Dr. Ronnie W. Wolfe – Matthew 12:31-32 – September 1, 2013 PM
I. WRONG DEFINITIONS FOR THIS SIN
A. See also Mark 3:29
B. Ritschl teaches that any sin that comes short of rejection of Christ is ignorance rather than sin.
1. This makes the sin against the Holy Spirit the only real sin.
2. It also makes the sin against the Holy Spirit to be the rejection of Christ, which it is not.
C. A. H. Strong teaches that “There is much incipient hardening of the heart that precedes the sin of final obduracy. . . . a result of continuance in wrong doing, with consequent hardening of the whole moral nature.”
1. Strong goes so far as to say that the “heart is radically and finally set against God that no power which God can consistently use will ever save it . . . . This sin, therefore, can be only the culmination of a long course of self-hardening and self-depraving."
2. Depravity is already total, so man needs no “self-depraving.”
3. Strong goes on and says, “The sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven, simply because the soul that has committed it has ceased to be receptive of divine influences, even when those influences are exerted in the utmost strength, which God has seen fit to employ in his spiritual administration.” (Pg. 651).
4. Strong uses expressions such as
a. Loss of spiritual sight
b. Loss of religious sensibility
c. Loss of sensitiveness
d. Loss of power to will the good
5. But we have already lost all of this, else salvation is not by grace.
D. Weismann in his “Heredity” says, “If a man should put out his eyes, he could not see; nothing could make him see. So if a man should by obstinate wickedness destroy his power to believe in God’s forgiveness, he would be in a hopeless state. Though God would still be gracious, the man could not see it, and so he could not take God’s forgiveness to himself.”
1. If this were true, then the more a man sins, the more likely it is that he will not receive forgiveness.
2. The sins of Saul of Tarsus teach us that this is not true, for he called himself the chief of sinners.
II. CORRECT DEFINITION FOR THIS SIN
A. John Gill on Matthew 12:31 – “by which is meant, not every ignorant denial of, and opposition to his deity and personality; nor all resistance of him in the external ministry of the word; nor every sin that is knowingly and willfully committed; but it is a despitefull usage of the Spirit of grace, an opposing, contradicting, and denying the operations wrought, or doctrines revealed by him, against a man's own light and conscience, out of willful and obstinate malice, on purpose to lessen the glory of God, and gratify his own lusts: such was the sin of the Scribes and Pharisees; who, though they knew the miracles of Christ were wrought by the Spirit of God, yet maliciously and obstinately imputed them to the devil, with a view to obscure the glory of Christ, and indulge their own wicked passions and resentments against him; which sin was unpardonable at that present time, as well as under that dispensation then to come, when the Spirit of God was poured down in a more plenteous manner.”
B. Dr. J. P. Thompson has an imperfect definition when he says, as quoted by A. H. Strong (pg. 651), “The unpardonable sin is the knowing, willful, persistent, contemptuous, malignant spurning of divine truth and grace, as manifested to the soul by the convincing and illuminating power of the Holy Ghost.”
1. I say it is imperfect, because it implies that, when a person is convinced by the Holy Spirit of his sin, he can resist God’s grace.
2. But the Bible teaches us that the grace of God in salvation is so loving, so gracious, so irresistible and so binding and convincing that no one could nor would he resist it, since the will of the person receiving the divine grace is relieved and grateful for that grace that draws him away from the clutches of his own sin and acquiesces to that grace with ultimate pleasure and willingness.
3. Just as if you were drowning in the ocean and going down for the last time, and someone throws you a lifeline. Your instincts tell you, without casual and determinate deliberation in your mind, and without resistance, that you must take hold of the lifeline to be saved. So, when the grace of God comes upon a person, he reaches out to God's salvation with desperation, knowing that, without it, he will die in his sins. There is no resisting of God's grace here.
III. EXPLANATION OF THIS SIN
A. It Is A Sin Against Only The Holy Spirit.
1. Against Jesus – Matt 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
2. All manner of sin – Matt 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
B. It Is An Active Sin
1. This is not a sin of ignorance or a sin of omission; it is a very positive, active, and purposeful sin.
2. This is a sin that is committed out of hate and jealousy.
C. It Is A Jewish Sin
1. This was a part of finishing the Jewish transgression – Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression,
2. “The transgression” is Israel's complete rejection of Jesus as Messiah.
3. The final stroke of that transgression was the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross.
4. Part of this rejection was to misrepresent the Messiah.
5. To know that he was the Messiah by every logical proof, to know his Messiah-ship by the reading of the Jewish Scriptures, to understand by his signs, wonders, and his fulfillment of prophecy and then to credit the devil with the work that Jesus did is part of the great transgression in its completion.
6. Perhaps David was speaking of this sin when he wrote in Psalm 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. John Gill thinks so, and so do I.
7. John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own (people) received him not.
D. It Is A Sin For A Special Time
1. This is a sin that could be committed only when Jesus was on the earth, for he was being manifested at that time as the Messiah of God, the Savior of men, and as the King of the Jews.
2. During the manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah, he did many miracles. Among them was the miracle of casting out devils.
a. Matt 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
3. Jesus was rejected at the time he was showing himself to the world as the Son of God, the Servant of God, the Savior of man, and as the Son of Man.
E. It Is A Sin Committed By A Group, Not An Individual
1. Notice that it was the body of the Pharisees and the scribes who gave credit to Satan for the work of the Holy Spirit, thus blaspheming and sinning directly against the work of the Holy Spirit.
2. The Pharisees rejected him as the Messiah and credited Satan for casting out the devils.
a. Matt 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
3. The scribes did the same.
a. Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
4. However, the condemnation is to everyone in that group who commits that sin.
a. Mark 3:29-30 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.
F. It Is The Only Sin That Has No Forgiveness
1. We have already noticed, Matt 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
2. It shall not be forgiven in this life nor the life to come.
3. The last part of Matt. 12:32 says, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
4. All sin is forgiven in his world. There are no second chances in the world to come.
5. The world to come is mentioned due to the fact that some religions allow for that possibility.
6. So, if this sin is not forgiven in this world, then we know that it cannot be forgiven in the world to come–that is logical and scriptural
7. Rev 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
G. It Is A Sin Of Unforgiveness By God's Prerogative
1. Notice that it does not say that the sin CANNOT be forgiven in this world nor the world to come, but that it SHALL NOT be forgiven in this world nor the world to come.
2. That means that God has willfully purposed that he will not forgive this sin; it is not that he cannot but that he will not. It is his prerogative.
IV. IMPLICATION OF THIS SIN
A. The question is most usually asked, “Can anyone commit this sin today?”
1. This sin, as already described, was for the time of the revealing of Jesus as the Messiah, upon his casting out devils by God’s authority, and by the Jews as they finished their great transgression.
2. Therefore, no one commits this sin today.
B. Therefore, all sins today can be forgiven.
C. How are sins forgiven?
1. By Grace – Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
2. By Repentance –
a. Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
b. Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
3. By Faith – Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: