The Unpardonable Sin
What is it? Am I doing it?

Larry asks: I am truly searching Gods word. I have tried to research my question but can not get a real answer. Here is my question. The bible says God will turn someone over to a reprobate mind. Also, we have the unpardonable sin. Do these two go hand in hand. Is the unpardonable sin the point God turns someone over to a reprobate mind or could say continuous sin turn be reason enough for God to turn them over to a reprobate mind. At what point would God turn someone over a reprobate mind. What sins would cause this? This is part of a topic of a mens bible class I will lead next wed. I really appreciate any help. I guess it seems like I am taking a short cut here, however I have done a ton of searching and no real answer yet. Even if you could expand on this topic I would appreciate any direction. I know specific questions will be raised and I thank you for your help. Larry Teaching and witnessing purpose.
Question about Right and Wrong in the Bible: The unpardonable sin
Motivation - Curiosity: General interest
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 101, Thursday, 10-May-2012]

At this point I am 65 years old. Over the course of a lifetime I have experienced many ups and downs. When God saved me it was an amazing, exhilarating victory. When my wife died of cancer, it was a crushing, agonizing defeat. Unless you are very young, you have had similar experiences. If you happen to be very young, you have only to wait and they will come (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The Bible follows the same up-and-down pattern as everyday life. On one hand we read magnificent promises of love and hope. By simple faith (belief), nothing more and nothing less, God promises eternal life:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
- John 3:16 [NASB]

On the other hand we read frightful passages about judgement and condemnation. By deliberately denying and ignoring God, God judges certain people and allows their minds to degenerate:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper
- Romans 1:28 [NASB]

It is scary, but the ups-and-downs of Scripture reflect life as we know it. No other book does that like the Bible does it. This is one of the reasons I believe the Bible is fully true and fully reliable.

I am not an expert (to be sure!) on world religions. The way I understand it, Buddhism emphasizes love, peace, and happiness, while Islam delivers requirements, demands and punishments. The Bible presents both at once: God is loving and full of grace; He is also righteous and full of justice. The Bible explains our actual experiences of life on earth. Please read our article on the reliability and viability of the Holy Scriptures:

- The Bible: Is it a Pack of Lies?

What is the Unpardonable Sin?

A definition of the so-called unpardonable sin appears in three of the four Gospel books of the New Testament. It appears in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and it is defined as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:

Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin
- Mark 3:28 [NASB]

Noted Anglican theologian Graham Cole explains it as:

Blasphemy against the Spirit is that self-righteous persistent refusal to embrace the offer of salvation in Christ: his ministry of restoring his Father's broken creation. It is to set one's face against the Spirit's testimony to Christ as the Son of Man with the authority to forgive sins. The problem is the human heart settled in opposition to God. Without repentance there is no forgiveness.

AFTB thanks Dr. Cole for allowing us to use his precise and revealing definition. By continually refusing to hear, accept, and respond to the direct leading of the Holy Spirit, we condemn ourselves to separation from God forever. This is the sad, but true, state of affairs in many (actually most) people's lives we see today. Dr. Charles Stanley further enhances Dr. Cole's assertions by noting that the unpardonable sin is more an unpardonable state of human life, a state of continual and self-willed rejection of the Gospel message. Don't let that be you!

A Comforting Answer - One comforting answer often offered about the unpardonable sin is this: if you are worried about it, you have not done it! A conscience tender toward God where sin, any sin, produces a nagging feeling of uneasiness is, by its very nature, compliant to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Such an anxious believer is not resisting the Holy Spirit, he or she is actually embracing Him. The warnings of the Scriptural passages about the unpardonable sin are warnings, plain and simple, to help a new or drifting believer move to the right track. A good example of such a warning, as underscored by Dr. Cole, is the warning Paul gave to the sure-to-be-shipwrecked passengers and crew of the boat in Acts 27. God used the warning, and all were saved.

