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An Extended Conversation on the 'Unpardonable' Sin

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Question #1:

Please do not take this offensively, but can I trust you. I just hear so many sources its hard to see who is truthful and who is not. I hear the unforgivable is possible today people just say it isn't. Is it just a belief or is it true. Please forgive me I don't want to offend you. And one other thing, if it is impossible to commit the unforgivable sin today, why did Jesus mention in this age or the age to come. I just am hearing so many I don't know.

Response #1:

The unforgivable sin is the sin of rejecting the gospel. That is why it is also called blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is giving the gospel, and the person rejects it, saying, in effect, that the Spirit is lying. Jesus' contemporaries accused Him of having a demon, when in fact He had the Spirit – that is blasphemy against the Spirit and also/equivalent to/same thing as rejecting the gospel. Since only believers are saved, rejecting the gospel witnessed to by the Spirit cannot be forgiven. Jesus could die for everything except the sin of rejecting Him. Please see the links:

Have I committed the unpardonable sin?

The Unpardonable Sin and Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Blasphemy against the Spirit (in BB 5)

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Why is it written that the Holy Spirit cannot be cursed in one version of the Bible. And did the Pharisees do the act they did more than once? Also is the unforgivable sin done once or twice or until death?

Response #2:

I'm not familiar with the first thing you mention (could you give me the version and citation?).

The Greek says "they were saying" (Mk.3:30), so this seems to have been something they said repeatedly (cf. Matt.11:18; 7:33; Jn.10:20-21).

Unbelief is not something that can be forgiven; the only way for it to be taken out of the way is for a person to believe. But if any of these individuals repented of their sin in rejecting the gospel and accepting Jesus as the Son of God, they were saved:

And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:23 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

 GOD'S WORDฎ Translation

"But whoever curses the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. He is guilty of an everlasting sin."

But any sin and curse is forgiven. Also, if the unforgivable sin is committed to death, isn't that how other sins work?

Response #3:

This translation says "cursing", most others say "blaspheming". Either way, the curse/blasphemy is rejecting the Spirit's witness saying that Jesus is the only way of salvation. No one who rejects Jesus can be saved because only believers are saved. If a person persists in unbelief until death, that person is lost; if, however, that person turns to Christ, he/she is no longer guilty of an unpardonable sin because he/she is no longer rejecting the Spirit.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Two things: I saw someone say something relating to what the Pharisees said before. If the Pharisees had evil thoughts on what they said, can they still be forgiven?

Response #4:

Anyone can be forgiven anything if they turn to Jesus Christ so as to be saved. That is why He came into the world:

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
John 3:17 NKJV

It matters nothing to be forgiven in this world only; the only forgiveness that matters is the eternal forgiveness everyone receives when they place their faith in Jesus Christ.

By all accounts, however, very few of the Pharisees accepted Christ as Savior. In the end, therefore, it doesn't matter whether they participated in the slandering of the Son which is also blasphemy against the Spirit. They would have been forgiven either way if they had accepted Jesus; without salvation through faith in Him, however, it doesn't make any difference to their eternal status.

Yours in the dear Lord Jesus Christ through faith in whom alone we are saved.

Bob L.

Question #5:

So that sin was only unforgivable before Jesus died on the cross?

Response #5:

All sin is forgivable – and all sin is forgiven, whenever anyone turns to Jesus Christ and accepts Him as their Savior. Only the sin of rejecting Him cannot be forgiven because He is the only Substitute for sin, the One who died for them all. Rejecting Him means rejecting the forgiveness God offers to all.

Believers are forgiven with a blanket forgiveness when they believe (Redemption; see the link); they are forgiven for restoration of fellowship when they sin after salvation as soon as they confess their sins (1Jn.1:9). Please see the link: in BB 3B: "The Believer's Dealing with Sin"

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

If someone deliberately sins is there no more sacrifice left for sin as said in the Bible?

Response #6:

There is "no more sacrifice for sin" period. That is to say, the point of Hebrews 10:26 is that Jesus, the Messiah, has now actually come and has now actually fulfilled the shadows of the Law which the sacrifices contained. The animal sacrifice foreshadowed the cross. But now that the cross has taken place, now that Jesus has died for our sins, there is no more point (or efficacy) in sacrificing animals to obtain forgiveness (the Millennial sacrifices are for a memorial). Forgiveness now comes only through prayer, for the unbelievers in accepting Jesus in the first place, for the believer in confessing sins on the basis of Jesus' sacrifice. But there is no other sacrifice for sin – so these Jerusalem believers to whom Paul wrote this letter were horribly in the wrong for doing what they were doing, namely, continuing to sacrifice at the temple just as if Jesus hadn't died for them. By doing so, they were saying by their actions that, in effect, Jesus' sacrifice was not good enough. The irony here is that the sin on their part was in large part participating in the very sacrifice that now could not obtain any forgiveness. And more than that, if they began to rely on it and stopped having faith in the cleansing power of the blood of Christ (that is, abandon their salvation), then neither those animal sacrifices nor any other possible sacrifice would be able to save them. This is the reason why Paul puts the participle in the present tense and says, literally from the Greek, "if we keep on sinning willfully", meaning that sin, and particularly as in this case sin which by its very nature denies Christ, hardens the heart over time and can indeed lead to apostasy – because when a person gets so deep into sin it can make him/her reluctant and eventually unwilling to come back to the Lord. The next step is to deny the Lord altogether.

As I have been saying all along, believers are saved; unbelievers are not. And just as unbelievers who become believers are saved, so believers who revert to being unbelievers are not saved (because now they are unbelievers):

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:22-23 NKJV

If you believe in Jesus Christ, then you are saved. If you have sinned (and we all sin: 1Kng.8:46; Ps.130:3; 143:2; Prov.20:9; Rom.3:23; 5:12; Jas.3:2; 1Jn.1:5-10), then confession of that sin in sincerity and truth restores you to full fellowship with our dear Lord immediately, regardless of how you may feel about it (i.e., whether you feel good, bad or indifferent).

Here are a few links on this almost universally misunderstood passage:

Doubting Salvation and Questions of Sin

No, Hebrews does not teach that you lost your salvation

Hebrews 10:26 again

Does Hebrews 10:26 teach loss of salvation?

Sin and Salvation, Confession and Forgiveness

Have I Lost My Salvation? (III)

Lost my salvation II?

Have I Lost my Salvation?

In hopes that the Lord gives you peace of mind and victory over sin.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

What if one keeps on sinning after they've received knowledge and the truth, can people still insult the Holy Spirit today and can anyone lose salvation?

Response #7:

Salvation can indeed be lost – by losing/abandoning one's faith completely (see the link: "Apostasy").

However, salvation is not lost because God throws anyone out; salvation is lost when believers throw God out (and stop believing in Jesus). Sin's role in this process is its tendency to harden a believer's heart when said believer is unwilling to repent, confess or change his/her ways. Eventually, some choose sin over faith. That is what apostasy is. As our Lord tells us in the parable of the Sower:

"But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away."
Luke 8:13 NKJV

If you believe in Jesus, you are a believer – and all believers are saved. If you do not believe in Jesus, then you are not a believer but an unbeliever, and unbelievers are not saved:

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV

So keep on believing! And don't let guilt about past failures keep you from cleaning up your act and moving forward in spiritual growth. The truth – and the spiritual growth that learning it and believing it brings – is the answer to all questions and all genuine problems.

Yours in the One who died that we might live forever with Him, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #8:

Can God forgive someone who does sin over faith if they repent?

Response #8:

God has already forgiven you (cf. 2Sam.12:13), and that forgiveness is accessed by confession (1Jn.1:9).

All sin is contrary to faith, but all believers stumble from time to time. The question is, will a believer stay a believer and maintain their essential faith in Jesus Christ? That is the bedrock of salvation (see the link: in BB 4B Soteriology: "God's Plan to Save You").

In hope and prayer for your peace and forward progress in the faith for our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

But just because we are believers doesn't mean we have the excuse to sin though, right?

Response #9:

That is certainly true. We also don't have to worry about "getting away" with anything, because the Lord is the perfect Disciplinarian, and He metes out to us just the right punishment both to lead us to repentance and confession and also to incentivize us to stay away from repeating our mistakes:

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:5-11 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I know you said every sin is forgiven today, but is it still possible to speak against the Trinity like the Pharisees did and be saved?

Response #10:

We've been here before (a couple of times). To repeat, the Pharisees were saying that Christ had a devil, when in fact it was the Spirit who was the One who was testifying on His behalf. That is what the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is, and the reason why it can't be forgiven is that rejecting the Spirit's testimony in this way is rejecting the gospel, the good news that Jesus is the Son of God and that we are forgiven through faith in Him and His work on the cross for us. By rejecting the Spirit the Pharisees were rejecting the gospel and thus could not be saved while doing so because they were not willing to be saved as evidenced by their rejection – but if they had repented (while still alive), then of course salvation was possible since Christ died for the sins of all. Have a look at these links for more details:

What exactly is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

Have I committed the unpardonable sin?

The Unpardonable Sin and Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Apostasy and the Sin unto Death (in Basics 3B: Hamartiology)

Yours in the Lord who died for us, Jesus Christ our Savior.

Bob L.

Question #11:

I'm sorry I just hear points of view that it's still possible that's why I'm so confused.

