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The Unpardonable Sin

Text: Matt. 12: 31, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven men.”

“Words! Words! Words!” Unless we are dumb like this man in V. 22, it is estimated that between our “Good morning” and our “Good night”, the average person speaks enough words to fill 100 books of 200 pages each per year. – That’s a lot of words. According to verse 37 our “words” either “justify” us or “condemn” us.

The central theme of this portion of scripture from V. 22-37 is undoubtedly ‘the unpardonable sin’. But it is couched between the people’s reaction to Jesus’ healing (V. 22-30) and His parable and application in V. 33-37.

It is undoubtedly a difficult passage but the Holy Spirit is here to teach us as I endeavour to open up the text so we can all understand.

The whole passage is within the context and purpose of the book. I.e. To present Jesus as the King of the Jews, the long awaited Messiah, and within the whole Bible which points to Christ. John 20: 30/31.

It is also important to remember that the One true and living God delights in mercy and freely pardons iniquity. But, with this one exception (the unpardonable sin) which has troubled many people throughout the ages. You may be one of those. I hope this helps you this morning.

If you are someone who couldn't’t care less, I hope this frightens you enough to turn from you sin and flee to Christ.


This is the incident that forced Jesus to make His declaration about the unpardonable sin.

This will give us the clue to what it is. (Read V. 31) – “Therefore” i.e. Because of the above, Vv. 22-30.

i. V. 22. POOR MAN! – Spiritually and physically afflicted and in Satan’s kingdom. - A soul under Satan’s power and led captive by him is blind to the things of God and dumb to the throne of grace. The all powerful King Jesus heals him and immediately he is freed from Satan’s grasp to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and speak His praise.

Note! The conquering and disposing of Satan is the healing of souls. Here is another evidence of the fact that the Messiah had come “to destroy the works of the devil.”

It is very clear that there are about 2 kingdoms in this world. The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The king of darkness (Satan) is no match for the King of light (Jesus). Indeed he is a defeated foe. - Christ’s mercy is clearly seen here as opposite to Satan’s malice. – You and I are in one of these two kingdoms.

ii. V. 23 AMAZED MULTITUDE! But, how clearly they make the association of what Jesus did with who He really is. “Could this be …..” To these common people, less prejudiced and biased by worldly interest, it was obvious.

iii. PREJUDICED PHARISEES! Blinded by Satan, these religious leaders, standing perhaps on the edge of the crowd, vent their prejudice and bias with malicious scornful words that show their heart attitude towards God’s Messiah.

They were looking for a powerful military Messiah to free them from their Roman oppressors. Certainly not a humble, compassionate, servant King. You can feel the scorn and blasphemy: -

“This (fellow) does not …..”

They were saying ‘No!’ to the crowd’s question.

They were also acknowledging the person, realm, and work of Satan.

i.v. V. 25-30. As the GOD-MAN JESUS “knew their thoughts” and not only demolishes their foolish accusations, but declares in v. 28 who He really is and how He did this miracle. (Read V. 28).

Their accusations were absurd, prejudiced, and rebellious.

Though Satan is powerful and can move swiftly from place to place, he is not omniscient, omnipresent nor omnipotent.

Satan does not tolerate disobedience or division in his realm (V. 25-6).

V. 27 - “Sons of Pharisees” is the same as “sons of the prophets” in 2 Kings 2: 3.

V. 28 – “If I am Messiah, I am King! And if King then “the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Cf. Luke 11: 18-20.

* * In the widest sense Christ’s “kingdom” is the sphere of His rule in any place or age. Col. 1: 13, “He (God the Father) has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”

In V. 29 it is obvious that Jesus is the strongest. – How wonderful! This is what He has done for every saved sinner.

V. 30 THE CHALLENGE! No neutral ground! No fence sitters!

Christ hates neutrality and counts it enmity. He loathes luke warmness.

He challenges the religious leaders and the multitude to see and acknowledge what is in their hearts and see where they stand before God.

His challenge is to you/I this day.

Whose side are you on? King Jesus! Or Satan’s?

Have you been saved by God’s grace and are trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Do you know you are in His kingdom? Or, are you still in Satan’s kingdom of darkness bound by your own sin of unbelief and self-righteousness.


Here is the central point - Hope for the hopeless - No hope for the blasphemers of the Holy Spirit.

First Jesus tells us what it isn't’t. By so doing He gives: -

i. HOPE. V. 31a. – There is hope for you today if you have not committed the unpardonable sin. - By nature God is forgiving! Ps. 103: 3; 1 Jn.1: 9; 2: 12.

No matter how severe the sin God can forgive it. No matter the degree, volume, and kind of sin you do not forfeit forgiveness – end the possibility of mercy or cancel grace. “Sin” here = the full gamut of immoral and ungodly thoughts and actions, whereas “blasphemy” represents conscious denouncing and rejecting of God. Even the rejection of Christ can be forgiven (and indeed has been) because to some degree before salvation, EVERYONE is a Christ rejecter. Even Paul’s blasphemy and sin are “forgiven” when confessed and repented of. Read: 1 Tim. 1: 13-15. And here V. 32a. -

**Could anything be more heinous, vicious and wicked as killing God’s own Son? Yet we find that even on the cross the first words that came from Jesus’ parched lips were, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Even a believer can blaspheme in thought, word and deed and yet is forgivable by grace. Cf. 1 John 1: 9. – Yes! A saved sinner, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, can “grieve” Him (Eph. 4: 30) but NOT commit the “unpardonable sin.”