What It Isn't - The unpardonable sin is not experiencing doubt. We all experience doubt from time to time, and the blood of Christ covers this lack of faith. Nor is the unpardonable sin backsliding, moving away from God, or getting angry with God about some dreadful circumstance. While it is true that anything we do or say apart from faith is sin (Romans 14:23), the confessing Christ-followers has an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, whose blood cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:9 and 1 John 2:1). Only a persistent state or self-directed, godless lifestyle focused against the gentle wooing of the Holy Spirit puts a person in jeopardy of losing his or her soul, and that only after God's unmatched long suffering expires (Psalms 85:15, 2 Peter 3:9). Of Jesus the prophet Isaiah says:

A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.
- Isaiah 42:3 [NASB]

If you are bruised, or if your flame is going out, the Lord is there, eager to restore you to full and abundant life upon your confession of faith. Call on Him. The Bible says He will answer.

Theology of the Unpardonable Sin - There are a number of comprehensive theology web sites on the Internet. Precept Austin is a good one. We also like John MacArthur's Grace to You site, R. C. Sproul's Ligonier Ministries, and we are kinda partial to (.org, not .com). You can go to these and other web sites and find many twists and turns about the details of the unpardonable sin. They generally wrap around distinctions between Calvinistic and Arminian theological approaches. Calvinists argue for the eternal security of believers based on God's sovereign grace. Arminian theologians believe that true believers can be lost based on human free will. Both stances have biblical back-up. For most people, theological details are not as important as practical, every day application of Bible principles. For this reason the remainder of this article deals with the 'reprobate mind' passage which Larry brings up, and how it relates to the unpardonable sin.

In Exodus 5 Pharaoh commits the unpardonable sin by deliberate and continuous rejection of Moses' plea. The consequences are severe.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
- Galatians 6:7ff [NASB]

God is a God of order. He operates by laws and ordinances. There is a law in the Bible known as Sowing and Reaping which governs outcomes in the lives of all people. God has granted us the ability to choose our actions, but the consequences of those actions adhere to the Law of Sowing and Reaping.

As sure as God's law of Gravity holds the universe together, His Law of Sowing and Reaping creates results in our lives proportional to what we do. Galatians 6 (in the box above) presents the Law of Sowing and Reaping explicitly. In addition, time and time again in the Bible, we see the Law of Sowing and Reaping at work. When a farmer plants corn, he gets corn, not watermelons. If a man plants righteousness, he gets more righteousness. If he plants wickedness, he gets more wickedness. We do not need the Bible to tell us this because we see it every day. Instead we need the Bible to show us the invisible, spiritual engine that makes the Law of Sowing and Reaping work.

One of the best places to see the spiritual nature of the Law of Sowing and Reaping is in the first chapter of Romans, in the passage that Larry quotes. Here it is from the New American Standard Bible:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. (18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (21) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. (25) For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, (27) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper ...
- Romans 1:17ff [NASB]

In this passage the apostle Paul describes a slow but steady deterioration of a person's life as he or she persistently and selfishly rejects the light of the Holy Spirit, that is, as a person commits the unpardonable sin. The amount of spiritual light is small at first, coming from the magnificence of the creation as a witness to the existence of God. Rejecting this light, the offender reaps a darkened heart. The process continues and, after several stages and opportunities to change (2 Peter 3:9), finally ends with a depraved mind.:

Stage Verse Sow Reap
0 17 Living by faith Righteousness
1 18-21 Observing creation without acknowledging or thanking God Darkened heart
2 22-24 Professing wisdom while emphasizing nature and not supernatural (above nature) God Impure heart, dishonored body
3 25-27 Worshipping and serving idols Un-natural bodily passions
4 28ff Actively denying and ignoring God Depraved mind

Look at the nature of the progression above. Starting with mere indifference and lack of thankfulness, the offenses grow more and more severe and the resulting harvest is more and more degenerate. The process affects the heart first, then the body, and finally the mind. Unless God intervenes substantially and dramatically, as He did, for instance, with Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), there is less and less hope for the sinner. God is a gentleman. He will woo you and He will invite you, but He will not force Himself on you. He wants you to respond to His love.

What stage describes you? Hopefully you are at stage 0. How about the people you are praying for? Where do they stand in the progression of Romans 1? Hopefully they are in the early stages. Pray for them and talk to them accordingly.

Finally, look at the activity of God in this progression. God's hand is not mentioned in stage 1, but for stages 2 through 4 the Bible says explicitly that God gives them over, or surrenders them (Greek paradidomi) to their own desires. This is why it is important to stay tuned in to the Holy Spirit. Do not grieve Him. He loves you so much!

by Paul Richards

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 03:43:46 GMT, unknown: 642311 AB3yPq1.lsD6M