Response #11:

It's not a problem. However, getting lots of points of view is great for most things; when it comes to the Bible and its truths, however, the only way to grow is to find a good, solid, orthodox source of Bible teaching, then stick with it. That is because only what you actually believe can do you any good – and only if its actually true. Even if a person knows all the ins and outs of a thousand points of view on the Bible, that knowledge can only result in indecisiveness and insecurity – if the true point of view is not committed to the heart by faith. Please see the link: "Epignosis and Epistemology".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Has God ever given up on changing anybody?

Response #12:

Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is born again – fundamentally changed in a supernatural way. That change is eternal – as long as the believer stays a believer to the end of his/her days. For all believers, the Lord is always working through the Spirit to lead the Christian forward in spiritual growth. God never gives up. Only people give up. God wants all to be saved (Ezek.18:23; Matt.18:14; Jn.12:47; 1Tim.2:4; 2Tim.2:24-26; 2Pet.3:9), and He gains no pleasure from their condemnation (Jn.3:17). But people make their own free will decisions. Jesus wants all believers to grow spiritually, pass the tests of maturity, and minister to His Church – so that they may gain the most sublime eternal rewards. But most believers are too busy with the things of this world to do so – they allow the weeds to grow up and choke their growth. Does God ever give up on us? Never.

"What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."
Matthew 18:12-14 NKJV

Let us therefore resolve not to give up in following our dear Lord Jesus wherever He leads us.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 NKJV

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #13:

 I just feel I need help; I want to stop sin.

Response #13:

There are two extremes believers need to avoid. The first is the idea that unless a Christian tows the line perfectly, adhering to a long list of (often artificial and arbitrary) dos and don'ts, he/she is lost (aka "legalism"); the second is the idea that because believers are forgiven, they can do whatever they wish without serious consequences (aka "anti-nomianism"). The truth lies in the middle. Sin is sin and truth is truth. If we sin as believers, there is forgiveness through repentance and confession, but there are also consequences in the form of divine discipline and the hampering of spiritual progress. No believer will ever be without sin; but no believer will ever be able to make any progress in the Christian life without fighting sin (and that requires spiritual growth to do so effectively).

"If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
Genesis 4:7 NKJV

As our Lord's words to Cain make clear, the fight against sin is not easy; it requires constant vigilance – and confession and repentance when one is defeated – but it is possible for a believer to get to the point where he/she is sinning less and less, where the types of failures are less and less consequential, and where chronic, serious sin is more and more of an anomaly (there is much more written about this in the study, Bible Basics 3B: Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin; please see the link). Victory in this struggle requires taking active, objective responsibility for one's own actions – and, critically, continued growth in the Lord through the Word of God.

So to answer your question, neither torturing oneself about past failures is an answer, nor is giving up and ceasing to be concerned about sin an answer. A believer has to fight against sin every day and take responsibility for his/her actions, doing his/her best to live a sanctified life in every way. We all fail from time to time, however, and none of us can afford to become so demoralized by occasional defeats that we stop moving forward with spiritual growth and progress – we have to remember that Jesus died for every one of our sins, and that forgiveness is only a prayer away (1Jn.1:9; cf. Ps.32:1-2).

And, again, it is impossible to gain any measure of victory or any measure of true success in the Christian life by merely standing still on the defensive. No. To be a Christian who is successful in the Lord's eyes requires putting Jesus Christ first every day. And how is that done? It is done through prayer, through Bible reading, through Bible study (from a good orthodox source), through learning, believing, and applying the truth of the Bible to one's life day by day. And when a believer really does enter onto that road of spiritual advance, the struggle against sin becomes, if not easy, at least possible.

So hang in there, my friend, and commit yourself to living your life as Jesus Christ would have you to do.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Is it normal to feel like God will never forgive me? Will he? I still give up so easily. I am just confused.

Response #14:

When it comes to choosing between feelings and the Bible, we have to train ourselves to go with the Bible, not with however we may feel. We may feel "good" about something (and be wrong), or "bad" (and be just as wrong):

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1st John 1:9 NKJV

That is very straightforward.

Please don't "give up". The Christian life is all about perseverance. If we continue to walk with Jesus through thick and thin, we will not only reach Zion safely, but we will also be rewarded for our faithfulness to our dear Savior.

One thing to remember whenever we are trying to break free of a cycle or pattern of spiritual devolution (whatever the cause) is that we are indeed in charge of our own free will. We can indeed make decisions to stop doing harmful things and to start doing helpful things. If we do not control our will, who does? If we are not in at least some control of our emotions, who is? Taking personal responsibility for our actions (and inaction) is the first step in righting the ship whenever we are on the wrong course. Please have a look at these links:

In Need of Guidance and Encouragement.

All about Ichthys: Mutual encouragement in the Lord

Mutual Encouragement in Christ.

Mutual Encouragement in Christ II

Christian Trials and Testing

On the Firing Line: Encouragement in Christian Trials

Fighting the Good Fight of Faith.

Faith and Encouragement in the midst of Fiery Trials.

Encouragement in Christian Sufferings.

In need of encouragement.

Spiritual Resiliency.

Waiting on God.

Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ who died that we might be live forever with Him,

Bob L.

Question #15:

One issue that I have is I asked God to not let it rain one time to show if I had a chance at salvation or not. And it rained, does that mean I'm lost?

Response #15:

No. Eventually, after all, it is going to rain. The only person I know of from scripture who had that prayer answered was Elijah – and God told him to pray that prayer.

Here is what John says about that:

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.
1st John 5:14 KJV

God is very gracious to us in not answering prayers that would make things worse for us or others; He knows all the facts, but we do not.

Believers are saved; only unbelievers are lost (Jn.3:16-18). You believe in Christ, so you are a believer and you are saved. It's time to put the past behind you and move on in faith. So please make every effort to be building up your faith through listening to the teaching of the Word of God, believing it, and putting into practice day by day.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:

I believe I have finally reached a conclusion on the unforgivable sin. It only happened once for Jesus was the only one to perform miracles by the Holy Spirit, and they still denied it and spoke against it. People still may speak out today but they can not witness the beautiful Holy Spirits true power like the past. And this was before Jesus was crucified. But today all sin is equal and people shouldn't believe that they are getting to heaven just because of the unforgivable sin. Jesus only told this to the Pharisees who stayed hard in their hearts and he knew they would never change so instead repentance is open to all sin regardless, no one can be like the Pharisees and be damned, for Jesus paid for it all whether it is arrogance ignorance knowledge or anything else. Is this correct?

Response #16:

I'm pleased that you have come to some peace of mind on this issue. Believers are saved; only unbelievers are condemned (Jn.3:16-18).

For more on the issue (in addition to our previous correspondence), please see the links:

Have I committed the unpardonable sin?

The Unpardonable Sin and Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

I believe Jesus is Savior.

Response #17:

Indeed He is! And if you believe that, having faith in Him, then you are saved by the Savior.

For you have been saved by (God's) grace through faith (in Christ); and this did not come from you – it is God's gift. Nor did it come from what you have done, lest anyone should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

In our dear Savior, God who took on true humanity to die in our place and save us from our sins, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #18:

I asked God one time to show me if I can't get to heaven let the cross on my necklace come off, so I wake up one morning and found it off. But then I feel God's forgiveness. I just feel it in my heart sometimes that I can't be forgiven.

Response #18:

As I say, when we grow up spiritually, we learn to get better about "going with what we know" rather than "reeling with what we feel". How we "feel" is of no particular dispositive value. If we know from scripture that we are forgiven when we confess – and believe it, as we should, eventually our emotions will follow where our faith in God leads. The more we advance in the Christian life through accessing good teaching and believing it, the easier this becomes. The evil one has a vested interest in stirring up our guilt and our doubt – we need to learn to combat those false feeling by putting more stock in the truth we know to be true through faith. Please see the links:

The Battlefield Within: Fighting the inner spiritual Struggle.

Who Controls our Thoughts and Emotions?

Keep fighting the good fight in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Why do people always make the unforgivable sin to be speaking out against the Holy Spirit?

Response #19:

As we have seen, whoever does this is misreading Matthew 12:32 (or Mark 3:29 or Luke 12:10), because the issue is the Spirit's witness to the deity of Christ and His sacrifice for us (i.e., the gospel).

Happily, when we grow up as believers we get to the point where we know a good deal about what is true from having been taught and having believed the truth of scripture – so that we are no longer "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting" (Eph.4:14 NKJV).

Keep studying, learning, and believing the truth. That is the only way to have wisdom and peace in this world through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #20:

I guess even the most experienced pastors can misunderstand the Bible. If people deliberately sin knowing it is wrong can they still change?

Response #20:

Absolutely – if they are Christians, pursuing sanctification is necessary to avoid becoming spiritually hardened. Confession results in forgiveness, but continued and continual recourse to the same sort of sinful behavior is, at the very least, spiritually debilitating (please see the link: "Apostasy and the Sin unto Death").

As mentioned many times before, spiritual growth based on taking in the Word of God from a solid, reliable, and orthodox source, then believing it and applying it. This the main way God gives us to grow out of such things. If the place you find yourself going is not giving you substantive teaching of the truth, it's time to find a better place. The Lord provides to all who keep seeking and keep knocking.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Is the unforgivable sin misunderstood by many?

Response #21:

By many Christians these days it seems. It's a matter of guilt leading to misinterpretation by those who feel oppressed, and self-righteousness leading to abuse of scripture by those desiring to oppress others.

