Mark 3:28-30 (NIV): “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”
People could (and did!) say anything about Jesus they wanted to, and He usually just let it roll right off. His critics believed that he was just a man, and were judging Him as a man because they were blinded by the enemy so that they couldn’t recognize who He really was. That sin could sometimes be recognized given more information. It could be confessed and repented of, and God would forgive them.
But there was a much deeper issue in many of Jesus’ critics that was surfacing in this event. The critics themselves had grown so far from God, had allowed such hardness to settle into their hearts, that they could no longer differentiate between God’s Holy Spirit and the spirit of a demon! There was nothing in them that resonated with God’s Spirit, that would help them to recognize the holiness of what was going on in and through Jesus. They could clearly see amazing healings taking place right before their eyes; they could see demons being cast out; they could hear Jesus teaching like no one else; and after all of that, they could still believe that the power operating in and through Jesus was demonic in nature.
At this point, the sin of those teachers of the law was unforgivable. It was unforgivable because it was a sign that their hearts had grown so hard and cold and distant from God that they would never feel guilt or remorse, so they would never repent. It was unforgivable because they had grown so corrupt that they called the Holy Spirit an unclean, evil thing, and His works unclean and evil as well. They had become so self-righteous that they could no longer recognize real righteousness when it was standing mere feet in front of them. They had blinded themselves and plugged their ears so that God’s call to them could no longer be heard (cf. John 12:37-41).
Many today focus on the “unforgivable sin” as if it was a single action that would condemn them forever. But the eternal sin has at its core a hard, stony, cold heart that refuses to bow to God’s will. A heart so cold that it sees God and His work as evil. When a person has fallen to that level, they will never be forgiven because they will never admit their sin, will never repent, will never ASK for forgiveness.
Father, help us to always keep our eyes and our ears open to You every moment. Keep our hearts soft and responsive to You and Your leading. Help us to never grow self-righteous, but to always look to Your righteousness in us. If we stay that close to you always, we will never have to worry about the “unforgiveable sin.” Amen.