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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A lesson given at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, February 25, 2017

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).

I. First, what is the unpardonable sin?

The Reformation Study Bible (Ligonier Ministries, 2005) says,

“The unpardonable sin…is a ‘blasphemy against the Spirit.’ This blasphemy is an act performed by speaking, understood as an expression, of the thoughts of the heart. In the particular context the opponents of Jesus were saying that the power doing good works among them was not from God but from the devil. Jesus distinguishes between this blasphemy and other sins, both other sins of speech and other sins in general. As the Bible teaches, God forgave sins of incest, murder, lying, and even Paul’s persecution of the church, which Paul did while ‘breathing out threats and murder’ against God’s people (Acts 9:1).

 What makes the unpardonable sin so different from others is its relation to the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to enlighten the mind of sinners (Ephesians 1:17-18), to reveal and teach the gospel (John 14:26), persuading souls to repent and believe [Christ]. The Spirit does not only explain the Word of God, but He opens the mind so that it is received…When His influence is deliberately and knowingly refused, in opposition to the light, then the irreversible sin can be committed as a voluntary informed act of malice. In response there is a hardening of the heart from God that rules out repentance and faith (Hebrews 3:12, 13). God permits the decision of the human will to be permanent in this case. God does not do this lightly or without cause, but in response to an offense against His love.

The other verses dealing with the unpardonable sin are Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29; and I John 5:16, 17. These show the possibility of this sin…Jesus said, ‘All sin’ and ‘whatever blasphemies’ shall be forgiven, except only this one sin” – THE UNPARDONABLE SIN!

  Dr. Henry C. Thiessen, in his book Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology (Eerdmans, 1949) said,

“Sins of final obduracy [hardening]. The degree to which the soul has hardened itself and become unreceptive to multiplied offers of the grace of God, here determines the degree of guilt. Final obduracy [hardening] is the sin against the Holy Spirit and is unpardonable, because the soul through it has ceased to be receptive of divine influence” (p. 270).

II. Second, examples of the unpardonable sin.

1.  Cain, Genesis 4:3-7, 11-12, 16.

2.  The people of Noah’s day, Genesis 7:16 – “The Lord shut him in.”
      (See Matthew 24:37-38; see II Peter 2:5)

3.  The people of Sodom, Genesis 19:12-15, 24, 26.

4.  Pharaoh, Exodus 7:14; 7:22; 8:15; 8:19; 8:32; 9:35; 10:17-20; 11:10.

5.  Esau, Hebrews 12:16-17.

6.  Israel at Kadesh-Barnea, Hebrews 3:7, 8, 10-12.

7.  People who are enlightened, Hebrews 6:4-6.

8.  The Rich Young Ruler, Matthew 19:22; Romans 1:28-32.

9.  Judas, Matthew 27:3-5.

 We have never had a prodigal son or daughter come back and be converted. More than that, we have never had anyone who left the church, and later was converted. We can’t be completely sure, but it seems that most of them have committed the unpardonable sin, Hebrews 6:4-6.

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