Question #22:

I don't want to go against them; I want to love them like family.

Response #22:

Truth is divisive (Matt.10:34).

However, it is possible to love friends, family and other believers, without allowing oneself to be bullied into accepting (or pretending to accept) as "the truth" something which is not true when it is definitely not true. That is often what spiritual character is all about.

Spiritual maturity does not seek confrontation, but it does refuse to compromise on the one thing that is essential: the truth.

Again, set yourself to grow up and advance spiritually, and what is right to do in each and every instance will become more and more clear to you:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by this renewal of your thinking, so that you may discern what God's will for you is, namely what it is good, well-pleasing, and correct [for you to do].
Romans 12:1

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

I also heard that the unreasonable sin is someone who dies rejecting Jesus as their Savior.

Response #23:

As I have said, rejecting the Spirit's testimony is unpardonable . . . because that (i.e., rejecting the gospel) leads (absent repentance) to dying unsaved with attendant condemnation.

Question #24:

They say who ever commits the unforgivable the Holy Spirit will never come to them. Is that true?

Response #24:

I don't really understand who "they" are in your question, nor what "coming to them" might mean.

The unforgivable sin (aka "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit") is the sin of rejecting the gospel. There is no salvation for those who reject Christ; however, anyone who is still alive always has the option of repenting and coming to Christ – at which point all sins are forgiven and the person is saved even if he/she had previously rejected the gospel.

There are many Christians with the testimony of having been reluctant to come to Christ for a good long time before they were finally saved. Even death-bed conversions are not uncommon. It's only after death that hope is dead. And please remember that the Lord never allows anyone to perish from lack of information. He who made the world in the blink of an eye – He who made us and gave us our spirit – certainly knows our hearts. For anyone who truly is willing to be saved, the gospel is always provided. The issue we are speaking about is the rejection of the gospel freely and graciously given by those who want no part of it – and even attributing to the Son of God a demonic motive when it was really the Spirit who was testifying to Him, His person and His work on the cross (at that point soon to take place).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

When I said 'they' I meant the people I read articles by; they say the Holy Spirit will not come to those who slander him

Response #25:

Slandering the Spirit is rejecting the gospel (calling the testimony of God the testimony of demons, as the Pharisees did).

He said this (i.e., about blaspheming the Spirit being unforgivable) because they were saying, "He has an impure spirit."
Mark 3:30 NIV

So if a person is receiving the gospel, it is the Spirit who is giving it – and it is only at that point that a person might reject the testimony of the Spirit (i.e., after the Spirit was already there). For believers nowadays, all have the Spirit. The Spirit takes up residence in all who accept Jesus Christ (e.g., Rom.8:9b); He does not indwell unbelievers.

From your wording, it sounds as if these articles are saying that believers can do something to slander the Spirit and therefore lose the Spirit's indwelling. That is not the case. The Spirit will not leave any believer in this Church Age – unless the person comes to reject Christ anew, apostatizing and, therefore, becoming a non-believer again (as in 2nd Peter 2:20-22).

Again, I would counsel you to find a good source of the truth which is tested and genuine, and stick with that source. Subjecting yourself to a "Smorgasbord" of questionable (or demonstrably false) "teaching" is not going to produce spiritual growth – and may well have the opposite effect. You are certainly welcome here at Ichthys any time.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:

So if you slander the Spirit that's forgivable if you come to Christ regardless if you did it or not? The Bible makes it sound like the moment you do it you are lost, and if you do it for a while you can't be forgiven.

Response #26:

Rejecting the gospel is not forgivable; accepting the gospel forgives everything. Anyone can repent . . . who is still alive; once death comes, free will is at an end.

Question #27:

So if someone does reject the gospel, but they accept it one day despite slanders they did can they be forgiven if they finally come to their senses?

Response #27:

Absolutely yes! We are talking about unbelievers here, of course. Believers cannot slander the Spirit in the way reported in the gospels because that was rejecting the gospel which believers have accepted and by definition believe.

Question #28:

I see; and an unbeliever who has slandered can still be converted?

Response #28:

Now you've got it!

Question #29:

But I realize (please correct if wrong) even rejecting can be forgiven if someone decides to believe and return to God, even slander, and the only time it would be too late is death? All sin is forgiven?

Can a believer become an unbeliever and slander? But if so, can they turn back to God's forgiveness while there still alive?

Response #29:

You wrote: "But I realize (please correct if wrong) even rejecting can be forgiven if someone decides to believe and return to God, even slander, and the only time it would be too late is death? All sin is forgiven?" – that is correct.

As to your other question, there is no such thing as "absolute eternal security no matter what I do". Believers are safe in Jesus Christ . . . as long as they are believers. There is such a thing as apostasy (please see the link):

Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
Luke 8:13 NIV

God wants all to be saved. If we are willing to be saved, just willing "not to say 'no!' " to the Lord, we are saved as those who believe in Him. Do those who have once tasted that the Lord is good and then fall away into absolutely apostasy ever come back again? All we can say is that the Lord is always willing to take back His prodigal sons and daughters – if they are willing to come back.

"Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live."
Ezekiel 33:14-16 NKJV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

You are right, for Jesus said the at the Son did not come to the earth to condemn it, he came to save the world.

Response #30:

Amen!

Question #31:

Can unrepentant sins be forgiven?

Response #31:

Unbelievers receive blanket forgiveness of all sin when they "change their mind" (repent) and accept Christ, and we retain that blanket forgiveness as long as we are believers:

In Him (Jesus Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
Ephesians 1:7 NKJV

Believers are forgiven any sin they may commit after salvation for purposes of being restored to fellowship with Father and our Lord Jesus whenever we confess – and all genuine confession carries with it the implicit fact that we have turned away from our sin as sinful (repentance):

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1st John 1:9 NKJV

Please see the link:

Repentance, Confession, and Forgiveness

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Is apostasy forgiven if you repent?

Response #32:

Apostasy is not a sin per se; apostasy is a believer renouncing his/her faith, that is, not believing any more. As long as a person is alive, that person can come to Christ, even (as in the hypothetical you ask about) he/she has previously fallen away. That is my opinion, in any case – scripture does not discuss the situation. That is probably because it is extremely unlikely that anyone who has "tasted" that Christ is good and has been saved, then turned away into unbelief, has ever wanted to come back in the history of the world. The one scenario that is NOT possible (mentioned here only because I know of so many believers who are afraid they have fallen away and can't come back – when in fact they have not fallen away in the first place) is a situation where a person wants to come back to Christ but is somehow "not allowed" to do so. Even suggesting such a thing completely misunderstands the loving and gracious nature of our God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
2nd Peter 3:9 NASB

Yours in the One who died that we might live, our Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #33:

I have now been convinced that no sin will be held against us in life, for God has said he is not counting our sins. Please tell me, how much experience do you have with religion? And forgive me, I just hear that there are teachers in Christian schools that say the unforgivable sin in the opposite manner than you do.

Response #33:

You wrote: "I have now been convinced that no sin will be held against us in life, for God has said he is not counting our sins."

Good for you!  You were cleansed when you believed (1Cor.6:11); you are forgiven when you confess (1Jn.1:9); you are disciplined when you err (Heb.12:1ff.).

As to your other question, I have five degrees, including a Ph.D., and an M.A.B.S. from Talbot Theological Seminary. My curriculum vitae (or resume) is online at Ichthys (see the link). I have also been doing this a very long time (have you spent much time at the website?).

So I dare say I have credentials. One of the reasons I spent so much of my life amassing proper credentials was for just this reason, namely, to give those who are vacillating because of nay-sayers some confidence that this ministry is well-grounded.

Nevertheless, I would hope that after our extensive conversation you would put more stock in the voice of the Spirit than in numbers of opinions and those who hold them. If your method is to count up opinions on any subject, the majority is almost certainly going to give you the wrong answer (especially in all matters biblical). Ultimately, it is all about God's truth, and all those who are really interesting in the truth will find it.

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
Luke 11:9-10 NKJV

Sooner or later, if you want to grow up spiritually, you will have to make some decisions as to who you are going to listen to and who you are going to ignore. Otherwise, you will always have multiple "opinions" and you will never believe anything. This is the exact opposite of why the Lord has provided teachers in the Church:

. . . that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting . . .
Ephesians 4:14 NKJV

This is not the only ministry in the world which is teaching the Word of God truthfully in a detailed enough way for a believer to grow – but there are precious few of them out there in these latter days. Your job as a believer in Jesus Christ is to find the right place, the right ministry for you, and then stick with it. Vacillating between this one and that one without ever believing in anything is a recipe for spiritual disaster in the long run.

One other good ministry I can recommend is Pastor-teacher Curtis Omo's Bible Academy (see the link).

In hopes of your spiritual progress in the Lord Jesus, and a good eternal reward.

Bob L.

Question #34:

I am so sorry for asking, I have trust issues and the fact I can't see you face to face, it's just difficult.

Response #34:

No need to apologize. Everyone should be very careful about who and what to believe. Also, it is a blessing to be able to receive Bible teaching face to face; however, on the one hand I would never trade off quality for that benefit, and on the other hand just because we see people face to face and they seem to be trustworthy does not necessarily mean that they are.

