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An Unforgiveable Sin

A Sunday school teacher was teaching her five-year-olds about miracles in the Bible. As an example she told about the "handwriting on the wall" in Daniel chapter 5. Little Sarah raised her hand and said, "In my house, it's not a miracle when handwriting appears on the wall. It's the work of my little brother." Whose work is it when Jesus heals a demon-possessed man who was also blind and mute, healing all three maladies in one miraculous stroke? Matthew 12:23 relates Jesus did just that: "He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw." Demon gone, eyes opened, mute tongue untied — just another day at the office for Jesus! Matthew reports that when the multitudes saw what the Lord had done, "they were amazed and said, 'Could this be the Son of David?' (12:23). But not everybody there attributed Jesus' miracles as the work of God. The Pharisees response to the miracle in vs 24 is remarkable for its perversity and blindness to who Jesus is and where His miracle-working power comes from — "But when the Pharisees heard it they said, 'This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons' " Talk about blind as a bat! Jesus refuted their ridiculous and irreverent words in Matthew 12:25-30 where He asserts His miracles are empowered by the Spirit of God, and that they are irrefutable proof He is stronger than Satan and will bind him and break his dominion over people!

In response to their blind, irreverent slander Jesus proclaimed sobering, startling, scary words —"Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come" (12:31-32). Wow! Is this the same Jesus who came to seek and save the lost? The same one who displayed super-sized compassion and eagerness to forgive even the worst of sinners? Is this the Christ who forgave the woman caught in the very act of adultery in John 8? The same one who fraternized and reached out to tax collectors and other dirty, rotten sinners of the day? The one who, while on the cross, forgave a guilty, condemned criminal being crucified beside Him, announcing that they will be in Paradise together later that day (Luke 23:43)? Is this the Jesus who so passionately desires to forgive and pardon sinners that He prays even as He dies on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?" (Luke 23:34). Then what's up with the threat of a kind of sin that will never be forgiven? This is one of the most perplexing statements Jesus ever made. Clearly we cannot dig into it here. We should remember the age of miracles has long ceased and no one today can witness Jesus performing miracles and then accuse Him of being possessed by the devil. Commentators agree on this point — any fear or concern you have committed the unpardonable sin is certain proof you have not committed it! (For further study, see Kyle Butt's excellent article, "Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit - The Unpardonable Sin," on the web @www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1218 Many scriptures teach the danger of dying in sins unforgiven by God — but this side of the cross no sin is unforgivable if we come to God on the conditions laid out in the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