Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Matt 12:31-32

31 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 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.  NKJV 31 "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 
32 "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. NASU
31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 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. NIV 31 "Even blasphemy against me or any other sin can be forgiven-all except one: speaking against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come. 

Are you aware that the term "unpardonable sin" is not a Biblical term? Jesus did not use the term unpardonable. Jesus said one sin shall not be forgiven.

We would be more Biblical if we referred to the unpardonable sin as the unforgivable sin. Perhaps that is splitting hairs, but the principle is very important as we want to be Biblical in all we say and do.

What the unforgivable sin is has been confused by people straying from what the scriptures teach. Today I want us to analyze the unforgivable sin in light of the scripture. We will consider the following:

    (1)    The unforgivable sin; What it is not.
    (2)    The unforgivable sin; What it is.
    (3)    The unforgivable sin; Who can commit it.
    (4)    The unforgivable sin; Who cannot commit it.

T. S. First of all, let us consider what the unforgivable sin is not.


EXPLANATION: There are many individual sins today that some people suggest to be the unpardonable sin.   Some people have committed a sin they believe to be so terrible that they call it the unforgivable sin. Satan delights in confusing people about this matter.

Let us look at some sins in the light of our text. We will see what the unforgivable sin is not.

EXAMPLE: A few years ago I was called to the bedside of a dying man. When I sat on his bed he began to weep like a little child. It was difficult to get him to stop his crying and tell me what was wrong. Finally he said, "I am afraid I have committed the unpardonable sin."

As the conversation went on, he told me that in his younger years he had raped a woman. Then once again he began to cry like a baby. I told him I didn't believe that sin was an unpardonable sin. Though his bitter weeping he said, "that's not the sin I think might be unpardonable, but I can't even tell you what else I did."

Finally, the man told me he had molested several little girls. He began to weep bitterly. I sat there without saying a word. I felt like getting up and walking away to let the man die in his filthy sin. But I knew that he had not committed the unforgivable sin. I knew Jesus could forgive the sins of rape and child molestation.

The grace of the Lord led me to help that man ask for the forgiveness of his sins and in repentance receive Jesus as his Savior. That man was forgiven of his terrible sins.

Rape and child molestation are terrible sins but not unforgivable. Notice our text doesn't mention these sins as a part of what Jesus calls the unforgivable sin.

EXAMPLE: When I was pastor in St. Louis, Missouri, a young man came Sunday after Sunday. He was not a Christian and even though he showed signs of interest, he would never talk about accepting Jesus as his Savior. Finally, he told the men in the church that he could never be a Christian because he had committed the unpardonable sin.

Now the sin he had committed and served time for was the sin of taking another life. He had murdered his own father. His father was a drunkard and one night in a brawl with his father, he killed him.

Now that is a horrible sin and hard to forget, but it is not the unforgivable sin.

Let's look at the text and we will again see that there is no mention of the sin of murder. Murder is not the unforgivable sin.

The examples could go on and on as we mention the sins that people believe are the unforgivable sin. Sometimes adultery is mentioned. Now is spite of the world's popular opinion, adultery is still one on the sins forbidden in the Ten Commandments. But it is not the unforgivable sin. It is not mentioned in our text.

In the past, I have heard some people mention divorce as the unforgivable sin. Now divorce is never a pleasant experience. I know of no one who has experienced a divorce that enjoyed the experience but it is not the unforgivable sin.

By the way, I wonder why we don't have more divorced people in the churches. One lady recently told me divorced women are never welcomed in the church by most of the other women.

If each of us would walk in another persons shoes for a while we might be more Christian in our judgment of and acceptance of people. By our actions we might indicate that divorce is the unforgivable sin, but it is not mentioned in this text.

Last week I mentioned quite a bit about my experience in San Francisco. I mentioned having to attend the homosexual church. Now I know that sin is repulsive to many people. I also know that few homosexuals ever change (although God would help them change). But that sin is not the unforgivable sin.

Many other sins could be mentioned. Many other errors are commonly made as some sin is judged unforgivable by some person. But I want to mention the most common mistake people make concerning this sin. Listen carefully.

Many people say, "rejecting Jesus Christ as your Savior is the unforgivable sin." That is not what this text says. Let's read it again. It doesn't mention rejection of Jesus, therefore this is not the sin that Jesus is talking about. Now you may disagree but bear with me. I think the Bible will convince both of us that I am right.   By the way several of you would have to say at one time in your life you rejected Jesus but now you are saved.   If you say that you just proved my point.

APPLICATION: Before we look at the text further, let me ask you to examine your heart. Is there a sin in your past that you cannot forgive yourself of? Is there any sin you judge as unforgivable which is not mentioned in this text?

T. S. Let us look at the text more positively as we see what this unforgivable sin is.



EXPLANATION: In the text, Jesus tells us what this sin is. In verses 31 and 32 Jesus clearly states the unforgivable sin to be against the Holy Spirit.