As I say, I am not lobbying for you to accept this ministry in place of all others. What I am saying is that to grow a believer needs to have a primary source of the truth. Adopting a "Smorgasbord" mentality to Bible study will inevitably result in spiritual indigestion when the different sources disagree. This is a problem for all believers, but anyone who really is interested in the truth before all else will be led by the Spirit to the right place for him/her – even if it takes effort and time to find that "just right for me" Bible teaching ministry.

In hopes of you finding the right place to grow safely and securely in all the truth of the Word of God.

Bob L.

Question #35:

Is the unforgivable sin the only thing in the Bible that is misunderstood? Another thing: are you certain a believer can't commit the unpardonable sin?

Response #35:

There are plenty of things that are misunderstood in scripture by all manner of individuals and ministries. As to the unpardonable sin, yes, that is what scripture teaches: believers are saved, all believers. Therefore, the only way anyone who is a believer could be lost – the only way – is to reject Christ and become an unbeliever (i.e., apostasy). A person who has accepted the Spirit's testimony would have to latter change his/her mind to the point of abandoning faith entirely and reverting to the status of an unbeliever.

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
Hebrews 6:9 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #36:

I heard someone say Jesus condemned the Pharisees. Do you believe that?

Response #36:

It depends what you mean by "condemn".

Question #37:

The chapter on the unforgivable sin, right when they said it Jesus was telling them they were going straight to hell.

Response #37:

I don't find the word "condemn" either in Matthew 12 or Luke 12.

Our Lord does say that speaking against the Spirit, that is, rejecting the gospel message about Himself, cannot be forgiven – but we have discussed that and then some.

Question #38:

No, that is what the person said that Jesus was going to send them to help after they said what they did in those chapters. I believe he does not know Jesus that well because the Bible also says he came to save not to condemn people.

Response #38:

Good for you!

Even though we are to be "gentle as doves" in how we relate to others, we also have to be "wise as serpents" when it comes to trusting what other people say, taking care to validate everything from the Bible.

Question #39:

But do you believe Jesus would not forgive someone who asks forgiveness no matter what it was?

Response #39:

Jesus does forgive anyone who asks for forgiveness, believers when they confess their sins, unbelievers when they repent and put their faith in Him for salvation.

Question #40:

I realize that the chapter that mentions the unforgivable sin Jesus is referring to going on until death rejecting, even if someone rejected, it's never too late to confess repent and be found by God. But I hear people say the Holy Spirit won't work with the people who reject.

Response #40:

They should read the Bible.

Question #41:

Exactly, it's not Jesus holding a grudge.

Response #41:

Exactly! God is love. He wants all to be saved (Ezek.18:23; Matt.18:14; Jn.12:47; 1Tim.2:4; 2Tim.2:24-26; 2Pet.3:9), and Jesus died for all sins (Jn.3:16). The only thing that stops people from being saved is that in their heart of hearts they do not want to submit to God through accepting Jesus Christ (Jn.3:17-18).

Question #42:

Did the Pharisee named Nicodemus blasphemy the Holy Spirit?

Response #42:

He is in heaven (read John 7:50 and John 19:39).

Question #43:

Do you understand sometimes why I have my doubts about the unforgivable sin?

Response #43:

Learning how to expel false beliefs in favor of truth that has been vetted and made clear through careful study of the Bible is often difficult, especially if 1) a person is still troubled by sinful behavior which is not yet under control, and/or 2) a person is relying on multiple sources of "truth" which are saying different things.

The answer to all three problems is spiritual growth, that is, taking in the truth of the Word of God on a consistent (preferably daily) basis from a tested and reliable source, believing it, living according to it, and thus growing and changing from the inside out. That is the only for faith to grow and for doubts to recede.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #44:

They make it out if someone is currently against God and has a thought or speaks bad that God will not forgive them and they will just live going to hell, which I feel is false. Even if someone was against God and did this, if they come to Jesus they can be forgiven. Right?

Response #44:

I'm still not sure who "they" is, but I agree with you. Saul of Tarsus persecuted the Church and was responsible for destroying the lives of many believers – but when the Lord appeared to him, he responded in faith and became one of the greatest believers who ever lived.

Believe the Bible, not "what they say" (whoever "they" may be).

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #45:

I just can't believe Jesus would give up on someone. I refuse to, because he would never do that.

Response #45:

Amen!

Question #46:

Does God desire and work with all of us, no matter what we have done, even the Pharisees?

Response #46:

The Pharisees were unbelievers almost to a man, but, yes, God desires all to be saved:

. . . God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1st Timothy 2:3b-4 NKJV

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2nd Peter 3:9 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #47:

I just read an article that blasphemy isn't a sin unto death. Is this true?

Response #47:

What did the article say?

Question #48:

http://blog.harvestspringlake.org/2011/10/unforgivable-sin.html

Response #48:

Is this your church?

Question #49:

No it was an article online.

Do you believe what this person is saying is true?

Response #49:

There are many articles online by many people many of whom don't know what they're talking about. I am sure you can find an article somewhere online on every possible position on this topic. From what I understand, harvest Bible Fellowship is a very typical independent evangelical mega-church. I don't know much about James McDonald, but generally speaking this group has typical evangelical points of view. On this particular issue, I would be very surprised if they were saying anything out of the ordinary. What is it precisely that you felt to be out of line with what I wrote you before?

Question #50:

Nothing. These articles just throw me off that's all. I'm sorry. But I still don't feel God's wrath will be on anyone, but that is what they are saying.

Response #50:

Two interesting things about the introduction to the blog. For one thing the three preachers admit to having "slightly different takes". Secondly, it also says "in essence all agree that the unforgivable sin is the sin of unbelief".

So I'm not sure what the problem is, except to say that spiritual growth requires consistency, and that consistency has to be based at least in part upon receiving a consistent message from a consistent reliable source. If Ichthys is not your "Right ministry", the best thing to do is to find that right now as soon as possible and get cracking.

I couldn't recommend the church which produced the blog we're talking about here however (if only because the pastors are admittedly teaching different things from each other – they can't all be right, obviously).

Question #51:

But I saw one thing that says the unforgivable sin is not unto death, but I feel that is contrary to what you told me. They make it sound like it was too late to change their mind.

Response #51:

I didn't get that impression from their site.

Either you misunderstood them, or you understood them correctly and they are wrong. Assuming the latter, remember that people can say anything (and they do). What is their evidence? As it says in Ephesians 4:14, the purpose of spiritual growth is "that we may no longer be immature, swept off-course and carried headlong by every breeze of so-called teaching that emanates from the trickery of men in their readiness to do anything to cunningly work their deceit".

A believer should believe the truth of scripture. If someone says "it means something different than you think", there are only two reasons to even consider reevaluating what you have believed from a good source with the Spirit confirming your understanding through scripture: 1) the person is known by you to be reputable and orthodox and a good source of the truth otherwise; 2) the person presents credible biblical evidence for the alternative position. In fact, both things really ought to be the case before a believer gets overly exercised about a troubling teaching. If this does happen, then we can discuss 1) the person's credentials, and 2) the evidence presented.

On the eternal future, it's never too late to change one's mind – as long as the person is alive. It may be unlikely in the case of dyed-in-the-wool unbelievers, but after all how likely was it that Saul was going to change his mind and become Paul? But God has a way of breaking through the hardest of hearts . . . if there really is any sort of genuine desire there to be saved and have a relationship with the Lord (or to repent in the case of wayward believers; cf. the prodigal son: Lk.15:11-32). We still have free will, as long as we are alive. That is the essence of the image of God. Those who say believers can't change their minds or that unbelievers who do XYZ can't change their minds misunderstand the entire point of the plan of God and the entire reason why we are here on planet earth in the first place. Again, these are all matters that will make more sense to you once you start making some progress in spiritual growth. I commend parts 3A, 3B and 4B of the Bible Basics series on these points (for the link, see "Bible Basics").

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #52:

Thank you, but a question. Will the Holy Spirit ever leave someone for good?

Response #52:

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Romans 8:9 NKJV

According to this verse (and lots of other scriptural evidence), all believers today have the Holy Spirit; anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit is not a believer.

Again, we have a case of people voicing opinions without consulting the Bible carefully.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #53:

But one question, why do very few people say what you say the unforgivable sin is?

Response #53:

Perhaps because so few people have taken the time to research this carefully in scripture, or, if they have, have lacked the preparation in theology or the original languages. There are many reasons for error. Getting it right requires doing it right at every juncture.

Your job, as a believer, is to discover the right source of Bible teaching for you, then stick with it. You will never get anywhere in the Christian life with "smorgasborditis", that is, taking some from here and some from there and thus never coming to a solid understanding of the truth on any point nor being able to believe anything because you are entertaining multiple opinions on everything (2Tim.3:7).

Question #54:

What is the real definition of blasphemy, and why do they think Jesus committed it?

Response #54:

In this context it is saying untrue things about God; calling Him a liar, in effect. When our Lord "made Himself equal to God" (Jn.5:18), He was only telling the truth; but this seemed like blasphemy to those who did not believe Him.

Question #55:

Tell me, what if someone would say they would've done what Judas did, are they unforgivable? Sometimes it gives me ideas of death because sometimes I feel hopeless. I'm sorry for sounding frustrated and upset I just don't want to be hopeless and feel that one can lose salvation.

Response #55:

Judas was never saved. And all believers are saved. The only way for someone to lose salvation is for that person to reject their faith in Christ. That is to say, it is not an accident – so you have nothing to worry about. No one ever accidentally went to hell. Unbelievers go to hell out of their own free will because they prefer hell to acknowledging Christ's Lordship; so they deserve it.

