Worried about the unforgiveable?

Published 10:28 pm Friday, April 29, 2016

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

It was a junior high school youth retreat. Somehow, a discussion started in my small group about the so-called “unpardonable sin” of Mark 3:28-29, which says, “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”

“Have I somehow ever committed this sin?” I began to worry. Actually, I was terrified. And no one was in the room to explain what I am about to share with you.

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The context of this passage is that Jesus has just been accused of being demon possessed, and doing miracles by the power of demons. His enemies have called him “Beelzebul,” which means “master of the house.” They were essentially accusing Jesus of being Satan, the master of the house of demons.

You see, to the hard-core enemies who were opposing the ministry of Jesus, it didn’t matter how many good works or miracles he performed. They were simply going to write them off to the power of Satan.

They were like a man with a terrible disease who is told that there is one physician in the world who can perform life-saving surgery on him. This doctor is able and willing to save this man’s life.

But here’s the problem: The man has convinced himself that the doctor is actually a sadistic murderer who kills people on the operating table. Therefore, he is never going to come for healing surgery.

That is the position of these opponents of Jesus. They have convinced themselves that the doctor is actually the devil, and they will never come to him for the soul healing they desperately need.

That is not the position of people who worry that they have somehow committed this sin! In fact, if people worry that they have somehow committed the “unpardonable sin,” they have obviously never committed it.

A person who has actually committed it would never feel any anxiety about it, nor would they ever come to Jesus to ask forgiveness for it.

So this is not a matter of a person coming to God and asking for forgiveness and being denied it. God has never denied forgiveness to anyone who has come to him in repentance, placing his or her faith in Christ.

As New Testament scholar James Edwards says, “Anyone who is worried about having committed the sin against the Holy Spirit has not committed it, for anxiety of having done so is evidence of the potential for repentance. There is no record in Scripture of anyone asking forgiveness of God and being denied it!”

My friend, if you come to Jesus, humbly trusting in his death for your sins and his resurrection from the dead, he will NOT deny forgiveness to you!

The very fact that you are coming to him is evidence of his Spirit working in your life, and evidence that you have never committed this eternal sin.

Therefore, stop worrying. Right now. Instead, look to Jesus and trust in his finished work for you. At the cross, he paid your sin debt in full. He rose to conquer death for you. He loves you, and he will receive all who turn to him.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.