It is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It is deeper than rejection of Jesus Christ. It is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. And no one can ever receive Jesus as His Savior unless the Holy Spirit draws him to Jesus. Now if a man blasphemes and rejects the Holy Spirit he can never be drawn to Jesus and never be saved, therefore he will die in his sin.

Now you may think that is an awfully simple explanation of the unforgivable sin, but it is directly from the scripture. This sin is rejection of and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps it would be good to note the Greek word translated blasphemy. The word is . So it can easily be seen that this word is not translated but transliterated into English. It means slander, abusive speech, a reviling judgment, or railing accusation.

Therefore, to slander the Holy Spirit or use abusive speech about Him involves the unforgivable sin. You cannot disrespect the Holy Spirit and ever be drawn to Jesus for salvation.

ILLUSTRATION: An example of this kind of blasphemy is seen right here in the text. Jesus had cast out our demons and the Pharisees said He did it with the devil's power. You see, they refused to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' life. They called the Holy Spirit's power the power of Satan. That is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

ILLUSTRATION: I have an evangelist friend who was preaching a revival meeting in Arkansas. He was preaching about the Holy Spirit. Two young men (who didn't believe what the Bible teaches concerning the Holy Spirit) stood up near the front. The began to call the Holy Spirit like you would call a dog. They said, "Here Holy Spirit. Here Holy Spirit. OK, Holy Spirit where are you." When they saw how much their actions aroused the deacons they rapidly left. But they were blaspheming the Holy Spirit. They were refusing to acknowledge Him or His power.

APPLICATION: Today there are those who mock and make fun of the Holy Spirit. They ridicule the church and Jesus Christ. You and I need to understand this and to even expect it because they are like those in our text. They have done the same thing today as what the Pharisees did in front of Jesus.

T. S. Now let us interpret who can commit the unforgivable sin.


Our text indicates that only those who degrade and blasphemy the Holy Spirit can commit this sin. Therefore, I would further interpret that a Christian cannot commit the unforgivable sin.

If someone claims to be a Christian and blasphemes the Holy Spirit it is obvious that they are not Christians. It would be like someone saying they love their wife dearly and then proceed to curse her and run her down. Like a Christian, one who loves the ministry of the Holy Spirit and His working in their life would never blaspheme Him.

Therefore, I say to you who know you have been saved, you know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit-- you cannot commit the unforgivable sin.

ILLUSTRATION: Back in the second century there was a dear Christian leader named Polycarp. When he was up in years, a decree was sent from the governor stating that no one could preach in the name of Jesus.

The next Sunday, Polycarp was found preaching and teaching about Jesus. The penalty was death. Polycarp was placed on a stake and told he would be burned to death unless he blasphemed the name of Jesus and refused to preach anymore in His name. Polycarp said, "I just can't do that. You see, 80 and 6 years have I served Him and not once has He wronged me. How can I now blaspheme His name?"

APPLICATION: You see when one is really "born again" they love Jesus too much to blaspheme Him. Likewise, the "born again" Christian would never blaspheme the name or work of the Holy Spirit."

T. S. You might ask, "Well, who can commit the unforgivable sin." And I would say, "I am glad you asked that because it is the fourth point of this message."


The text tells us that the Pharisees committed this sin.   They did not know they did nor did they care.
This is one reason why I say "if you think you have committed this sin you have not.   The person who commits this sin does not care.   The Pharisees did not believe there was a Holy Spirit to draw them to the Father.  They thought they were children of God by birth.

Like the sinful people talked about in Romans Chapter one;  God gave them up.

B. H. Carroll the fine Baptist theologian and founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth Texas said   ". . . the rational of the unpardonable sin.   What then,  are these limitations?

    (1)    Outside of grace no salvation.
    (2)    Outside of Christ,  no grace.
    (3)    Outside of the Spirit,  no Christ.

    He further states ". . . If we sin against the Father directly,  the Son remains.   We may reach
    him through the Son.   If we sin directly against the the Son,  the Spirit remains.   We may
    reach him through the Spirit.  If we sin against the Spirit,  nothing remains.   Therefore that
    sin is without remedy. (1)

The person who commits this sin never comes to a place of repentance.    In my opinion the person who can commit this sin doesn't know it and could care less.

I am told Soren Kirkeygard talked about the man of his day by telling the story of a man who falls in a well.    It seems the well has roots and branches in it with lovely sweet tasting leaves.

At first the man is very concerned and wants to get out of the well so he cries for help.   Then he gets occupied with eating leaves and forgets all about the danger.   He will plunge to his death but not right now,   so he will enjoy the leaves.


The person who commit the unforgiveable sin is so bust with the pleasures of the day he does not even
pay attention to the Holy Spirit and may even curse or blaspheme Him.

One way you may be sure you never commit this sin is top yield to the pleading of the Spirit today and acknowledge the Lordship of Christ.    I urge you to do that today.

(1)    An Interpretation of the English Bible,   B. H. Carroll The Four Gospels Part One,  p 394.
        Baker Book House,   Grand Rapids, Michigan