What did Jesus mean by the unforgivable sin?

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About the unforgivable sin, the Bible says: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26).

Some get discouraged when they read this verse and don’t understand the demarcation point between sinning and receiving forgiveness on one hand and committing the unforgivable sin on the other hand.

To sin willfully means to continue to sin willfully. As the context makes evident (see v. 29), reference here is not to single acts of sin committed in the full knowledge of their evil character, but to the attitude of mind that prevails when a person deliberately renounces Christ, refuses salvation, and rejects the Holy Spirit. This is deliberate, persistent, defiant sin. It is a reversal of the former decision to accept salvation in Christ and to yield one’s heart and life to Him. It is premeditated apostasy, and leads to the unforgivable sin (Matt. 12:31, 32).

All sinners are in a state of revolt against God (Rom. 8:7) but, as Paul explained to the Athenians, before sinners have received the knowledge of the truth, God winks at their ignorance (Acts 17:30). Before the light of truth shines into men’s hearts, God does not hold them accountable for the darkness that prevails there (John 15:22; Luke 23:34; 1 Tim. 1:13). God loves sinners and sent His Son to save them (John 1:4, 5, 9–12; 3:16; Matt. 9:13).

But when the light comes and men choose darkness instead, they stand self-condemned before God (John 3:19), and “there remaineth no more sacrifice for [their] sins” (Heb. 10:26; James 4:17). That’s when the unforgivable sin starts to take place. But those that feel convicted of sin and have the desire to repent have not committed the unpardonable sin.

If you slip while struggling to overcome sin, you can claim the following promise and be confident that the Lord will not just forgive you but also heal you and give you 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).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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