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Lesson 24: The Unpardonable Sin

At one time or another, many people become concerned that they may have committed the unpardonable sin. They have heard that it is possible for a person to commit a sin for which no pardon, forgiveness, can be received, but they donít have any idea just what that sin is. They fear, however, that they are lost, and that there is no longer any use to be a Christian. It pleases Satan to have them feel this way, because he knows that if they keep thinking that there is no hope for them, they will be easily discouraged and overcome.

Many other people go on carelessly breaking Godís commandments, clinging to their bad habits and sinful pleasures. Rather than choosing the truth of God, as revealed in the Bible, they follow man-made false doctrines. These people are in real danger of committing the unpardonable sin, but they are little concerned about it. They need to be warned about their danger.

In this lesson, we will learn what the unpardonable sin is; how one can know if he has committed it; and most of all, how we can keep from committing it.

1. What is the sin which cannot be forgiven? Matthew 12:31.

"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."

Note: Some people naturally wonder if this means that if a person curses, using the name of the Holy Spirit, if this is worse than taking Godís name in vain, and if this is what can never be forgiven.

No, there is much more to it than that. Many have used terrible language, even naming the Holy Spirit, but have repented and have found forgiveness.

Jesus had been preaching to the people, healing their sick, and teaching them the prophecies. The false religious leaders of that day were jealous of Jesus because the people loved to listen to Him, and they did everything possible to stop His work.

Finally one day, they angrily brought this accusation: "The spirit, or power, which is working through this man Jesus is the power of the prince of devils." They had felt the Holy Spirit working on their hearts, but they had refused to listen to His pleadings.

It was one thing for them to ridicule and persecute Jesus as a person; but when they mocked at the working of the Holy Spirit through Jesus, they were driving away their only chance of salvation. The Holy Spirit works with a person as long as there is any hope of his repenting. When those false religious leaders scoffed at the power of the Holy Spirit in the miracles and work of Jesus and said it came from Satan, they were driving away the only power in the universe that could lead them to repentance; for, in saving souls, God always works through the Holy Spirit in the heart.

Work of the Holy Spirit

2. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? John 16:8, 13.

"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come."

Note: It is the Holy Spirit that speaks to you inside your mind and tells you what is right and what is wrong. He points out sin so you can avoid it. He also points out the truth to you so you will know what to follow. This is why it is very important that you always pray before reading or studying your Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to guide your mind as you seek to learn truth. We drive away the Holy Spirit by refusing to listen to His voice and by refusing to obey Godís Word.

3. How does the Holy Spirit direct us? John 14:26.

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Note: The work of the Holy Spirit is to help us understand the Bibleóthe teachings of Jesus. Some think that when they receive the Holy Spirit, they donít need the Word of God. We see from this text, however, that it isnít the work of the Holy Spirit to take us away from the Word, but to enlighten our minds with regard to the truths that are in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit teaches through the Word, without the Word you could be listening to an unholy spirit and not know the difference!

4. How did the writers of the Bible know what to write? 2 Peter 1:21.

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Note: Since the Holy Spirit taught the Bible writers what to write, He will never tell you to do anything contrary to what the Bible teaches. If anyone believes that he does not have to follow the Word of God in the Bible, he is not being led by the Holy Spirit that inspired the writers of the Bible.

5. How may we test what a person says to know if it is the Holy Spirit working in them? Isaiah 8:20.

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

Note: It is very dangerous for a person to go against Godís Word because a spirit is leading them to do otherwise. This text tells us that if a person is going against Godís Word, there is no truth in their words. We know from our earlier lessons that it is Satan who is the father of all lies. If a person cannot recognize the work of the Holy Spirit from that of evil spirits, how can the Holy Spirit convict them of sin? God has given us His Word as our unerring guide so that we may know with certainty that it is His Spirit that is leading us.

Resisting the Spirit

6. To excuse their sins, what false claims are many making? 1 John 2:3-5.

"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."

Note: Isnít that startling? If a person claims to love Jesus but refuses to keep the Ten Commandments, he is called a "liar." This is why it is so important that we obey all Godís commandments.

There are many ways we can break the commandments without always thinking about it. If we allow anything to be more important to us than obeying God, that thing becomes a god to us. We can take Godís name in vain not only by speaking His name carelessly, but by calling ourselves by His nameóChristiansóand not really following Jesus. We can break the Sabbath by completely ignoring it, but we can also break it by spending the sacred hours of the Sabbath thinking and planning the things we do during the rest of the week. We dishonor our parents when we do those things we know they would not approve of, or when we ignore their wishes, or talk badly of them to others, using terms like Ďmy old-maní or such. In many ways we can deny Jesus in the things that we do, without ever speaking a word aloud against Him.

7. Can God continue to hear and answer our prayers if we continue to disobey His law? Proverbs 28:9.

"He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." [disgusting to God]

Note: It is a serious thing for people to keep on breaking Godís law after the Holy Spirit has brought it to their attention. If they continue to reject the Holy Spirit, they will be lost.

8. What warning does Paul give? 1 Thessalonians 5:19.

"Quench not the Spirit."

Note: There are many ways of quenching, or grieving away the Holy Spirit. Some do it by watching questionable television programs, or by the music they listen to. Others do it by smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs. Some have worldly friends that push them to do wrong things, or they are dishonest in school. Some refuse to give to God their tithes or offerings, or they steal from Him by using the hours of the Sabbath for their own pleasure. In all these things we grieve His Spirit.

9. If a person truly repents of any sin, can he be sure of forgiveness? 1 John 1:9.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Note: The unpardonable sin is any unconfessed sin. If we are unwilling to confess and forsake a sin, it remains unpardoned.

The Danger of Rejecting Godís Love

10. What is it that draws us to repentance for our sins? Romans 2:4.

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"

11. What did God do that showed us above everything else, how much He loved us? John 3:16.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

12. What happens if a person knowingly continues in sin? Hebrews 10:26.

"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins."

Note: It is a serious thing to continue in sin when we know better. In Ephesians 4:19, Paul speaks of those who are "past feeling." Do not for one minute resist Godís appeals to your heart. There could be no greater demonstration of Godís love for us than the death of Jesus on the cross. If we continue to refuse to come to Him, in spite of this powerful revelation of His great love, He has nothing left in reserve to draw us.

Dwight L. Moody, the great evangelist of the last century, told the story of a man who was drifting helplessly down a river near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His boat got out of control and was rapidly being swept downstream toward the falls. The man realized that the falls meant certain destruction, so he cried for help. As he passed under a bridge, a rope was thrown to him, but he missed it. As he passed under a second bridge, another rope was thrown. He tried desperately to catch it, but missed again. He had only one more chance as he passed under the third and last bridge. As the life line was thrown to him, he sprang for it and just barely caught it, but he was saved.

Jesus is throwing the life line to you, but the last chance comes in every life. There is great danger in delay. If you havenít already done so, wonít you come to Him today?

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