:28-29).  (Compare with Mt. 5:22, “in danger of hell fire.”)  (See also, Mt. 12:31-32; I Jn. 1:7.)

Bringing us then to these questions.

Why is there no forgiveness for those who “blaspheme” the holy spirit of God?

Does this mean there is a sin that cannot be forgiven and imputed to the sacrifice of Christ?

Now in the book of Hebrews we read that:  “he that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy [of impending punishment], who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant [Jesus’ sacrifice], wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28-29.)  (See also, Num. 15:30; Heb. 10:38-39; II Pt. 2:20-22.)

Simply, then, those who will not repent—rejecting the sacrifice of Jesus—can do spite to the spirit of God.

Or, we can say that an unrepentant rejection of the sacrifice of Jesus is a statement against the spirit of God, and those who refuse to repent in the end, and who willingly reject the sacrifice of Jesus, will find that in the end they cannot be pardoned from receiving their impending punishment, which is to lose out on the gift of eternal life (Jn. 3:16).  And the Apostle Paul clarified this when he said that:  “if we sin willfully [sin with no willingness to repent] after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Heb. 10:26).

Telling us then that Paul was not talking about sins that can’t be imputed to Christ’s sacrifice, but rather Paul was talking about individuals for which there is “no more sacrifice,” because such individuals have nullified the sacrifice of Christ and have left themselves with no other sacrifice to which their sins can be imputed.

Therefore we can say that there is no sin that is defined outside the Ten Commandments, and there is no sin that cannot–upon repentance–be expiated by the sacrifice of Christ.  Because we cannot become subject to the penalty of a sin apart from our own free will in regard to our reconciliation with God (I Jn. 1:7).  Therefore a rejection of Jesus’ sacrifice causes us to remain a sinner, and if this unrepentant attitude should continue it can lead to vilifying (“blaspheming”) the spirit of God.

For the Apostle Paul stated that it is impossible:  “for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy ghost [spirit], and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:4-6).

Making then a distinction between sins that can be forgiven, and a person who cannot be forgiven of their sins, which means there is no “unpardonable sin,” but rather there is an “unpardonable person” because he or she has exercised their will to unchangeably reject the sacrifice of Christ with an unrepentant attitude.  Implying in some manner a forfeiture of, or resistance to, the spirit of God (Mk. 3:29; Acts 7:51; I Jn. 3:4; 5:17).  (The phrase “unpardonable sin” is a misnomer interpreted from scriptural text, which incorrectly implies there is a sin that cannot be imputed to the sacrifice of Jesus.)

Or, in other words, all sins, including blasphemy, can be imputed to the sacrifice of Jesus upon repentance, and sin is defined by the law of God.  But in defining sin, the Apostle Paul explained that the unwillingness to repent of sins is also sin, as it is a rejection of the sacrifice of Christ and an insult to the “spirit of grace,” with grace being defined as God’s willingness to subject the law to his will and to impute our sins–upon repentance–to the sacrifice of Jesus.

Simply, the willful and resolute refusal to repent of sins is in itself a sin, for which there exists no sacrifice that can be applied, placing a person in an unpardonable position.

Therefore we can conclude that “all sins” and “blasphemies” can be forgiven as Jesus said, but not all sinners will be forgiven and pardoned of their impending penalty if they—having been a “partaker of the holy spirit”—should willfully choose to remain unrepentant to the end–rejecting Jesus’ sacrifice–and leaving them without a sacrifice to which their sins can be imputed (Mt. 10:38-39).