Universally called the ‘unforgivable sin’, many people cautiously ask this question hoping to escape the eternal damnation foretold in Mark 3:28-30:
(28) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: (29) But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: (30) Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”
There is so much confusion regarding this verse placing so many in a trepid uncertainty about their salvation. However, a simple understanding of the verse in its dispensational context will give us the proper understanding and assurance about whether YOU have committed this egregious sin!
Firstly, we must realize that Jesus said this during his earthly ministry before the dispensation of grace was revealed to Paul. In Mark 3 Christ had not died on the cross, no one knew he had to die (1 Cor 2:7, Luke 18:34), and no one understood the meaning of the cross which was revealed first to Paul years later.
Secondly, Christ is speaking to the circumcision and through his life is confirming promises made unto the fathers (Romans 15:8, John 1:11, Matt 15:24). So then, when Jesus speaks about the Holy Ghost in Mark 3:29 he is most likely speaking about the Holy Ghost in His prophetic ministry and role.
That is, just as Jesus Christ had a distinct message and role during his earthly ministry and a separate message and role during this age of Grace, so also the Holy Ghost has distinct dispensational ministries and purposes.
The ministry of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost powerfully comes onto the scene when He is being poured out upon the Israelite believers in that baptism at Pentecost. John the Baptist prophesies of this event in Matt 3:11. Jesus foretells of this even in John 14, 16, Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Peter tells us that the ministry that the Holy Ghost played in Acts 2:4 is ‘that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel’ (Acts 2:16). However, this pouring out of the Holy Ghost also played a role in fulfilling the New Covenant for which Christ died (Hebrews 9:15-17).
The New Covenant was promised to Israel in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36. Part of that covenant was that God would cause Israel to walk in God’s statutes by ‘putting my spirit within you’ (Ezekiel 36:27).
This supernatural endowment of power from on High would allow them to perfectly fulfill that Law which God had given Israel to perform as a sign of their special chosen status with God before the nations of the world (Deuteronomy 4:6, 7:6).
The Unforgivable Sin
Now, we resume our search for the unforgivable sin in a similar passage in Hebrews explaining the rejection of this supernatural endowment. Hebrews 6:4-6 says,
(4) “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
We should understand that when a person was saved under the New Covenant in the early acts period they received the power of the Holy Ghost which supernaturally caused them to walk in the statutes of God (Ezekiel 36:26-27). If a person received that ‘heavenly gift’, the ‘ powers of the world to come’, the ‘born again of the spirit’, the supernatural ‘causing to walk in my statutes’, and ignored their new divine causing to sin it would be impossible to renew them again.
It would be impossible for Christ to die again for their sins. Hebrews 10:26-27 confirms this impossibility:
(26) “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
So then, we realize that the blaspheming of the Holy Ghost is equivalent to that rejection of the Holy Ghost after being affected by His supernatural New Covenant ministry.
Have you committed this sin?
Now to determine whether we have or could ever commit this sin. Let’s make some statements comparing our dispensational truth with the prophetic happenings of early Acts and the New Covenant.
(1) The New Covenant was given to Israel (Hebrews 8:10) in a time of national distinction in the eyes of God.
Today, in the dispensation of Grace there is neither Jew nor Gentile, no national distinction, and Israel has fallen to meet the Gentiles in their unrighteousness (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11, Romans 11:11).
(2) The New Covenant demands that they follow the causing of the Holy Ghost to live without sin in order to attain the future salvation (Acts 3:19, Hebrews 10:36, 1 John 3:9).
We are not considered righteous by ‘repenting and being baptized’, believing the ‘gospel of the kingdom’, or by following the law. All are valid offerings of salvation during the prophetic program (Matt 19:17, Acts 2:38; Luke 7:29-30). Instead, we receive our justification on the merits of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We were saved by ‘grace through faith’. Instead of the supernatural causing and rebirth that was the gift of God to the New Covenant believers; God gives us the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ’s death on the cross for our sins.
Since we are saved by grace, which is not based on anything we do, after we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13), then we cannot revoke the work that God performs on our soul (Titus 3:5, Romans 4:5, Romans 11:6; 2 Tim 2:13). That is, the work of crucifying our old man on the cross, and placing us into the body of Christ. So then, if God were to send us to eternal damnation he would be condemning the risen Lord Jesus Christ! This is the impossibility in this age of Grace.
We glory that Christ hath already ‘forgiven all your trespasses’ (Col 2:13), and that God is not imputing sins in this age (2 Cor 5:19). That is to say, that we are on Christ’s account and God is not keeping score of our sin if we trust that Christ took upon himself all of our failures and shortcomings (Romans 3:23-25).
So then, living in this age of Grace, where we do not have the supernatural endowment of the Holy Ghost, we cannot reject that supernatural power and heavenly gift and cannot fall into eternal damnation by committing the unforgivable sin. The issue in this age is the grace of God that while we were enemies, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8,10).
We should be careful of falling into the snare of the wrong teaching that in this age of Grace there is a sin for which Christ could not die to propitiate. This teaching would not only diminish the efficacy of the cross, but would also lead to denying that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. Instead we continue to preach the grace that is provided by the cross which is ‘to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18)