If God is supreme over all things, and His power has no limit, why would there be something that God is incapable of forgiving? Does that make any sense?
Because of God’s very nature, we should not be surprised that there are indeed limits to what God can and cannot do (and for very good reason). For example, the Scriptures clearly say (regarding our hope of eternal salvation) that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) — He “is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19). As a second witness to this fact, the Scriptures say that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).
Now, on the matter of forgiving sins, why is there a special category of sin which God cannot forgive? Is God powerless on this matter? Or are there important principles involved? This will be explained in more detail later.
Two Questions Some Christians Worry About
First, is every sin willingly committed by a converted Christian unpardonable?
[Please note that there is a difference between sinning “willfully” — out of an attitude of rebellion — and sinning “willingly” — caving in to temptation out of plain weakness. Willful sinning is described in Hebrews 10:26, and also in Hebrews 6:4-6.] Please read on for more explanation.
Second, can a Christian commit a sin, repent of it, be forgiven, and still remain a Christian?
God Understands Our Human Struggles
The apostle Paul described the struggle between our two warring natures, the flesh versus the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17). Paul himself described his own struggle when he said in part: “For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:15-23).
King David — who wrote many passages about loving God’s laws and obeying them — was not exempt from committing some of the most grievous sins either. However, his sincere attitude of heart-broken repentance can be read in Psalms 51, and he was called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
God who created us knew about our human nature when He inspired King David to write: “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalms 103:14).
When Christ was here on earth, He Himself said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Thus, God provided a way for our continual cleansing through the bloody death of His Son as described in 1 John 1:9, where it says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Please also read Romans 5:6-11.
As a result, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1).
One Very Important Role of the Holy Spirit
Christ described the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting us of our sins when He said: “And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).
It is also possible to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). The Greek word for “grieve” is Strong’s G3076 lypeo, which means to offend or to make sorrowful.
It is also possible to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). The Greek word for “quench” is Strong’s G4570 sbennymi, which means to extinguish.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit is given only to those who obey God (Acts 5:32).
Christ’s Statement on The “Unpardonable Sin”
“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 (Matthew 12:31-32).
How is it that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can NEVER be forgiven? Here is WHY and HOW it happens:
God uses the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins — especially those who have truly received the Holy Spirit of God and who have already experienced, and are presently experiencing, the benefits described in Hebrews 6:4-5.
If we grieve the Holy Spirit by blaspheming it (through our negative, callous, disdainful, and rebellious attitude expressed in our thoughts, words, conduct, or lifestyle), it will eventually be quenched — it departs from us.
When that happens, we no longer feel any compulsion [the work of our conscience] to repent of sin, since there’s no Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin anymore. Our seared conscience feels happy and freely “liberated” regardless of what we do — even when in clear violation of God’s laws and principles. We actually don’t care anymore, even when reminded about it. We might even curse God and His laws!
Since we aren’t bothered and don’t even care to repent, all of our sins REMAIN unforgiven or “unpardoned.” That is now tantamount to the “unpardonable sin” — NOT because God is not able to forgive, but because the person does not care about the need to be forgiven.
If you are very much concerned that you might have committed the “unpardonable sin,” I suspect that you have not, simply because you still have the desire to repent.
However, if you still have doubts, please seek counsel with a competent spiritual leader, or email us about your case, and we will try to help you.