Introduction: You are constantly making decisions. When you make
those decisions you are not just saying “yes” or “no,” you sometimes
say, “Absolutely,” “this will make me popular,” “this will make me
rich,” or “this could really be a disaster.” This week we discuss
the worst disaster imaginable in a decision. We are discussing how we
can choose to commit the “unpardonable sin.” Is such a thing
possible? Let’s jump into the Bible and find out!

  1. Can a Sin Be Unpardonable?

    1. Read 1 Timothy 1:15. If the worst of sinners can be
      forgiven, that precludes an “unforgivable sin,” right? If
      there was a “worse” sin, one that was unforgivable,” then
      Paul (the writer) would not be the worst sinner, right?

      1. Or, is Paul just teasing us about being the worst

    2. Read Matthew 12:31-32. What sin does Jesus say cannot be
      forgiven? (Speaking against the Holy Spirit.)

      1. This text tells us that we can speak against Jesus
        and be forgiven, but we cannot speak against the Holy
        Spirit and be forgiven. Since they are both God,
        since they are both part of the Trinity, how can this
        make any sense? (Logically, the problem cannot be
        with the nature or status of Jesus or the Holy
        Spirit. They are the same in importance. This
        suggests that we are not in trouble for speaking
        against the Holy Spirit because He is God. Instead,
        it must be some other quality of the Holy Spirit that
        creates the problem.)

  2. The Unpardonable Sin

    1. Let’s look at the context of Jesus’ statement to figure
      out this “other quality” of the Holy Spirit which creates
      the problem. Read Matthew 12:22-23. What are the people
      suggesting when they say, “Could this be the Son of
      David?” (They are suggesting that Jesus could be the long-awaited Messiah.)

    2. Read Matthew 12:24. What answer did the Pharisees have to
      this question about whether Jesus could be the Messiah?
      (He could not be the Messiah because he uses the power of
      Satan and his demons.)

    3. Read Matthew 12:25-28. What logical argument is Jesus
      making? What is the point of His argument? (How can Satan
      get ahead by harming his own work? This is unlikely and
      illogical. Thus, the logical answer is that I am the

    4. Read Matthew 12:29. Who is the “strong man?” Who is the
      “robber?” (Satan is the strong man and Jesus is the

      1. What is Jesus “robbing?” (He is stealing souls from
        Satan. You probably never thought of it that way.
        Notice that in order to defeat Satan, you have to
        bind him (“tie [him] up”). Have you ever asked God to
        bind the power of Satan?)

    5. Read Matthew 12:30-32. The only words that I read were
      against Jesus. Did you read any attack on the Holy Spirit?
      What is Jesus talking about?

    6. Read Mark 3:28-30. How does Mark’s account make clear the
      attack upon the Holy Spirit? (Mark explains to us that
      Jesus’ discussion about the unpardonable sin of blasphemy
      against the Holy Spirit was caused by the Jewish leaders
      attributing the power of the Holy Spirit to Satan.)

      1. Do you think that the Jewish leaders in this story
        had committed the unpardonable sin? Was Jesus
        announcing their eternal damnation?

  3. The Logic of the Unpardonable Sin

    1. If you decided that the Jewish leaders had committed the
      unpardonable sin by saying ( Matthew 12:24)or even thinking
      ( Matthew 12:25)”It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of
      demons, that this fellow drives out demons” – then you
      need to carefully guard your words and your thoughts. Is
      that the way it is? You slip into the wrong thought and,
      boom, you have committed a thought sin which cannot be
      forgiven? One wrong word and you are toast?

    2. Let’s take this out of the context of the story in Matthew
      12. I’m reading a Christian book about “Boundaries.” One
      of the interesting suggestions in this book is that we can
      have a conscience that is “mis-formed” in such a way that
      our conscience causes us to think things are sins that are
      not really sins. Is this possible? Or, is our conscience
      the Holy Spirit speaking to us? If it is the Holy Spirit,
      then it could hardly be “mis-formed.”

