The Fear of the Unpardonable Sin Radio Church of God
Here is an intriguing article by Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong's Administrative Assistant
THE MOST destructive and terrifying thought that can enter a Christian's mind is the thought that he has been completely cut off from God by having committed the unpardonable sin. Think of it for a moment! How would it feel, after having known the depths of God's wisdom, after having seen the glorious reward of eternal life in God's very own family — as His Son — to live forever fulfilling His purpose throughout the endless reaches of the universe through joy and wisdom and service — having been glorified like Jesus Christ and made like Him — shining as the sun in its full strength (Rev. 2:16), and then after having known all these things to realize you had LOST IT ALL through the commission of the unpardonable sin!
Cut Off from God FOREVER
Think of what it would be like to be CUT OFF from God forever. Sin SEPARATES US FROM GOD (Isa. 59:1-2). The unpardonable sin cuts us off from God FOREVER. Cut off from God, He would never hear your voice again in prayer. No matter how long or how hard you prayed or cried out with tears, He would NEVER HEAR YOU AGAIN! The fear of having committed the unpardonable sin is very real. It is a fear that many of God's people have had. It is one of the most potent weapons of Satan the Devil, to make us believe we no longer have access to God — that we have been cut off forever. Fear of this kind can utterly destroy us, can throw us into such a fit of despair we no longer want to live. To a true Christian there is no life but service to God, and if one feels he has lost his connection with God, then there is nothing else left to live for. In this frame of mind, Satan can easily overpower us and destroy us, which is his goal. In order to be sure we do not fall into this destructive trap, we need to fully understand what the unpardonable sin is. We need to look into the Bible — the word of God — for the answer.
What Is the Unpardonable Sin?
There is only ONE "unpardonable sin"! Let's notice WHAT it is. Jesus Christ said in Mark 3:28, "Verily I say unto you, 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 Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." The one sin man can commit that is unpardonable is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; ALL other sins, when repented of, can be forgiven — but NOT blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What does blasphemy against the Holy Spirit mean? How is it done? In Matthew 12:22, we pick up the story of the same incident mentioned in Mark 3:28. A man was brought to Christ. This man was possessed by a demon that made him both blind and dumb. Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, rebuked the demon, releasing the man from his bondage. Immediately all the people that were there said, "Is not this the son of David?" (verse 23). They meant, was not this the promised Messiah who would be the Son of David? (Isa. 11:10). They were convinced Christ was the Messiah and had done this miracle by the power of the Holy Spirit in Him. But notice what the Pharisees said when they heard of it, verse 24, "This fellow does not cast out demons, but by Beelzebub, the prince of demons" (in other words — Satan). These Pharisees did not attribute this wonderful miracle to the Holy Spirit, but to SATAN — they accused Christ Himself of having a demon. They called the precious Holy Spirit of God a dirty, foul spirit of Satan. They BLASPHEMED against the Holy Spirit. These same Jews later crucified their very own Savior, placarding and nailing to a stake — in open shame — the Son of God who had come to redeem them. Now, here is the primary key. Every man who has committed the unpardonable sin, HAS DONE EXACTLY WHAT THOSE JEWS DID... but let's go on.
How We Can Blaspheme Against the Holy Spirit
The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit tells us, "If we sin WILLFULLY after we have received the knowledge of the truth, THERE REMAINETH NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SIN"' (Heb. 10:26). Willful sin is unpardonable! WILLFUL SIN, then, IS BLASPHEMY against the Holy Spirit. The sacrifice that was originally made for sins was the life of Christ given for us (Rom. 5:10). And, if we sin willfully, deliberately, ON PURPOSE, realizing in our minds we are knowingly committing the very sins that put Jesus Christ on the cross, we are CONSENTING to His crucifixion — in full knowledge He is the Son of David — the Son of God. We are guilty as were those very Pharisees who accused and crucified Him. We agree with the words by which they condemned Him: "Away with Him — crucify Him. We have NO king but Caesar" (John 19:15). We are putting our Savior to open shame — BLASPHEMING — in contempt, the Holy Spirit that is in Him. That is why Paul concludes by saying that for these there is nothing but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour them (verse 27).