Oh, praise His blessed name, there is hope for you who come as a sinner to Jesus.

IT MUST BE SERIOUS! If only we could grasp this. - What a wonderful age we live in! The age of grace! WHY? Because God lets us know that the only peculiarly remediless sin and way of sinning under the gospel is to ‘sin in an especial manner against the Holy Spirit.’ If it so concerns GOD we need to be concerned and know about it.

ii. NO HOPE. V. 31b-32. “forgiven…but” - “forgiven … but”

What sin is so grievous in the sight of holy God that renders it unpardonable?

V. 31 – “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” - “Speaking against the Holy Spirit.” WOW! What awful consequences some people’s words can bring.

On the one hand, “blasphemy” against the “Son of man” i.e. Jesus’ humanity – “forgiven”!

Surely that cannot mean that there is any greater sanctity in one person of the Godhead over the other. I.e. That Jesus is less than the Holy Spirit. They are one with the Father in essence power and glory but separate Persons of the Godhead in their office and work.

Why the difference? Why is “speaking against the Son of man forgiven”? Because the person so doing may only see His humanity and not His deity. They may see His veiled condition and unfinished work which might be done ignorantly in unbelief. (Even His disciples found this had to keep clear in their mind. Especially as He was so humble and servitude in attitude and works.

On the other hand, CONTRAST this with

The “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” which was more serious and irremediable. This is that “sin unto death” whose remission is not to be prayed for (1 John 5: 16).

Why? – Because God has taken upon Himself to make effectual unto us the great remedy provided in the blood of Christ for the pardon of our sins. The Holy Spirit does not come nor act in His own name only but in conjunction with and in the name of the Father and the Son (by whom He is sent). Therefore to sin against Him is to sin against all the authority of God, all the love of the Trinity, and the utmost condescension of each Person to the work of our salvation. It is unpardonable! - 1). They attributed what Jesus did to the devil; 2). They said this maliciously and against the rational conviction of their own conscience.

If the Holy Spirit in His work of revealing this gospel is despised and rejected there is no other hope for that person. (J.O.)

It not only reflected unbelief, but also determined unbelief.

(1). ‘Now if the Holy Spirit were only the VIRTUE (not Person) and power of God, then present with Jesus Christ in all that he did. Christ and that power could not be distinctly spoken against, for they were but one and the same. The Pharisees blasphemed, saying that “he cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.” A person they intended, and so expressed him by his name, nature, and office. To which our Saviour replies, that He cast them out by the Spirit of God, - a divine person, opposed to him who is diabolical. Hereunto He immediately adds his instruction and caution, that they should take heed how they blasphemed that Holy Spirit, by assigning His effects and works to the prince of devils. And blasphemy against Him directly manifests both what and who He is. ‘ (J.O.). The Holy Spirit is not merely an influence or power. - HE is GOD!

(2). It reflected determined rejection of Jesus as the messiah against every evidence and argument. Rejecting, condemning and absolutely and permanently refusing to believe Jesus. Such action results in loss of opportunity to be forgiven forever.’ (J.McA. Jnr).

Therefore it cannot be committed ignorantly.

It must be knowingly against the work of the Holy Spirit.

Apostasy is involved.

It is done willfully after receiving knowledge of the truth.

Maliciously designing to destroy Christ.

Impenitent! A bitter enemy of the gospel, saying those things are the effects of the devil in men, which his heart tells him are the operation of the Holy Spirit and will not repent. (M. Poole).

‘Their sin is unpardonable because they refuse to tread the path that leads to pardon. ‘ (W.H.). Can a person commit such a sin today? YES! Heb. 6: 4-6; 10: 26-27; 1 John 5: 16.


V. 33: Primarily Jesus is the good tree with the good fruit. Therefore it is by the

power of God. - If He did evil works He would be a bad tree and the works would be by Satan’s power. God empowers nothing evil, and

Satan empowers nothing good.

It is pretty obvious that a tree is known by its fruit. No wonder Jesus

slates the Pharisees in the next verse.

V. 34/5: “Brood of vipers” – deadly and deceptive – “brood” of potential killers.

Jesus says you can easily tell the difference between a bad man and a good man by what he says. “For out of the mouth the heart speaks.” “The heart” is the very seat of thought and will. The character of the person. G.I.G.O. = Garbage in. Garbage out. The Pharisees are a good example.

Vv. 36/37: Words! Words! Words! – Jesus tells us here just how important they Are. They will either “justify” us or “condemn” us before God.

It is not just the well-chosen word that we speak but “every idle (careless) word” that we “will give account of in the Day of Judgment.”

“Words” that are useless, barren, unproductive or otherwise worthless.

“Words” that are flippant, irresponsible, or any way inappropriate. (Swearing, blasphemy, etc)

“Words” that are hypocritical are amongst the most useless but sadly amongst the ones we use most often. By using “words” to suit the occsion or company we are in are hypocritical.

What “words” proceed from your heart out of your mouth? Will they justify you or condemn you on the day of judgment?

Oh! How we need the blood of Christ to be applies by the blessed Holy Spirit to our hearts cleansing and renewing them! HE alone can make the “bad tree good” so it “brings forth good fruit.”

For the Christian there is “now no condemnation” on that day. All his/her sin has been dealt with by Christ on Calvary’s cross and he is “justified by faith and has peace with God.” It is all of grace! P.T.L!

The Christian’s speech should always be “seasoned with salt.” His prayer should be Ps. 141: 3, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lip.”

The Christian cannot commit the unpardonable sin but he can watch his “words.”