Charles Stanley

In Matthew 12, Jesus talked about the unpardonable sin. Christians sometimes misconstrue His comments and end up fearful that they could commit an unforgivable offense. The context of today's passage helps us understand why that is not the case.

Christ used the power of the Holy Spirit to heal a demon-possessed man who was deaf and mute. Amazed onlookers began to suspect He was the promised Messiah (Matthew 12:22), so religious leaders tried to quell the crowd's growing excitement: they claimed the Lord was Satan's fellow worker, who had used the Devil's power to accomplish this miracle. Christ refuted their statement and in Matthew 12:32 said, "Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him."

Jesus' comments addressed a very specific situation unique to His time. Though the Pharisees had themselves seen the Lord heal many people through the Spirit, they attributed the miraculous work to Satan. Jesus declared that this sin—claiming that God's Holy Spirit was the unclean spirit of the Devil—was unforgivable.

The sin was blasphemy, done deliberately and without repentance, by knowledgeable religious people, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary. This situation - personally witnessing Jesus' miracles and blaspheming the Spirit - cannot be repeated today.

Numerous New Testament verses assure us that no iniquity committed today is beyond the scope of divine forgiveness. The unpardonable sin Jesus referred to was something that could take place only when He lived on earth. So if guilt threatens to overwhelm you, read Romans 8:1 with gratitude.

Taken from "What Is the Unpardonable Sin?" by In Touch Ministries (used by permission).