Is Sin Under Temptation Unpardonable?
Many times, as Christians, we fall short of the perfection for which Christ was our example. We weaken under temptation and make wrong choices, discovering later — perhaps the next instant — that we have sinned against God. Is this type of sin unpardonable? Notice in Rom. 5:10 that our PAST guilt is pardoned by the death of Christ our Savior, but we SHALL be saved (in the future) by His life. Christ is now our High Priest, seated at God's right hand making intercession for us. He knew we would stumble and make mistakes. But, when we realize we have committed a sin and REPENT of it, He ever lives to make intercession for us by His ONE sacrifice (Heb. 7:25). By that sacrifice He gained access to God the Father. The key to the forgiveness of our sins is our REPENTANCE.
Did Paul Sin?
The apostle Paul fell short and sinned, as we also do. He realized the weakness of human flesh. He states in Romans 7:15, "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would that do I not: but what I HATE, that do I." Yes, even though Paul knew the right way, he at times did the wrong thing. How many times do we — knowing deep within us that it is wrong, allow our minds to deceive us, to persuade us it is right, only to discover later we have sinned against God. Did Paul commit the unpardonable sin? Certainly not! He sometimes yielded to the temptation of sin which is common to us all (verse 23). Most important is the ATTITUDE of Paul. Notice verse 24, Paul REPENTS for this miserable weakness of the flesh: "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death." He then thanks God that Jesus Christ WILL deliver him (verse 24).
When Is It Impossible to Repent?
The key to understanding the commission of the unpardonable sin is in Paul's attitude. His attitude was one of REPENTANCE. In Hebrews 6:4-6 he tells us that those who have fallen away from the truth of God — who have willfully sinned and rejected the truth of God, through the Holy Spirit — CANNOT REPENT. "For it is IMPOSSIBLE for those who were... made partakers of the Holy Spirit... if they shall fall away to RENEW them again unto repentance." THEY CANNOT REPENT — their whole attitude has changed. Instead of being repentant and subject to the Holy Spirit of God, they now reject truth and abhor the Spirit of truth. They now CRUCIFY Christ — the Son of God within themselves. Within their minds they take the Son of God, through whom alone they have forgiveness, and nail Him once again to a stake, holding His Holy life up to open shame. Read it yourselves in verse 6: "Seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame." Those who have committed the unpardonable sin have no Redeemer! They have crucified their Redeemer and Savior, blaspheming against the Holy Spirit by which they HAD access to God.
Any Christian who has found himself guilty of sin and who has thought he has committed the unpardonable sin has suffered terrible mental anguish. For he has realized what a horrible fate it would be to be cut off from God FOREVER. He sees himself in utter misery and sorrow. For those of you who have had this fear, be reassured that those who have really committed the unpardonable sin can NEVER feel this way. For they want nothing to do with God or His works. They have attributed God's works to Satan — have blasphemed and cried out against the Holy Spirit — and have crucified the Son of God within themselves. They CANNOT repent! IN THEIR EYES THEY HAVE NOTHING TO REPENT OF. A truly begotten Christian, realizing his sin, will cry out in prayer and tears — repenting of his transgression. In this attitude of REPENTANCE and fear at having disobeyed God, we have absolute reassurance we have NOT committed the unpardonable sin. It is our proof! We should fear to commit the unpardonable sin. We should guard against becoming antagonistic toward the ministers whom God has chosen — letting ourselves fall away little by little from prayer, Bible study and service to God — lest one day we lightly esteem the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His truth and blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Our life must be constantly striving for perfection. We must continue to overcome and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Remember that God is a God of love (I John 4:8). He is longsuffering toward us, desiring us to REPENT daily of our mistakes (II Pet. 3:9). Do not fall prey to unreasonable fear of having committed the unpardonable sin. If you are sorry and have repented, LOOK UP TO JESUS CHRIST YOUR SAVIOR and realize His word is truth (John 17:17). For He said "FEAR NOT, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give YOU the kingdom (Luke 12:32).