By Heath Rogers
We can appreciate the above question when we remember that it is the practice of many people, either consciously or unconsciously, to categorize sins. Sins like murder and adultery are considered worse than the sin of telling a white lie. A person’s willingness to forgive the sins of another often depends upon a number of things (who committed the sin, what sin he committed, against whom he sinned, etc.). If this is true of man, could it be true of God? These facts show that such a question is asked because someone is trying to impose our standards and limitations upon God.
Does the Bible reveal any limits of God’s willingness or ability to forgive sins? The apostle John wrote, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9; emphasis mine – HR). “All” means everything. While our willingness to forgive may have limits, God’s does not. The only sins that God will not forgive are the ones that we refuse to confess and repent of (see Acts 8:22).
Let’s go back to the idea of listing and categorizing sins. Do you think there are some sins that are so bad that God will not forgive them? If so, what kinds of sins would be on that list? Think about it – then consider this statement made to the Corinthian church by the apostle Paul:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Were any of your sins in this list? The Corinthians had committed these sins, but the Bible makes it clear that they were forgiven.
What about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32). Some people read this verse and become terrified that they have, in their ignorance, committed the unforgivable sin and unwittingly doomed their souls to eternal destruction.
Jesus spoke this warning after being accused of casting out demons by the power of the devil. Jesus was saying that His enemies could reject Him and His preaching and there would still be another opportunity to hear and be saved. However, if they rejected the words of the Spirit there would not be another opportunity to hear. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the rejection of the Spirit’s message—the inspired word of God (John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:11-13).
There is no greater blessing than knowing that our sins have been forgiven by God (Psalm 32:1-2). True peace is found when the burden of guilt is lifted from our hearts, knowing that God has given us an opportunity to start over again. Perhaps you need God’s forgiveness. The gospel is extended to all who will come unto Christ in faithful and humble obedience (Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 22:17). Please contact us if we can help you in your response to the gospel.