So there is no reason to be frustrated, upset, hopeless . . . or fearful. Jesus died for all and the Father wants all to be saved. Only those who refuse to be saved are lost.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:18 NKJV

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #56:

Truthfully, I questioned my faith in Christ, but it's not to late to come back and have him in my life right?

Response #56:

Plenty of Christians question; but everyone who believes is a believer, and those who are not are not interested in questioning – or interested in Christ (from that point of apostasy forward).

As I often say, if a believer is worried about their ultimate status they have nothing to worry about in this respect – because unbelievers do not care (by definition). It's only when a believer lapses to the point of their faith dying out that they really need to worry – and then of course they are not worried because they do not care since they are no longer believers.

If a believer has concerns, they are wasting their time worrying about whether or not they are saved (because they are saved). Instead, they should put their efforts into moving forward spiritually – that is the way to becoming joyful in Christ always, and to putting worry to death once and for all (the only way).

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #57:

A question on why the Pharisees believed Jesus was a blasphemer. Did the Pharisees say this due to Jesus claiming to be God, thinking Jesus claimed that he was God and was not?

Response #57:

Yes, that is my understanding of their false view.

Question #58:

I feel that articles online that say there is no hope for people who knowingly do this (even if they want to come back and repent) have no hope and are more for religion and not Jesus. Slave<Son

Response #58:

Yes, there is a lot of "noise" out there on the internet – which is only a problem if one pays attention to the wrong things.

Question #59:

When did you first hear about the unforgivable sin?

Response #59:

It's in the Bible. And if you read it there, it's pretty clear what it is (since Mark explains it as relating to rejecting the Holy Spirit's witness).

Question #60:

Did anyone ever tell you about it, what caused you to think more on the subject spiritually?

Response #60:

I get questions from folks like you.

Question #61:

What does the Matthew verse mean when he says "because they said he had a spirit.

Response #61:

It's Mark 3:30: [He said this] because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."

By attributing Christ's miracles to the devil the Pharisees were, in effect, calling the Holy Spirit an evil spirit. It's all here at these links:

Sin according to the Bible: Hamartiology I

Have I committed the unpardonable sin?

The Unpardonable Sin and Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Blasphemy against the Spirit

In Jesus our Lord,

Question #62:

Why did you come to the conclusion the unforgivable is unforgivable when one dies doing it. Can you tell me where it says this in the Bible?

Response #62:

I am sure I never said these words. Where do you think you saw them?

Question #63:

You have said that as long as one is still alive there is hope.

Response #63:

With that I definitely agree. But that's not what you asked.

Question #64:

Sorry. But my belief is convinced, for unbelievers dying rejecting the Holy Ghost is unforgivable, and sinning willfully at death is unforgivable for believers. Correct?

Response #64:

I have never put things in the way you phrase them here and do not want to ascribe to this terminology because it may be confusing. Here is what I can say:

Believers are saved. Unbelievers are not saved. If a believer abandons faith and becomes an unbeliever, he/she is not saved. If an unbeliever repents and places his/her faith in Jesus Christ, he/she is saved. Sin is not the issue (willful, unforgivable, mortal, venal, carnal or whatever other name a person wants to slap on it); sin is a symptom of our collective problem as human beings without God, one that should lead a person to the true issue: we need forgiveness for eternal life and that is only possible through faith in Christ. The Spirit makes these matters clear when the gospel is given. Some people accept the gospel when they hear it – they are saved; others reject it . . . and in doing so are rejecting the Spirit's testimony (that is blaspheming the Spirit by calling Him in essence a liar) – and are not saved. At death, unbelievers are lost and go to torments; believers go to be with Jesus.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #65:

Thank you, I feel that I just need to do more. I think I get it now. God won't send us to hell for our sins; he'll send us to hell if we believe in Jesus or not.

Response #65:

God "wants all to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth" (1Tim.2:4). He loves us all and loves us so much that He sent His one and only dear Son to die for all of our sins (Jn.3:16). He didn't do that in order to send people to hell but to deliver us all from death and destruction:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
John 3:17 NIV

So He doesn't send anyone to hell: those who go to hell do so from their own free will choice. They would rather be captains of their own "will" than bow to the WILL of the One who loved them so much He gave them the Gift of Gifts – even though all He asks is to accept Jesus' sacrifice on their behalf.

That is why we are all here: to self-select for heaven or hell, accepting God's love or rejecting it willfully – and for those of us who do believe, to respond to Him in time so as to earn eternal rewards which will glorify Him forever. There is much more about all this at the link: "God's Plan to Save You".

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #66:

Will willful sins send us to hell, or is it only if you do not believe in Jesus?

Response #66:

Believers to go to heaven; unbelievers go to hell (through their own choice of rejecting the One Way of salvation). Sin, any sin, involves our will. Sin, any sin, is a rejection of God's authority in preference for our own desires. Sin, any sin, pushes us away from God rather than drawing us closer to Him. All sin (Rom.3:23); all stumble (Jas.3:2); but all believers who are determined to live forever with Jesus Christ rise up where they have fallen, repent of all bad conduct, confess their sins, ride out whatever divine discipline they have coming, and get moving again on the high road to Zion in the quest of spiritual growth, progress and production – at least that is how it should go. For those who are lackadaisical Christians, the danger is that sin becomes a habit, that confession begins to be left off, that the person drifts farther and farther away from wanting to have anything to do with Christ or His Church or His truth. Sin, especially unconfessed and unrepented and habitual sin, can erode faith over time, and our faith is what makes us believers (by definition). If we stop believing, we are no longer believers, and living a life of sin often has that result, namely, eroding of faith until it disappears resulting in apostasy. Occasionally, however, some believers refuse to let go of their faith OR their scurrilous conduct. When that happens, the Lord removes said believer from this world in a very painful way (but that person, as opposed to the apostate, goes to heaven since he/she is still a believer, albeit a very poor one). Please READ the link: Apostasy and the Sin unto Death.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #67:

I need to stop sinning even if I am a believer. But is it ever too late for anyone?

Response #67:

Wow – you read quick!

We all need to stop sinning; if we are advancing spiritually, growing, progressing and producing for our Lord, that "offense" will be a great part of our "defense". It's hard to "be good" sitting in place – many have tried; none have ever succeeded. So if a person really wants to get a better handle on sin, getting cracking with studying the Bible is the only way to go.

As to question #2, let me put it this way: even if a person is righteous in every way, that person still needs to stay away from gross sin and still needs to keep believing in (and hopefully serving) Jesus Christ, right? So if it is never too late to fall away, ipso facto it is never too late to come back.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #68:

I don't want to be God's enemy, but I know Jesus died for my sin, and only unbelievers who die refusing Jesus committed the unforgivable sin.

When you said blasphemy is to impugn God, what does it mean to impugn?

Response #68:

Good for you!

"Impugn" means to attack a person's character or motives – in this case, calling God a liar when He has sacrificed absolutely everything to save the person in question.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #69:

And it is not just saying Jesus is a liar, but it is unbelief until death. But, what if one calls the Spirit what the Pharisees did? Is that unforgiving the moment you do it and no better, or is it forgiven if you change your mind?

Response #69:

Unbelief is a state, not an action; blasphemy against the Spirit is an action, not a state. Only unbelievers blaspheme the Spirit (when they reject the gospel). That is not forgivable because it is essentially an unwillingness to accept the gospel, the only way to be saved. Anyone can change their mind – as long as they are still alive. Any of the Pharisees or religious leaders who later believed, after Pentecost for example (cf. Acts 6:7), were saved.

Question #70:

Have you ever seen someone who rejects the gospel?

Response #70:

It happens all the time. Of course, no one can see what goes on inside a person's heart – except God. We do see the consequences – as in the case of the Pharisees who saw the Lord personally and said he was being empowered by the devil (Mk.3:30). That was a clear indication of rejecting the gospel – which is our Lord's entire point in speaking of the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Spirit: if you reject the gospel, you are lost – unless you later change your mind (but no one has forever to make that decision).

Question #71:

Would you count blasphemy as a true belief that God is a liar?

Response #71:

I wouldn't want to use the word "belief" for something so awful. When people reject God, they do so for all manner of selfish reasons which all boil down to not wanting to place themselves under His authority. Blasphemy covers a lot of ground beyond this specific case of it: impugning God generally by word (or thought or deed); denigrating His character and questioning His motives. It means, literally, to speak ill of someone, the Someone in question being God.

Question #72:

Is rejecting the gospel just believing Jesus is not God or is there more to reject?

Response #72:

People are saved by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior, His perfect Person (the God-man), and His perfect work (His death for the sins of the world). That is the gift of God and the gospel message. When we believe it, we are saved "by grace, through faith" in Jesus Christ. Who knows what goes on the the heart of unbelievers? But by definition unbelievers do not accept Christ according the terms explained above.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #73:

 I know but what is the main rejection people do?

Response #73:

To be saved, all a person has to do is "not say no" to the gospel; however, most people refuse to say "yes" when God offers them the Gift of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Question #74:

Also, how do you know that a believer can't commit the unforgivable sin?

