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What is the “Unforgivable Sin”?

Different Bible translations word this differently; some use the phrase “eternal sin” or “unforgivable sin.” In some, the sin is to “blaspheme against” or “curse the Holy Spirit.” Whatever the wording, what troubles many readers is the suggestion that there is a type of sin that God will not forgive. Doesn’t this contradict verses like 1 John 1:9, which state that God will forgive all of our wrongdoing? What exactly is the sin that can’t be forgiven—and is it possible that you’ve committed it, even unintentionally?

Here are Jesus’ words:“I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.” — Mark 3:28-29 (CEV)Jesus talked about the unforgivable sin in Matthew 12:31-32: “And I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”Let’s face it – that’s a very sobering teaching! But let’s put it into context. Note that Jesus didn’t address his comments to his disciples or a mere crowd. He was talking specifically to Pharisees who had personally witnessed his miracle of completely and instantly healing a blind and mute demon-possessed man (Matthew 12:22).

Rather than acknowledging the obvious fact that Jesus was exercising divine powers, the Pharisees were so spiritually depraved that they attributed his power to Satan (v. 24).“Their problem was not blind ignorance, but willful rejection,” pointed out Cornish. “That deliberate refusal to believe, even though knowing the truth, seems to be what Jesus called the unforgivable sin.”So if you’re an authentic Christian, don’t spend time fretting over whether you have accidentally committed this unforgivable offense. “There is no biblical evidence that a genuine Christian can commit this (unforgivable) sin,” says the Apologetics Study Bible.

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