Q: What is the Unpardonable Sin?
“Therefore I [Jesus] 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” (Mt. 12:31–32; cf. Mk. 3:22–30).
According to Jesus, the unpardonable sin is “blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit” (Mt. 12:31). However, it is important to study the context of Matthew 12:22–32 to understand what this means.
Jesus had just healed a blind, mute, demon-possessed man who then immediately spoke and saw (v. 22). The multitudes were amazed and asked with some skepticism, “Could this be the Son of David?” (v. 23). In other words, is Jesus the promised Messiah who has come to rule over Israel?
The Pharisees, however, declared, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons” (v. 24). They admitted Jesus performed a miracle; but they accused Him of being demon-possessed and performing the miracle through Satan. Therefore, they were proclaiming that Jesus was not the Messiah.
Jesus countered their accusation by telling them the following:
1. Satan would never cast out demons because it would destroy his kingdom (v. 26).
2. If Satan empowered exorcisms, then the Jewish exorcists, whom the Pharisees believed cast out demons using divine power, also cast out demons using demonic power. Therefore, their logic actually condemned their own exorcists as well (v. 27).
3. If Jesus cast out demons by the Holy Spirit, which He did, then Jesus was destroying Satan’s kingdom and had come to institute God’s Kingdom in Israel through the Holy Spirit (v. 28).
4. Casting out demons for a good purpose (to heal a man and deliver him from demon possession) proved Jesus’ miracle-working power was from God, not Satan.
To attribute the Holy Spirit’s power to Satan was unforgivable blasphemy. The unpardonable sin was attributing to Satan the righteous work of the Holy Spirit of God in healing the demon-possessed man through Jesus (v. 32).
This sin was unique and exclusive to this particular situation. The unpardonable sin cannot be committed today because Jesus is not physically on Earth performing miracles through the Holy Spirit of God.