Response #74:

Believers can abandon the faith and apostatize (see the link). If they do, they are no longer believers. But the unpardonable sin is rejecting the gospel in the first place, calling the Spirit a liar when he tells you that you can be saved by believing in Jesus, then refusing to believe Him, refusing to believe the gospel so as to be saved. Believers – by definition – do believe the witness of the Spirit. That's how we are saved. If we didn't believe the Spirit's testimony, we wouldn't be believers in the first place. So it's impossible for a believer to be committing this sin.

Question #75:

Is it ever too late for a believer to come back from apostasy and say yes?

Response #75:

There's no such thing as "a believer in apostasy". Apostasy is the loss of faith. If someone who believes apostatizes, by definition they revert to being an unbeliever. At that point, the "unbeliever rules" apply all over again. What you are imagining is a believer who is a bad spiritual state, one who is "backsliding" as it says in the Old Testament (e.g., Jeremiah 3:22 KJV: Return, ye backsliding children, [and] I will heal your backslidings).

Question #76:

If someone would commit the sin of rejecting Jesus, if they knew better, if they do manage to come back to God will God accept them back?

Response #76:

Where there is life, there is hope, because God is "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2Pet.3:9 NASB). Jesus died for all that all might be saved. God is not looking for reasons to condemn us; He is ever looking to save all who are willing to be saved – since His Son has already paid the entire price for the salvation of all:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:17 NIV

Question #77:

Also, what do you think about this article? http://compellingtruth.org/blasphemy-Holy-Spirit.html

Response #77:

I'm always reluctant to recognize, recommend or spend time on any site which fails to identify the author or the organization.

Question #78:

I know, but are they right? Is the unforgivable different today than in the past?

Response #78:

Like I said, anonymous sources have their problems. The biggest problem with this post is its lack of clarity. They end by saying that the unforgivable sin has always been the same: rejecting the gospel. However, they do seem to want to have it both ways by what they say in the beginning.

This is a good example of what I have been saying all along, namely, that the only way for a Christian to grow spiritually is to find a good, solid, reliable source of the truth and stick with it. Using the internet as a Smorgasbord always results in spiritual indigestion.

Question #79:

Also I heard someone say believers who sin will perish in hell if they sin willfully. Is it too late for me if I deliberately sinned?

Response #79:

Of course that's nonsense. What have we been talking about all this time? All sin is "deliberate" since all sin comes from the will . . . and so all sin is "willful" (see the links "deliberate sin" and "sinning arrogantly"). The more clear we are on the fact that we are sinning before we sin, the greater the discipline. But Jesus died for all sins, and all sins are forgiven when we confess. Sin is serious business; sin brings discipline; sin slows down our spiritual progress; sin alienates us from the Lord; sin which we refuse to turn from and refuse to repent of and refuse to confess will, over time, erode our faith. But all believers are saved; only unbelievers are lost. The way in which sin enters into the picture is by way of eroding the faith of those who embrace it without restraint, and if faith dies, a person is no longer a believer.

Just because uneducated or self-righteous people who don't know the scripture or prefer their own opinions to what the Bible says choose to say otherwise is no reason for a believer walking with Christ to pay attention. Don't take counsel of your fears; listen instead to the Spirit as He guides you in the Word.

I would ask these people, "what is 'willful sin' "? No doubt it's some sin they don't have a weakness for (in their twisted thinking).

I can explain this to you and reassure you a hundred times, but you'll never get anywhere until you choose to believe it.

It's all about faith.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #80:

I just saw many people agreeing with him, and that's when I started to wonder.

Response #80:

If this Christian life were a democracy, all real believers would be going to hell. It's not a democracy – God is in charge and His Word is what is authoritative, not what "people" say or what "people" think, no matter how many of them "follow the beast" (which of course the majority will do during the Tribulation). Generally speaking, the more people who agree with a position, the more chance it's wrong.

Question #81:

Do you know the majority I've heard about the unforgivable sin is slander, and after you do it you're going to hell regardless and you can't change? But why do the minority of the people believe it is rejection of the gospel and Jesus existence until death?

Response #81:

Those who say it's the gospel are reading their Bibles and are correct; those who say it is slander are not reading their Bibles and are incorrect. The majority only rules in a democracy. In our day and age, most Christians are marginal and far from the truth. The minority is not necessarily always right, but you will never get anywhere in the Christian life by consulting numbers or taking a poll.

What does the Spirit tell you?

To advance spiritually, you need to find an authoritative, orthodox, and doctrinal source of the truth and give it/him the benefit of the doubt the vast majority of the time. Smorgasbord-ing it on the internet will only result in spiritual decline over time. This doesn't have to be Ichthys, by the way (I also gave you the Bible Academy link, e.g.); but for your own good it needs to be some good, solid place. Then settle down and commit yourself to learning as much truth as you can, believing it, and start putting into practice in your life. Only actual truth you actually believe is of any use.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #82:

But one thing I'd like to know is how did this mix up with the unpardonable sin happen. Surely 1st Peter and the other apostles didn't teach this.

Response #82:

I assume you have heard of the Roman Catholic church? After the apostles passed, much of the detailed understanding of the scriptures they left behind perished with them and with that first generation of believers. That is why our Lord remonstrates with the church of Ephesus for "leaving your first love" (love of the truth taught in scripture); Ephesus represents that first post-apostolic generation (see the link: CT 2A: The Seven Churches).

The bottom line is that there is probably not a single important doctrine that has not had to fought for by truly orthodox Christians. That was what the Reformation was about; that is what the evangelical revivals of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries were about, and that is what the fight now for the truth on so many important issues of scripture is about. And that is why it is so important to find a place of true orthodoxy and stick with that good teaching. For every truth, one can find out there in the world putative Christians and groups calling themselves Christians who teach just the opposite.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #83:

What is more of a problem, sin or belief?

Response #83:

Would you be so kind as to formulate a new question from the bottom up? You are assuming that I am understanding what you are thinking about, but I am in the dark.

We have talked about the so called unpardonable sin, and I have explained (many times now) that said sin mentioned by our Lord, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is the rejection of the gospel. You seem to be reluctant to accept this fact, even though it is very clear from a close reading even of the English scriptures. Many ignorant people have tried to make this "sin" something else, and sometimes it has not been so much a matter of ignorance on the part of the "teacher", but of wanting to have a club to beat over the head of ignorant church members. How is this the case? If I convince people that this "sin" is something else than scripture says, then I can terrify those in the pews. And their terror is not easily resolved since they will not know what in the world the "sin" might be – and I will be the only one with a possible solution.

This was your situation, yes?

If "I" as the (false) teacher am the only one who knows what this "sin" is (and how to cope with it), and if you believe that, then you are in my power to manipulate however I wish.

This is why accidentally wrong teaching and deliberately false teaching are almost two peas in a pod.

All believers are saved. Only unbelievers are not saved. It's not a matter of sin, because "all sin" (Rom.3:23); it is a matter of faith, because "not all are of faith" (2Thes.3:2). Believers are considered righteous by the Lord because of their faith (justification by faith; see the link); unbelievers are condemned not for sin but for lack of faith (regardless of how "good" they may otherwise seem to us to be).

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:18 NIV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #84:

I am sorry, I just have something where I think is the unforgivable sin unforgivable the moment you do it or does it have to do with rejecting the truth? I just get very confused.

Response #84:

Please don't let yourself be manipulated. The "unforgivable sin" is rejecting the gospel. Anyone who makes it something else is only trying to enslave you spiritually:

"Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin." He said this because they were saying, "He has an impure spirit."
Mark 3:28-30

Jesus "said this" (i.e., about the sin that can't be forgiven) because they were saying that the Spirit who was witnessing to them was a devil. That sin cannot be forgiven because the Spirit is giving the truth about Jesus (as in this case) and if someone rejects the truth about Jesus they cannot be saved. Rejecting the truth about Jesus is calling the Spirit "a liar". That is not forgivable because by doing so a person rejects the truth by definition, and only the truth can save us when we believe it.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #85:

One other issue, some say that the unforgivable sin is a believer who tells slanderous lies about the Holy Spirit- they say that's what the Pharisees did.

Response #85:

As mentioned a number of times before (at least), this would only be partially true: the lie the Pharisees told about the Holy Spirit was rejecting the truth of the gospel; anyone who rejects the gospel is lost, being already condemned:

"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son."
John 3:18 NIV

These are Jesus' words. Consider: anyone who takes any of those incorrect positions we have discussed contradicts what Jesus says here. Faith is the issue: believers are saved, unbelievers are not saved. If there were some "special sin" that would condemn a believer, it would turn John 3:18 on its head (not to mention the rest of the Bible).

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #86:

But I am saved as long as I believe?

Response #86:

Yes: if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are saved; only unbelievers are lost:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NIV

Don't take it for granted. Build your faith day by day through Bible reading, listening to good Bible teaching, believing the truth, living it and, once attaining spiritual maturity, helping others do the same through the gifts you have been given. That is the way to grow, please the Lord, and earn eternal rewards – and the only way to stay spiritually safe . . . because you are only as spiritually safe as your faith is strong:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
Philippians 2:20 NASB

Obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
1st Peter 1:9 NASB

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2nd Peter 1:10-11 NKJV

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #87:

Didn't Paul reject the gospel out of ignorance? And even if he didn't would he have still been forgiven if he came to Christ? Just as long as he was alive?

