“There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you deliberately persist in your slanders against God’s Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives. (THE MESSAGE)
Followers of Jesus can so often carry a great load of guilt even as they have supposedly embraced the good news of mercy and forgiveness. It seems we might believe Jesus forgives us but we cannot forgive ourselves.
A particular version of this is when we reckon we have committed the so called unforgivable sin. We tend to think this is an especially wicked act which is beyond the pale. But it is nothing of the sort.
This paraphrase helpfully clarifies the issue. In short, the only unforgivable sin is that which denies the truth about Jesus and his offer of forgiveness. The only unforgivable sin is to reject the only offer we have of forgiveness. And even then, such rejection has to persist till we draw our last breath. Death bed conversion is still possible.
To think otherwise is to imagine that Jesus’ death on the cross had some fine print attached to it. Some obscure clause that said certain specially bad things are not covered. It is not so. His death covers it all. But logically it does us no good unless we embrace our need of it and trust that it “works. If we are worried about having committed the unforgivable sin, we haven’t actually committed it. Our spiritual consciences are still active.
So that is one less thing we have to feel guilty about!
Support Your Hope 103.2
There is hope for a better day tomorrow, for a better future for your family, your friends, your neighbourhood. Hope for a world in which love overcomes fear – and people are not divided but instead unite.