Jesus said, “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies whatever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” (Mark 3:28-29) This blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is described today as the unpardonable sin. What exactly does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit?
Jesus’ words are a response to the accusation that Jesus was demon possessed and that He cast out demons by the power of Satan. The Pharisees accused Jesus of being in league with the Devil. Jesus first refuted their accusation by showing that if Satan was casting out demons he would be undermining his own work. Jesus was casting out demons by a power greater than that of the demons and of Satan. Jesus cast out demons by the power of God through the Holy Spirit. (John 14:10; Acts 2:22) Consequently, the Pharisees attack on the power of Jesus was an attack on God the Holy Spirit. Their words essentially called the Holy Spirit a demon.
The unpardonable sin is the utter rejection of Jesus that accuses God the Spirit of being evil. Mark 3:30 says that Jesus spoke of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit because they accused Him of having an evil spirit. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit treats God the Spirit like a demon. The unpardonable sin so utterly condemns the grace of that God it considers His good to be evil. The unpardonable sin is an intentional, willful and deliberate condemnation of the Holy Spirit. The unpardonable sin does not happen accidentally or unknowingly. This sin is the result of exposure to the truth and is the knowledgeable rejection of the power of God.
Can people today commit the unpardonable sin? People can so despise the things of God that they consider the Holy Spirit to be a demon and the work of God to be the work of devils. Hatred of the Spirit of God seems to be increasing in our world today. Those who venomously hate God will not be saved. They will not turn from their sin and call out to the God they despise. They will never be saved because they never seek God.
The unpardonable sin is similar to the apostasy of those who hear the gospel, know its power and are movingly compelled by the conviction of the Holy Spirit but reject Him. For example, there are those who grow up in gospel preaching churches, know the Bible, know the promises of God and see the power of God at work in the lives of those around them, but they refuse the promise of salvation. These ones willfully despise the grace of God and miss their opportunity to repent.
However, none need fear they have committed a sin God cannot forgive. He promises all who seek Him for salvation will have forgiveness. The unpardonable sin is unpardonable because the one who commits it will not turn to God and will not trust Him to forgive their sin. If you will turn to Jesus as your gracious God and Savior, and if you will trust Him alone to take away your sin, He will save you. Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity. (Titus 2:14) He promises that where sin abounds, His grace is even more abundant. (Romans 5:20) No sin is so great God cannot forgive it. He will forgive your sin if you will ask Him to do so and will trust Him alone to take away your guilt.
Can a Christian commit the unpardonable sin? Absolutely not. Those who have the Spirit of God will bless Jesus. No one that has the Spirit can call Jesus accursed. (1 Corinthians 12:3) If the saved cannot curse Jesus, they will not despise the Holy Spirit, the gift of Jesus to His children. The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s Comforter, Seal and Assurance of eternal life. The Holy Spirit so changes the Christian that the Christian will never desire to despise the work of the Spirit. Therefore, a Christian cannot condemn Jesus or accuse the Spirit of working for Satan. A Christian cannot repudiate his Savior or reject His Spirit. He is now a new creature in Christ who does not turn back to destruction.