Response #87:

Paul was forgiven for everything he did. He calls himself "the worst of sinners", but not only was he later saved, of course, but came to be the greatest of the apostles:

(15) The saying is true and worth careful consideration: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am among the foremost of them". (16) But it is for this very reason that I was shown mercy, that is, so that in me first and foremost Christ Jesus might demonstrate the full measure of His patience [toward unbelievers] as a pattern for those who are [likewise] going to believe in Him for eternal life.
1st Timothy 1:15-16

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #88:

But didn't he do what the Pharisees did?

Response #88:

I don't know of any biblical record suggesting that Paul ever laid eyes on Jesus before his journey to Damascus. Acts records events that happened later than the cross, sometimes much later. Paul seems to have come to Jerusalem after our Lord's crucifixion and resurrection.

Question #89:

Some say that the sin is only forgivable if done out of ignorance and nothing else.

Response #89:

The "sin" we are talking about is rejecting Christ, and there is no excuse for rejecting Christ because only by believing in Him, who He is (the Son of God) and what He has done for us (dying in Calvary's darkness for all of our sins) are we saved. While it's true that if you don't know you're doing is wrong in other respects that it's somewhat less culpable than if you know you're doing wrong (Lk.12:47-48), but all sin is sin, and if person rejects the gospel for any reason that person is not saved. This is also impossible, since the Spirit is the Evangelist who makes the gospel message clear to the person in question whenever the gospel is given – and the Spirit always does a perfect job. Therefore "blaspheming the Spirit", claiming that He is lying, is impossible to do "out of ignorance" (not that it would matter in terms of being saved or not: only those who believe are saved).

Who are these "some" you're communing with? You need to find a better church or a better bunch of acquaintances (IMHO).

Question #90:

I found a verse in the Bible that says that Paul was a blasphemer but he was forgiven because he acted out of ignorance, do you see that in the Bible?

Response #90:

Here's the verse:

Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.
1st Timothy 1:13 NASB

The Greek actually says "that I acted" not "because I acted". Ignorance is not an excuse (despite mistranslations which suggest this); Paul was forgiven even so (exactly as the first half of the verse states).

For our purposes, Paul lists three categories of outrageous sin here. Blasphemy is one of many sins; it's not a unique sin with "special effects; it has the same effect that all sins do. Rejecting the gospel is unique because that guarantees no salvation. "Blaspheming the Spirit" is specifically saying that the Spirit is lying about the gospel message – something done only by unbelievers when they hear the gospel and reject it and then attribute the Spirit's miracles to the devil.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #91:

The main problem I just have, sometimes people say that the moment you reject the gospel you will never repent of change the mind, and you could lose repentance. Why do people believe this?

Response #91:

Self-righteousness mainly (and a concomitant inability to accept that God is merciful and loving), as well as out of an ignorance of the Bible:

"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ "And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him."
Matthew 21:28-32 NASB

Even though the first son refused at first, he responded at last – and so is saved.

Question #92:

So just to clarify you don't agree with what the person in the article says about it not being rejection?

Let's take one more step before we define the unforgivable sin. Some people say that the unpardonable sin is continual rejection of the Holy Spirit until death. And thus only death puts a person beyond forgiveness. I think that is wrong for two reasons. One is that in Matthew 12:32 Jesus says, "Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either in this age or the age to come." If the possibility of forgiveness were taken away only after death, then Jesus would not have said that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable in this age as well as the one to come. Another reason is 1 John 5:16 teaches that there is a sin unto death which is pointless to pray about. It puts a person beyond forgiveness even in this life. Therefore the unforgivable blasphemy against the Spirit is not simply a lifetime of resistance against the Holy Spirit.

Also are you familiar with John Piper, he is the pastor who wrote what I sent you.

I also heard someone say there is a moment that someone can finally reject Christ while alive and are hopeless, do you feel this as jumping to conclusions?

I'm sorry this article just is killing my faith, I'm just nervous.

Response #92:

First, let me assure you that your faith has to stand in Jesus Christ and in His Word – not in the opinions of human beings. It is true that we all need teachers to help us understand the Word beyond a certain basic point, but scripture warns against "heaping up teachers" (2Tim.4:3), precisely because that activity will never produce spiritual growth – exactly the opposite, in fact. You should search for and find a Bible teaching ministry you trust, then learn and grow with that ministry (as long as you can truly learn and grow from it). But this searching around the internet til you find people who disagree so as to stoke your doubts is a bad policy.

You know that God is love. He does not want to condemn anyone (Ezek.18:23; Matt.18:14; Jn.12:47; 1Tim.2:4; 2Tim.2:24-26; 2Pet.3:9), and He gains no pleasure from their condemnation (Jn.3:17).

You know that Christ actually has already died for all sins (1Jn.1:2).

You know that if we confess our sins, God always forgives them (1Jn.1:9).

God the Father sent His Son to die for you, promises you forgiveness in His Name, promises to forgive you sins, and is mercy, goodness grace and love in His perfect character – all of which truths argue for your assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ, and irrefutably so . . . as long as you are a believer. That is the irony of this whole discussion. The only thing that can truly endanger a believer is having his/her faith undermined to the point where it is lost – and seeking out those who are only too happy to feed one's doubts (against what the Bible says) is not conducive to a strong faith. Yes, sin hurts faith, but it only kills faith if we let it, if we give into it totally, if we stop confessing, if we refuse to repent, if we turn completely away from the Lord because we are unwilling to give up some activity we value more than Him. But even here many are saved – albeit through the sin unto death – because in their sin they still refuse to give up on faith (PLEASE now read the link: "Apostasy and the Sin unto Death").

So no, I don't think much of this article snippet nor of the logic behind it (for reasons laid out in many emails before). To me neither point makes sense – once a person really understands what scripture really means by the "sin unto death" and "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit". For those who don't understand, any number of illogical conclusions are possible: garbage in, garbage out.

I can only help you if you are willing to be helped.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #93:

But I am willing to be helped, and I really need it, these people just are basically showing God as one who takes away repentance; they say a person is too far gone, but I don't get why they can just say that.

I also hear teachers and pastors say the moment someone speaks out of what they believe is the unforgivable sin that praying to God is pointless and we aren't allowed to pray for them, they say those people are forever damned.

Response #93:

I agree with you. I don't know where they get that.

I only know they don't get it from the Bible so therefore they don't get it from God.

That only leaves on alternative source.

Question #94:

I just come to realize Jesus didn't condemn he only warned them in Matthew 12. Correct?

Response #94:

Yes, that is right: the whole purpose of most verses in scripture which seem threatening is to get people to CHANGE – not to tell them they are lost (!). God wants all to be saved (1Tim.2:4). Any of our Lord's contemporaries who had/were rejecting the gospel (blaspheming the Spirit) were absent salvation . . . the only solution to which is to believe in Christ (which remains possible as long as a person is alive):

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:18 NIV

Question #95:

Tell me, do you believe that all of the disciples of Christ Jesus understood the unforgivable sin? Because I still ponder at who was the first to make the misconception in the first place.

Response #95:

I read this in scripture:

Then He charged them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have no bread." But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?
Mark 8:15-17 NKJV

This is only one of many cases where the twelve themselves did not "get" what Jesus was saying – and one of them was a traitor on top of that. So there have always been plenty of people, even plenty of Christians, who have "gotten it wrong", and that is perhaps more true in our era of Laodicea than at any prior time in the history of the Church (see the link). What is exceptional is "getting it right". To get it right takes persistence in seeking the truth, the help of the Holy Spirit, and good Bible teaching. But it also takes faith. When presented with the actual truth, the believer has to believe the truth, putting aside doubt, in order for that truth to become his or her own in the heart – and that is the only way for the truth do us any good. So my advice is always the same. Find a Bible teaching ministry you can rely on, and stick with it as long as it benefits you spiritually, putting aside minor disagreements and doubts for the sake of the greater good of your spiritual growth.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #96:

Do you believe that a believer is no longer in danger of committing the unpardonable sin because they believe Jesus was real?

Response #96:

Believers have put their faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world so as to be saved from condemnation; they believe He is who He said He was, the Son of God, and what He did for us on the cross.  Since we have accepted the Spirit's testimony about who Jesus is – the Son of God who died for our sins – we cannot be guilty of impugning the Spirit's witness about who Jesus is. We are saved – as long as we maintain our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #97:

Again I wanted to apologize for constantly bugging you about the unpardonable sin, and the main problem I had was the fact you said it is a till death sin (die doing it), because I thought any sin you die doing is unpardonable. But I still wish to believe what you said. Tell me, do you feel that the rewriting of the Bible can cause confusion?

Response #97:

The term is "sin unto" death, meaning, sin "resulting in" death. If a person dies sleeping, they are not saved because they didn't happen to be sinning at the moment – if an unbeliever; if a person is in the process of telling a lie when they drop dead, they are not lost because they happened to be sinning at the moment – if a believer.

Believers are saved – and there is not a believer in this world who has no sin, who never sins, who has no need for daily confession of sin. I can only speculate, but I would guess that if the standard was "don't be sinning at the moment when you die or you go to hell", that this would knock more than half our brothers in sisters in heaven directly into hell. But sin is not the issue: Jesus Christ who has already died to absolve us of all of our sins is the issue. We who believe in Him are indeed called to live a holy life, ever moving closer to a sinless life (our spiritual defense) even as we pursue growth, progress and production (the real reason we are left here after salvation and the basis of all of our rewards in eternity). But we all stumble and fall (e.g., Jas.3:2), so that such a stipulation would rightly cast every believer into paroxysms of fear. But our God is not trying to trick us, nor does He seek our condemnation. Rather, He loves us and wants all to be saved – didn't He judge all of our sins in His dear Son so that we might be? Yes He did. As I often say, all a person needs to be saved is to "not say NO!" to Jesus Christ. It takes willful rejection of the truth to go to hell; it's not something that happens by accident.

