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Bible Studies

24. The Holy Spirit and The Unpardonable Sin

Power for The Future

A pastor was approached by a young man who nervously asked, “May I talk with you privately?” The pastor learned that this young man feared he had committed the unpardonable sin. He wondered whether forgiveness was possible. Could he have gone beyond God’s mercy?

This young man is not an isolated case. Many people are perplexed regarding this vital subject. What is the unpardonable sin? Will an individual know if and when they commit it? Is there a sin so great that even God Himself cannot forgive it?

If the unpardonable sin is the sin against the Holy Spirit, it is extremely important to understand how the Holy Spirit works on our hearts. This lesson will clearly reveal what the unpardonable sin is and how to avoid rejecting the claims of the Holy Spirit upon our lives.

01. How does Jesus describe the unpardonable sin?
Matthew 12:31–32
“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
This is a fascinating Bible passage. The Pharisees attributed Jesus’ miracle working power to Beelzebub (another name for Satan) rather than God. Why did they do this? For one simple reason. If they accepted Christ’s miracles, they had to accept Him as divine. This would mean a dramatic change in their lives. The unpardonable sin is not a specific sin, like adultery, murder, stealing, or cursing. Jesus clearly states that “every sin” will be forgiven. The unpardonable sin is the refusal to accept Jesus for who He is, our loving, forgiving, life-changing Savior. As we shall discover in today’s lesson, it has to do with a hardened, unrepentant heart.

02. What conditions does God list for forgiveness?
Acts 2:38

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

All sins that are repented of and confessed will be forgiven. The unpardonable sin is not a kind of sin. It is a degree in sin. The person refuses to repent. They close their mind to the influence of the Holy Spirit. The unpardonable sin is a state of open rebellion in which the promptings of the Holy Spirit are at first ignored, then resisted, and finally rejected totally until they are no longer perceived.

03. How does the Bible describe the personality of the Holy Spirit?
John 16:7–8

07. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
The Bible calls the Holy Spirit our “Helper”. In three places in this passage Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as “Him” or “He” with the third-person pronoun. The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force. The Holy Spirit is fully divine and constitutes the third person of the Godhead.

04. How does Jesus describe the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Godhead?
Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

05. What is the prime function of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit?
John 16:8

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

06. If sin is cherished and the prompting of the Spirit rejected, what ultimately occurs?
Ephesians 4:30

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

07. When had virtually a whole generation committed the unpardonable sin?
Genesis 6:3–8

03. And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
04. There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
05. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
06. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
07. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
08. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

During the time of the Flood a whole generation rejected the pleading of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, there was nothing more God could do. After He appealed through Noah for 120 years and sent His Spirit in mighty power, men and women made their final, irrevocable decision. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. The Holy Spirit leads us to repentance and confession. Whenever we resist the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we are hardening our hearts. Whenever we refuse to surrender sin the Holy Spirit points out that we are hardening our hearts.

08. How was the Bible written?
2 Peter 1:21

for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

09. What person of the Godhead leads us into the truths of God's word?
John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
The Holy Spirit revealed the truth of the Scriptures to the Bible writers. The Holy Spirit leads us to understand these truths. It is extremely dangerous to reject any truth in God’s Word. To do so is to resist the Holy Spirit, who leads us into truth. Since the Bible was written by men and women under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to resist any clear teaching of the Bible is to resist the influence of the Holy Spirit. The unpardonable sin occurs when an individual continually resists the Spirit and finally and completely hardens their heart.

10. What attitude does God desire us to have as He reveals "new" light and truth to us?
John 12:35

Then Jesus said to them, A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
The Holy Spirit has revealed many truths that are new to you in these lessons. He has led you to an understanding of the truth about salvation, the second coming of Christ, the Sabbath, the state of human beings in death, healthful living, baptism by immersion, God’s true church, and much, much more. It is no accident that you have studied these lessons. The Holy Spirit has drawn you. He has revealed truth to you. He has convicted you of these scriptural truths. He now invites you to walk in the truths He has revealed to you.

11. To whom is the fullness of the Spirit promised?
Acts 5:32

And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
John 14:15–16
If you love Me, keep My commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--
The fullness of the Holy Spirit is given especially to those who lovingly obey God.

12. What difference does the Holy Spirit make in our lives?
Galatians 5:22–25

22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23. gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit makes a dramatic difference in our lives. Through the Spirit we are convicted of sin and led into truth. The Spirit transforms our hearts, giving us a new desire to serve God. New power flows into our lives through the Spirit, and we are resurrected from spiritual death to spiritual life.

13. What does the Holy Spirit write in our hearts and minds?
Hebrews 10:16

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”

14. What gracious invitation does the Holy Spirit give us?
Revelation 22:17

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
The Holy Spirit invites us to give ourselves totally to God. He invites us to come with all of our guilt, our weakness, and our doubts. When we come, He promises to give us a fresh new start in a new life.

Concluding Question
Would you like to choose right now to open your heart to the Holy Spirit and ask for His power to lead you into the life He desires you to live?

Read the Bible passages below on the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

  • The Holy Spirit fills us with wisdom and knowledge (Exodus 31:3).

  • The Holy Spirit instructs us (Nehemiah 9:20).

  • The Holy Spirit is constantly present with us (Psalm 139:7).

  • The Holy Spirit fills us (Ephesians 5:18).

  • The Holy Spirit seals us (Ephesians 4:30).

  • The Holy Spirit gives life (John 6:45).

  • The Holy Spirit teaches us truth (John 14:16, 17, 26).

  • The Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).

  • The Holy Spirit gives us access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18, 22).

  • The Holy Spirit renews us (Titus 3:5, 6).