“Have I Committed The Unforgivable Sin?”
I’ve received messages several times from people who were in anguish, fearing they had committed the unforgivable sin and no longer had any hope of being saved. These messages so move my heart because I was there before, tormented by fear, when I was 12 years old. Yet I’ve experienced such joy and freedom since.
Maybe some people are reading this who are dealing right now with the tormenting fear of having committed the unforgivable sin. Or maybe you’ve had someone confide in you that they were dealing with this same fear. There are so many Christians who’ve dealt with this, and I’d like to share what helped me.
The Unforgivable Sin
First, let’s look at the two texts that are most closely related to the concept of an unforgivable sin:
Matthew 12:31-32 (NIV) And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
The context of this passage was the Pharisees rejecting Jesus the Messiah and saying he did his work by the devil’s power. Some that the other passage, in Hebrews, has a similar context. It was written before the devastating destruction of Jerusalem to Jews who were in danger of going back to trusting in animal sacrifices and the Jewish system and dying in the slaughter of AD 70. (The Christians who heeded Jesus’ warning about this in Matthew 24, fled to the mountains, and escaped.)
Hebrews 6:4-9 (NIV) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.
This passage terrified me when I was a kid. Although we should heed warnings to not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13), despair doesn’t bring anyone to repentance! Let’s talk about how to know you haven’t committed the unforgivable sin. I’ll share some of the scriptures that helped me.
How To Know You Haven’t Committed The Unforgivable Sin
In my near-despair, I found a few scriptures that I grabbed on to which gave me hope. This was a big one:
John 6:37 (NRSV) All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
Jesus promised he would never turn away anybody who came to him. Therefore, nobody who has committed the unforgivable sin will come to Jesus. If your heart is crying “Jesus, help me,” then you have not committed the unforgivable sin.
Psalm 145:18-19 (NRSV) The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them.
Grab onto this promise of scripture. The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth. If you are calling on Jesus sincerely, you want to be free from sin and torment, he is near to you. Nobody who is calling on the Lord has committed the unforgivable sin.
Romans 10:12b-13 (NRSV) the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The fact that your heart is tender and you are worried about grieving the Lord shows that you have not committed an unforgivable sin and that the Holy Spirit is working in your life. If you had committed an unforgivable sin, you really wouldn’t be worried about it! You wouldn’t care!
How Many Times Should We Forgive?
These words of Jesus also helped me:
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV) Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
If Jesus told Peter to forgive this man times, how much more is our Heavenly Father patient? Maybe you have failed again and again. Open yourself up to the Holy Spirit, invite him to help you and produce Christ’s character in you. Don’t wait change your life before you approach God. Receive his forgiveness and come to him now.
Seek The Lord With All Your Heart!
I held on to these scriptures when, as a young pre-teen, I was terrified of having committed the unforgiveable sin. Then Ann and Charles Stock ministered as guest speakers at our new church when I was 12 years old, and I felt God’s love come all over my body, so I could physically feel it. God showed me that not only did he still love me, but he had great plans for my life.
Three years later, when I was 15 years old, I again had a similar experience with God’s love. It set me free from an obsessive-compulsive disorder caused by guilt and condemnation. I went on to walk more closely with the Lord, to feel his love flowing through me like a river, and experience unspeakable joy.
Listen to me. GOD LOVES YOU! You may not feel like it. You may feel hopeless, tormented, and on the brink of despair, but God still loves you and has a plan for your life. He is the God of hope! (Romans 15:13) He has a glorious, wonderful future for you, and he hasn’t given up on you! The Holy Spirit doesn’t feel like you’re too hard a case for him! You may have been faithless, but he is still faithful!
2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV) if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Jeremiah 29:1 (NIV) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Regardless of how you feel, decide to seek wholeheartedly to know God and to know his love for you. Call on Jesus’ name and find promises in scripture that you can grab a hold of for encouragement. If you have to write them down, do it! If you fall, keep getting up again and going on with the Lord!
Proverbs 24:16 (NIV) For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.
Hebrews 12:1+2 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.