      1. Read Romans 14:22-23. The entire chapter of Romans
        14 is devoted to a discussion of what we should do if
        our conscience does not bother us about something
        that bothers the conscience of someone else.
        Remarkably, Paul calls the one whose conscience
        bothers him “weak” in faith and the one whose
        conscience does not bother him strong in faith. Who
        or what do you think is troubling the conscience of
        the “weak” in faith Christian? The Holy Spirit or

      2. Read Romans 14:1. What kind of matters is Paul
        speaking about in Romans 14? (This is a point that is
        not to be missed: Paul is writing about “disputable
        matters.” I think the “Boundaries” book has it right
        – we can have a conscience which is something other
        than the Holy Spirit speaking to us.)

      3. If the Holy Spirit is not speaking to us, then
        logically this lends support to the conclusion that
        some demon is whispering in our ear to tell us not to
        do something that God allows. Read Romans 14:5-7.
        Does it seem to you that the “weak faith” ( Romans 14:1) Christian is being led by a demon? (It hardly
        seems that if demons were leading the weak in faith,
        Paul would write that the weak faith person “does so
        to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” This gets back
        to Jesus’ Matthew 12 argument that Satan will not
        undercut his own work.)

      4. Consider the discussion you have just had. Consider
        your thoughts. Have you not just been treading on the
        same ground as the Jewish leaders in Matthew 12? Have
        you not just been debating in your mind if the
        actions of the Holy Spirit could be the actions of
        Satan and his demons?

        1. Have you “tripped the wire” into thinking the
          unpardonable sin?

    3. Read John 16:7-8. This is a review of what we have studied
      in earlier lessons in this series. What is one of the
      primary works of the Holy Spirit? (To convict the world of
      sin, righteousness and judgment.)

    4. Read Jude 1:17-19. If a person cannot distinguish between
      their “natural instincts” and the conviction of the Holy
      Spirit, what kind of spiritual future do they have?

    5. What does this suggest about the nature of the
      unpardonable sin: is it a single act? Or, is it a gradual
      process of refusing to listen to the Holy Spirit until you
      cannot distinguish between natural instincts and the
      prompting of the Holy Spirit?

      1. Is it possible that at some point the Holy Spirit
        will simply stop working with a person?
      2. Read Genesis 6:3 because I know these words are going
        to pop into your mind as an answer to the previous
        question. This text seems to say that the Holy Spirit
        will not “contend forever” with a person. What is the
        length of the time of this contention? (The person’s
        entire life! This text seems to say that the Holy
        Spirit leaves the field of battle for an individual
        when that person dies. On close examination, the text
        does not seem to say what you thought it said,

    6. Read Hebrews 10:26-29. Recall last week our discussion of
      Romans 7:14-24? How do you reconcile these two Bible
      passages? (Paul says that he finds himself doing the
      things he does not want to do. Hebrews says that if you
      keep on sinning you are toast – no sacrifice for sins is
      left. The key to this apparent conflict is found in
      Hebrews 10:26 “if we deliberately keep on sinning.” Paul
      clearly did not want to keep on sinning. It is hard to
      describe his sin as “deliberate.”)

      1. Do you have any deliberate sins?

      2. Notice in Hebrews 10:29 the phrase “who has insulted
        the Spirit of grace?” What does this mean? (The
        picture in Hebrews is of a person who has refused to
        listen to the Holy Spirit to the degree that it is
        insulting. This person deliberately keeps on sinning
        after knowing the truth. The conclusion is that the
        unpardonable sin is a gradual, deliberate matter. The
        person comes to the point where they no longer listen
        or want to listen to the Holy Spirit. At that point,
        they have made the decision to cross over into
        eternal death.)

    1. Friend, will you pray to be open to the Holy Spirit? Will
      you determine to have a “soft heart” which seeks God’s
      will and desires to do His will?

  1. Next week: The Holy Spirit in the Last Days.