I don't know what you mean by "rewriting the Bible", so you'd have to explain that one to me.

Yours in our dear Lord who died for all of ours sins that we might have eternal life in Him – through faith.

Bob L.

Question #98:

What does not in this age or in the age to come mean (Matthew 12:32)?

Response #98:

It means, "not in this life or in the afterlife": those who reject the gospel do not avail themselves of God forgiveness, which is graciously being offered to all, so that after death there is nothing awaiting them but divine judgment (Heb.9:27).

For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1st Thessalonians 1:9-10

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #99:

I do know that the unpardonable sin is rejecting Jesus or the gospel but I still feel like there is something telling me it is the moment you speak badly. My haunting I believe comes from the false prophet, since it is proven the false prophet is a blasphemer. Can you please help me?

Response #99:

It's about believing what you know to be true. I can only help you with the "knowing" part. You have to have faith that what you have learned to be true is true. Faith is the shield with which you must ward off all of these attacks by the evil one designed to stoke your doubts:

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Ephesians 6:16 KJV

Perhaps it would be good to remember that God loves you so much He sent Jesus to the cross to pay the price for all of your sins, including the ones which worry you. The Lord who paid for you in blood is not trying to trick you out of salvation. He did everything He could to rescue you. Your part is to believe Him, and to trust Him.

In the One who is worthy of all of our trust, no matter what our ears hear or eyes see or feelings feel, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Bob L.

Question #100:

Wouldn't the unpardonable sin be the same as the sin unto death since it is a lifetime sin?

Response #100:

The so-called "unpardonable sin" is the rejection of the Holy Spirit's witness to the truth of the gospel (see the link).

The "sin unto death" is the destruction of a believer's body for serious sinful behavior of which he/she is unwilling to repent, even in the face of accelerating and escalating divine discipline (see the link).

The two don't have anything in common (and neither one "is a lifetime sin" – whatever that might mean).

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #101:

I am just troubled at times. I made a mistake in the past un-ignorant. I wish I could take it back I just feel hopeless at times. I just think I listen to too many diverse sources.

Will God take me back even if I feel condemned, because that's my current issue.

Response #101:

God never let you go in the first place. Jesus died for all of your sin, while you were His enemy (Rom.5:10). Now that you belong to Him, how will He not forgive you anything, provided you confess?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1st John 1:9

God wants all to be saved. He is not looking to "trick" people into being lost. Only those who absolutely do not want to have an eternity with the Lord are ever lost – by their own deliberate choice. He has gone to the greatest lengths to save you, to save us all. That is what love, the love of God, is all about. So now, having done the most for you in sacrificing His own dear Son, how will He not take you, take any prodigal son back, if only said person wants to come back? Indeed He will! Even the wicked are not beyond the grace of God, provided they are willing to come back to Him:

Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon
.
Isaiah 55:7 NKJV

Please stop beating yourself up with things past; move forward instead through the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #102:

Hello Robert,

I know you suggest I stay away from these websites, but can you please give me feedback on this one? It would mean a lot to me because this website disagrees with your statement on the unforgivable sin and it worried me; http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2002/dec/page17.htm

Response #102:

I had a look. Consider what Mark has to say about our Lord's words regarding the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" and the so-called "unpardonable sin":

[Jesus said this] because they were saying, "He has an impure spirit."
Mark 3:3 NIV

This is not just helpful in understanding. This is the interpretation because the Bible says it is the interpretation – the reason "why" Jesus said this.

Therefore, any "interpretation" of this passage today which does not start with this verse is clearly misguided and wrong. Webpage preacher does not even mention the passage.

This explanatory verse makes it clear that the "sin" is related not only to the Spirit but to what the Pharisees were saying about Christ's miracles done by the Spirit, miracles which were designed to bring people to faith in Him. Clearly, if a person rejects the evidence to the point of blaspheming the Spirit's testimony in providing the evidence, they are not willing to be saved . . . because they are denying the gospel; and denial of the gospel, failing to believe in Jesus, is the basis for condemnation (Q.E.D.: Jn.3:18).

Webpage preacher goes on about how others are confused but in the end does not even provide a straightforward interpretation of what he thinks all this really means, merely some pablum about what it could maybe possibly mean partially I guess (!?!). So webpage preacher's job is now done: he has taken conviction and turned it into doubt.

I use the analogy of pastor/teachers being "cooks" and the lessons being "prepared meals" – spiritual nutrition whereby a Christian can grow. In the analogy, abandoning good, healthy "home cooking" to go to a greasy-spoon where there are cockroaches running all over the place and the stuff served up looks bad, smells bad, and tastes bad is clearly going to produce internal troubles. Having a messed up "gut" is bad enough. But having a messed up "heart" is worse, and that is where all lies and false teachings end up – if they are given any credence whatsoever.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #103:

Hello Robert,

I have wondered this for a period of time, why does Jesus say speaking words against him instead of blasphemy in Luke 12:10? Do you think this confirms the unpardonable sin is rejecting the gospel by thus difference?

Response #103:

I think you have subtly landed on the problem. "Blasphemy" as the word is used in English is a technical term. But when the word is used in scripture (or Greek generally), it doesn't necessarily have the same connotations as when we use it in English. As I have said before, what happens in these passages is essentially "calling God a liar". The problem, therefore, is not so much in the affront to God (always a bad thing – but human beings insult God all the time, after all – swearing, for example, is ubiquitous), but in the failure to believe Him. And calling Him a liar is the ultimate rejection of His truth. If a person calls the Spirit a liar when the Spirit witnesses to Jesus – as He did in the gospel case – that person cannot/will not be saved because said person is deliberately refusing to believe the truth.

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #104:

What is your opinion with the different definitions of blasphemy in English and Greek translations?

Response #104:

As to translations, it is inevitable that translations are going to render blasphemia as "blasphemy". The problem comes in what we think we know this word means. To the extent that we infer some sort of special technical sin (of the stake-burning middle-ages type), we risk misunderstanding. The "bad things" said against the Spirit here as well as against the Son have to do with impugning their truthfulness – and they are unforgivable because the truth has to be believed for a person to be saved; and if a person is calling the source of truth a liar and thus calling the truth a lie, ipso facto that truth is not being believed (so the person is not being saved because he/she refuses to believe the truth so as to be saved).

In Jesus our dear Lord, Him who is the very Truth.

Bob L.

Question #105:

I know that you have proven many times that the rejection of the gospel is unpardonable due to it being impossible for the cross to cover, but something still bugs me, the fact that Jesus never said directly that it was rejecting the gospel in the Bible.

Response #105:

That's an impossible standard. Just think how big the Bible would need to be to provide a detailed explanation of exactly what every verse meant. It would have to be so big that few would be able to get through it – and even so I'm sure that there would still be plenty of questions along these same lines. As it is, this passage does come with an explanation: He said this because they were saying, "He has an impure spirit" (Mk.3:30 NIV). So as you say this point has been "proved and proved again" – and you don't have to take my word for it: you have the Holy Spirit telling you in this inspired verse what it means: they were saying the Spirit was "unclean" – that is speaking ill of the Spirit, and problematic for salvation because it entails by the very doing of it rejecting His testimony to the gospel (which has to be believed for a person to be saved). I think everyone from time to time develops a physical, neurotic "itch" (similar to what you have here). But just like with an itch we keep scratching until we tear the skin and create a bloody spot, there won't be any healing unless and until we finally stop scratching. Please stop scratching.

In Jesus our dear Lord who loves us more than we can know.

Bob L.

Question #106:

Hello Robert

I have heard some people say the nation of Israel's rejection of Jesus was the unforgivable sin. What is your view on this statement?

Response #106:

I think you can probably guess. This is a little like arguing about where to find Bigfoot – when Bigfoot doesn't exist. The Bible doesn't use the phrase "unforgivable sin" – our Lord says "the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven" (and these are not at all the same two things). Moreover, where our Lord makes the statement about rejecting the testimony of the Spirit He is using this as a synonym for rejecting Himself – the sin of unbelief manifest by rejecting the testimony of the One who is making Jesus' deity and Sonship clear.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

p.s., where do you find these people?

Question #107:

Hello Robert,

Do you believe that salvation would be harder to receive if the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was truly speaking badly about the Holy Spirit?

Response #107:

It might be impossible – since we all have trouble controlling precisely what we are thinking at any given moment (see the link). Blessedly, God wants all to be saved – rather than looking for ways not to save some. The whole plan of God, Jesus dying for all sins, is designed to provide salvation to all willing to accept it. I think you have hit on one key reason why the false theories associated with this passage are so wrong: they make out God to be a miser when it comes to granting salvation, whereas these people should recognize the incredible gift of His own dear Son given to die for all sin. Since Jesus has already paid the price for all sin, does it make any sense at all for God to deny salvation on some such questionable grounds as what might sometimes be an accidental or at least not fully informed sin/mistake? People go to hell because they refuse to accept God's solution to death and damnation – because they are unwilling to bend the knee to Him (even though all He asks is accepting the Gift He is offering). Links:

Salvation: God's Free Gift

God's Plan to Save You

In our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

 

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