The Unpardonable Sin

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:30-32)

Many examples in both the Old and New Testament indicate that the Holy Spirit will bestow or withdraw blessing according to whether or not He is pleased by the situation He sees. It is noteworthy that Jesus was completely without sin and the “Holy Spirit” remained. “And John bore witness saying, ‘I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.” (John 1:32) He remained on Christ without measure: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:34) In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came mightily upon Samson several times (Judges 13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14), but ultimately left him when he persisted in sin. “And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he woke from his sleep and said ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.’” (Judges 16:20). When the people of Israel rebelled and grieved the Holy Spirit He turned against them, “But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy.” (Isaiah 63:10).

Also in the New Testament the Holy Spirit can be grieved and cease to bring blessing in a situation. Stephen rebuked the Jewish leaders, saying: “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.” (Acts 7:51) Paul warns the Ephesians, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30) Paul also exhorts the Thessalonian church, “Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

Even more serious than grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit, there is a deeper, more hardened disobedience, which brings strong judgment; case in point, Ananias and Sapphira. Their failure of honesty and lying to God the Holy Spirit brought their demise. (Acts 5:1-10).

Finally, there remains one more level of offense against the Holy Spirit. This kind of offense is even more serious than grieving Him or acting with the hardened disobedience to Him that brings discipline or judgment. It is possible to offend the Holy Spirit that His convicting work will not be brought to bear again in a person’s life.

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31,32)

To appreciate, fully, the words of Jesus, we must understand the background of the occasion.

The Pharisees expressed their hatred and animosity toward Jesus by accusing Him of being in league with the devil. The Pharisees attributed His miracles (healing the blind and deaf) to Beelzebub, the prince of demons. Their hatred was so intense that they considered Jesus an accomplice of not just demons but of the prince of darkness himself. In other words, Satan was being credited for the work done by the Holy Spirit.

They refused to acknowledge Jesus’ deity. They saw only the Son of man, not the Son of God. They did not see God the Son, the Creator of all things, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4) In revealing His relationship with the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:13-15) We can know the Son of God only through the Holy Spirit who has revealed Christ throughout all ages.

“Jesus Christ frequently spoke of Himself as the ‘Son of Man.’ These two verses (Matthew 12:31, 32) emphasize the dual nature of Christ. Spiteful words aimed at His humanity – the Son of God – are forgivable. Those directed at the Spirit of God working in or through Him are not forgivable. This is the only unforgivable sin mentioned in the Bible. Since the Father gave Jesus the Holy Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34), it was indistinguishable from His divine nature as the Son of God. Thus, the Spirit of God is called the Spirit of Christ (see, e.g., Rom. 8:9; 1 Pet. 1:11). A rejection of the Spirit of God is, therefore, a rejection of Christ’s deity.

According to verse 31, any sin or blasphemy against the Son of Man can be forgiven. Even on the cross, Jesus asked His Father to forgive those crucifying Him. But blasphemy against the One who reveals the truth about Christ cannot be forgiven. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come, ‘He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment’ (John 16:8). The one who irrevocably rejects this conviction has no recourse: It ‘shall absolutely not be forgiven him.’” (World Class Greek Scholar Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, pg. 156. 157)


We must be very careful not to grieve or offend the Holy Spirit. He will not force Himself on us against our wills, but if we resist and quench and oppose Him, then his empowering will depart and He will remove much of the blessing of God from our lives. Therefore, it is imperative to depend and recognize the Holy Spirit’s power throughout our Christian journey, daily. “Then he answered and said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.’” (Zechariah 4:6) Our Christian walk is according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:12-16; Gal. 5:16-26), and our minds on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:4-6). Our ministry, whatever form it may take, is to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rejoice in the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21). Love in the Holy Spirit (Col. 1:8). Pray in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:20; Jude 20). Let us, therefore, be consciously aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence and blessing.

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2 Responses to “HOLY SPIRIT”

  1. gisala manca Says:

    COCHISE i always have that question,, i never really knew how one sins agaist the holy spirit , i sometimes feare that since i am a sinner i probably sinned againts it and worried a lot i still do i am afraid that i sometimes do . but the pharises did not acept that jesus was from god and i think that is sinning against the holy spirit , is it? they didnot believe him to have his Father spirit

    • thebiblevsthewatchtower Says:

      Hello Gisala … Your concern is proof positive of humility, unlike those in danger of the eternal sin (haughty and proud, and unwilling to repent). Those opposing the Holy Spirit’s power (His conviction of our sin, and our need to repent), bring themselves in harms way, and ultimately, will not accept Christ as their Savior to receive salvation.

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