"I am terrified that I have committed the unpardonable sin..."

Posted: Aug 28/2K

Somebody wrote in a while back:

I was ordained a Deacon in my Church about 1 year ago, by God's Grace and the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Before I was ordained however, I had doubts about whether or not this was God's will. As a friend praised and encouraged me not to doubt and to rejoice, I made a very serious error in judgment and, in an attempt to be humble and ward off the praise I was receiving from him I said, My friend it is not God who is urging me to be a deacon but S---n (the enemy of God), so that I would fall into the sin of pride or take on something I was not ready."  I have confessed this sin to God privately and in the presence of my priest and to the friend who heard this. However, to this day I am terrified that what I had done may be unforgivable.  I have no excuse for saying something this stupid except that I did not intend any malice against God-  I was simply trying to be humble-  Yet my stupid words seem to have attributed the Spirit's work to His enemy- as the Pharisees did.  Is this not the unforgivable sin.???  I am terrified.

I replied:

I personally believe that the unpardonable sin is very, very unlikely to even exist anymore...

As far as I can tell, to commit it:

  1. One had to ascribe the messianic signs of Jesus (healings as proof of His messiahship) to Satan, making Jesus to be a false-messiah

  2. One had also to KNOW BETTER--the Pharisees knew Jesus was the Messiah, but responded in 'envy' (which requires knowledge of His royal status). cf. the parable of the Vine-Growers (esp. Lk 20.14--they KNEW He was the heir) and even Pilate knew this--Mrk 15.10.

  3. There also might be an element of deliberately trying to influence people AWAY from Jesus by their remarks, as was the case then.

  4. Their remark was a decidedly anti-Jesus polemic, and was not in any way followed by a repentant heart.

If my understanding is correct, then you would not have fulfilled ANY of the three above, much less all three of them...

  1. You certainly were not implying that Jesus was a satanic false-messiah (!);

  2. You certainly were not lying when you merely speculated or voiced some ambiguity about the deal;

  3. You certainly were not trying to dissuade anyone from accepting Jesus...

  4. You certainly had a repentant and concerned (i.e. unhardened) heart about the deal.

You see, it is not the mere words that count--and even there, you probably did not use the precise word-formula they did--but the overall historical significance of the phrase (in other words, what did that accusation MEAN in that 1st century Jewish context) is what is the main issue...

So, just based on your testimony---and based on the passage--I cannot find a way to make your simple slip into something as theologically significant as the harsh accusations of the 1st century enemies of Jesus.

I hope this helps, friend,


[See also further discussion on this topic at Isn't Jesus admitting that the Unpardonable sin could be committed today?]


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