CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 1, 2023 – The thought of committing the unpardonable sin scares the you-know-what out of some people.
And so it should.
If it doesn’t scare the you-know-what out of you, you’re not paying close enough attention. You don’t fully understand the consequences of committing it.
So just what is the unpardonable sin?
It differs for everyone, which is why it’s not fully defined in scripture. The unpardonable nature of the sin depends on the circumstances in which its committed and on the individual committing it. But for us born-again believers, the common features of the circumstances around the unpardonable sin are the same, which are:
1) having a close relationship with God through genuine spiritual rebirth, which means you have God’s Holy Spirit with you 24/7.
2) sinning (or constantly thinking about sinning).
3) refusing to back down from the sin or from thinking about committing the sin, even after God warns you about what will happen if you refuse to back down.
God loves us unconditionally, which is why he gives us plenty of warning and time to repent. But if even after his clear and unmistakable warnings you still choose not to repent, he has no choice but to follow through. “Following through” means he removes his grace and his Holy Spirit leaves you. You become from that point onward prey for demons and other unholy beings. You no longer have any godly protection – not from your guardian angels, who watched over you prior to your conversion, nor from God’s Holy Spirit, who was with you night and day from the instant of your rebirth. There is no chance, once you lose God’s grace, to get it back: It’s a one-time deal, and once it’s gone, that’s the end of it for you spiritually and physically.
This is what happened to all the fallen entities who were removed from Heaven permanently. No matter how much they petitioned God for mercy after the fact, there was no going back to Heaven for them. This is also what happened to Judas Iscariot, who, as a disciple of Jesus, had been protected by God’s Holy Spirit and enabled to preach the Word and perform miracles. Judas’s betrayal of Jesus was his unpardonable sin. There was no second chance at redemption for Judas, no matter how hard he repented or prayed to God after the fact.
Those who once claim to know God but then turn from him to sign on with the devil or other fallen entities also commit the unpardonable sin. These contracts, sadly, are very real and are made every day all over the world. Once the contract is enacted, there is no coming back from it. The person is under Satan’s protection for the rest of their time on Earth, but after death, he/she ends up first in Hell and then in the lake of fire, like Satan and all the fallen beings.
Some sign on with the devil thinking it’s a joke; these people are still salvageable. Signing on with the devil isn’t the unpardonable sin for these people because they don’t (yet) know God and so they sign on with the devil without having full knowledge of the consequences. God knows the difference between those who consciously and with full intent turn against him and throw their lot in with Satan, and those who don’t really believe in anything and just sign the devil’s contract for a lark. By “salvageable”, I mean that these people, even after signing the devil’s contract, still have a chance at rebirth and salvation. But if they are eventually reborn, they will lose everything (except their soul) in the process. That is, they will lose whatever Satan had given them, which is usually power, wealth, fame, and fortune.
The book of Revelation mentions the mark of the beast and plainly states that those who receive it are beyond redemption. In other words, bearing the beast’s mark is a sign that you have committed the unforgiveable sin and are under the protection of the devil.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the man who was “swept clean” of demons, but who then starts to sin again and so all his former demons and then some come back to torment him. Jesus tells us that this man’s end was worse than his beginning, meaning he has no chance of being swept clean again. To die after losing God’s grace is far worse than to die never having received it. The eternal punishment for such a backslider is much more severe.
You can see from the above that the unpardonable sin differs according to circumstances and to individuals. Even so, the common element is ignoring God’s warnings before willingly and with full intent choosing sin.
There’s a common belief among some Christians that God, being “all-merciful”, will ultimately forgive Judas and those like him, including the fallen angels. We must never allow ourselves to believe such a diabolical lie. Yes, God is all-merciful, but he’s also all-just. What Judas did to Jesus was the worst possible thing he could have done as his disciple, short of hammering the nails into Jesus himself.
Judas ignored the very pointed, very clear, and unmistakeable warning given to him by Jesus during the Passover meal. Jesus stated that his betrayer was among them, and that it would be better for his betrayer if he had not been born. When Judas asked Jesus if he (Judas) was the betrayer, Jesus responded with “thou has said”. It’s like they were speaking between the lines, sub rosa, having a private conversation that only they two could understand. Again, Jesus couldn’t have made his warning more explicit to Judas, but Judas still went on to betray him. Consciously, and with full knowledge of the consequences, Judas chose to sin. Even after being pointedly and repeatedly warned, he chose sin.
So again, the unforgivable sin is as varied as there are sinners, but the core of the sin is willful, intentional, and conscious disobedience to God by someone in a state of grace, even after being pointedly and repeatedly warned of the unavoidable consequence of eternal damnation that is the reward for such disobedience. This is the unforgiveable and unpardonable sin that no sacrifice can atone for and that blasphemes the Holy Spirit that is protecting the reborn soul.
I know this from personal experience, because I received such a warning from God years ago, when I was a relatively young believer (young in spiritual age, not earthly years). I was about to do something I actually thought was a good thing, not a sin at all. (Just like, I suspect, Judas thought that what he was doing was a good thing for the Jewish religion.) God’s warning stopped me in my tracks and I backed off from doing what I’d planned. Thank God for God’s warning. I would be in hell now without it.
Scripture says that God wants us all to come to knowledge of him and of his salvation. He doesn’t want to lose any of us. But he also wants us to come to him of our own free will and to stay with him of our own free will. He doesn’t want slaves or robots; he wants loving children. So if we wander too close to the edge of a spiritual cliff, God will warn us loud and clear. And he won’t just warn us once, he’ll warn us repeatedly, ever louder and more urgently, until we either retreat to spiritual safety, or unequivocally with full intent and knowing the consequences choose sin.
May you never choose sin. May you always, upon first warning, immediately and with open arms run straight back to God.