The Unpardonable Sin
Ernest Barker has served the Lord and His people for many many years. “In journeyings oft” throughout the British Isles, United States of America and Canada, he has ministered to the comfort and edification of the saints. He is now over 90 years of age and resides in England.
(Read carefully Mark 3:22 to 30)
Is it possible for a believer in Christ to commit the unpardonable sin? The importance of this question cannot be over-estimated. The answer determines the possibility for the impossibility of a child of God suffering eternal punishment. All other sins may be forgiven, but for this particular sin there is no forgiveness.
There have existed a number of Christians who have arrived at the terrible conclusion that they have been guilty of this unforgivable offence and have consequently relinquished all hope of reaching Heaven. In certain cases this has resulted in long periods of nervous frustration. The enemy frequently takes advantage of physical weakness to install serious doubts of a spiritual nature into the hearts of God’s children.
Now let us notice carefully the passage under consideration. It is not at all improbable that the result of our investigation will be more satisfactory than some dared to anticipate.
The religious authorities who came down from Jerusalem accused the Lord Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub the prince of demons. Of all the accusations which were hurled in the teeth of the Son of God, this was by far the most serious. Demons are the emissaries of Satan, and emanate from the underworld. Therefore in preferring this charge these wicked men associated the Lord of Life and Glory with the powers of darkness. They would believe that He came from hell rather than from Heaven. They went so far as to ascribe the work of the Holy Spirit to satanic power. A greater lie than this, would be impossible for the human mind to invent.
Now let us observe the masterly way in which our Lord refutes this accusation. First and foremost He shows the futility of the charge by raising the question, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” In other words He said, “If demons are the emissaries of the evil one and I am casting them out by satanic power, then obviously Satan is casting out Satan, which is to say the least an absurd proposition.
The Lord proceeds to amplify His answer by the following illustration: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” This of course needs little explanation. And what is true of a kingdom is also true of an household. If its members be divided into opposite parties, the inevitable result would be disaster.
Now bring all this to bear upon the question, “How can Satan cast out Satan?” If the Lord Jesus cast out demons by satanic power, it implied not only that Satan was casting out himself, but also that he had risen up against himself. Then surely he would bring about his own end.
Our Lord then asserted that far from casting out demons by Beelzebub, He Himself would shortly bind the strong man (Satan); enter into his house, and spoil his goods. This work of binding the strong man and spoiling his goods was accomplished at Calvary when Christ, by means of His vicarious death, spoiled principalities and powers, and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them completely (Col. 2:11).
Following this is the definite statement that all sins and blasphemies may be forgiven, even the inhuman behaviour against the Saviour at the Cross. But for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit forgiveness is impossible “inasmuch as the offender is bound by an eternal sin.”
This latter statement leads to two important questions. The first is, What is it to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? The answer to this query is seen in verse 30, “Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.” That is to say it was because they charged the Son of God with being associated with the underworld; because they would rather believe that He came from beneath instead of from above.
The second question is, Is it possible for a genuine believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to commit this sin? The answer is an emphatic “No.” Let those who think that they have been guilty of this offence remind themselves in whom they originally trusted for their eternal salvation. Surely it was none other than the Saviour of sinners. Then let them apply to themselves other personal queries. Is He still worthy of my complete confidence? Is He what He claimed to be, the Son of God? If the answer to these interrogations is “Yes” (as it assuredly must be), that is proof positive that the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has not been committed. No backslider harbours the suggestion that the Lord Jesus came from the underworld. However far away from the Lord he may have travelled, however many years he may have been in a backsliding condition, there continues to be, hidden away in the inner recesses of his heart, the sincere conviction that the Lord Jesus came from Heaven.
The Bible distinctly states that if we believe that Jesus is the Christ, we are born of God (John 5:1). The Bible also states that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). Therefore, if we can make this twofold confession that Jesus is the Christ, the sent one from God, and that He is Lord of all, far from committing the unpardonable sin, it is the Holy Spirit Himself who enables us to make this two-fold confession.