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“Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
This verse is addressing those who have been healed from sin, then suffer a relapse. Those individuals become weaker spiritually than they were at first. Their experiences are similar to Saul. This king was once under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 10:9–13). But he did not submit himself fully and completely to God. And as a result, he was controlled by an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14; 18:10; 19:9). This evil spirit finally drove him to commit suicide. Also, Judas Iscariot had a similar experience.
II Peter 2:20-22
“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
This verse is talking about a person who has once been a Christian but has gone back to the world. As a result he, became spiritually hardened and less responsive to spiritual appeals. His salvation thus, became more difficult (Matthew 12:45; Luke 11:26).
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.”
This verse is dealing with sins that cannot be renewed to repentance. These sins manifest itself in continued resistance to the call of God. It consists in a hardening of the heart by continued rejection. This happens till there is no longer any response to the voice of God. Hence, a person who has sinned against the Spirit has no desire to turn from it and no conscience that accuses him. Therefore, if a person has a sincere desire to do right, he may confidently believe that there is still hope for him.
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
This verse is saying to sin willfully means to continue to sin willfully. As the context makes evident (v. 29), the reference here is not to single acts of sin committed in the full knowledge of its heinous character. But it refers to the attitude of mind that prevails when a person deliberately denounces Christ and rejects the Holy Spirit. This is deliberate, persistent, defiant sin. It is considered a reversal of the former decision to accept salvation in Christ and to yield one’s heart and life to Him. It is a premeditated apostasy which leads to the unpardonable sin (Matthew 12:31, 32).
What is the demarcation point between sinning and receiving forgiveness on one hand and the unpardonable sin on the other hand?
Some get discouraged with these verses. The Bible teaches that God loves sinners, and, indeed, sent His Son to save them (John 1:4, 5, 9–12; 3:16; Matthew 9:13). The sinners are in a state of revolt against God (Romans 8:7). But the unpardonable sin demonstrates itself in a continued resistance to the call of God and the convictions of the Holy Spirit.
However, if a person has a true desire to do good, he may positively know that there is still hope for him. Then he can claim the following promise and be confident that the Lord will not just forgive his sin but also heal him and give him total victory: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The demarcation point between God’s rejection and His acceptance depends on man’s willingness to repent and forsake his sins. This truth should be a source of comfort to the discouraged soul. But it is by no means to be used as an incentive to carelessness. God desires to comfort the discouraged. But He would also warn His people of the danger of reaching the point of no return.
In His service,
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