If you spend time in OCD groups or forums, eventually you’ll come across someone who brings up the unpardonable sin. Sooner rather than later, most likely. Usually they’re worried they’ve committed it or will commit it unknowingly. That constant worry is a big sign of Scrupulosity/Religious OCD and a major area for contention amongst sufferers.
What even is the unpardonable sin? How do I know if I’ve committed it? The possible questions that come up are numerous and it breaks my heart every time I see them.
I heard Bible teacher Stephen Armstrong discuss this hot topic just today while listening to his Matthew series. Those unfamiliar with him, before he passed away he was with Verse by Verse Ministries which goes through the Bible explaining it just a few verses at a time. He explains the context, setting, world events, and culture of the time, along with the meaning of the verses.
I suggest listening to what he has to say about the unpardonable sin and how he has to say it:
To summarize though, no one can commit the unpardonable sin that’s alive today. In Verse 31 Jesus says that every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven. When Jesus refers to Blasphemy of the Spirit, he is referring to what is happening right then and there in that present time. The Pharisees have been witness to Jesus’s Messianic miracles and have just accused him of being in league with the devil (Beelzebul), in verse 24. The power of the Holy Spirit that He used to cast out demons, they’ve just assigned demonic power to, in order to deny and denounce Him as God. Never again can anyone be witness to Jesus being alive and performing Messianic miracles, and accusing Him of being in league with Satan. It was a generational unforgivable sin of the people of that time.
Stephen explains this is the meaning behind the oft debated unpardonable sin Jesus mentions in verse 31, just after stating that literally everything can be forgiven.
He does a much better job explaining the entire theology.
The interesting thing is, if you do a quick Google search on the unforgivable or unpardonable sin, you’ll get all sorts of results that lead to incorrect interpretations and opinions. The Bible itself reassures us that in fact all sins are forgiven.
Romans 8:1 states, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
I felt compelled to share what I learned today. I have seen so many people struggle with the torment of this one issue. Over and over.
Personally, I found the deeper I dive into the Bible and the closer I walk with Jesus in a relationship, the less my own Scrupulosity/Religious OCD is an issue. I still do occasionally get hit by thoughts that I’ve done something wrong and the compulsion to pray, but it’s not the daily torment it once was.
I pray for those I see, daily, who give up on God and Jesus, thinking turning their backs will make the symptoms go away. I propose that moving closer to God is the answer, not running the other way. Plus treatment – God gave us the blessing of trained professionals and medicines that can help.
I hope you at least found this information nugget interesting. You never know when someone you know may mention such a thing in the future, hopefully you’ll remember enough to assure them that God does indeed forgive everything – they are not condemned.