Lesson 24 – Holy Spirit and Unpardonable Sin

A pastor was approached by a young man who nervously asked, “May I talk with you privately?” The pastor learned that this young man feared he had committed the unpardonable sin. He wondered whether forgiveness was possible. Could he have gone beyond God’s mercy? This young man is not an isolated case. Many people are perplexed regarding this vital subject. What is the unpardonable sin? Will an individual know if and when they commit it? Why is it unforgivable? Is there a sin so great that even God Himself cannot forgive it?

If the unpardonable sin is the sin against the Holy Spirit, it is extremely important to understand how the Holy Spirit works on our hearts. This lesson will clearly reveal what the unpardonable sin is and how to avoid rejecting the claims of the Holy Spirit upon our lives.

1. How does Jesus describe the unpardonable sin? Matthew 12:31

Answer: The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven.

This is a fascinating Bible passage. The Pharisees attributed Jesus’ miracle working power to Beelzebub (another name for Satan) rather than God. Why did they do this? For one simple reason. If they accepted Christ’s miracles they must accept Him as divine. This would mean a dramatic change in their lives. The unpardonable sin is not a specific sin like adultery, murder, stealing, or cursing. Jesus clearly states “every sin” will be forgiven. The unpardonable sin is the refusal to accept Jesus for who He is, our loving, forgiving, life-changing Savior. As we shall discover in today’s lesson, it has to do with a hardened, unrepentant heart.

2. What conditions does God list for forgiveness? Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:9

Answer: Repent, and be baptized.

All sins that are repented of and confessed will be forgiven. The unpardonable sin is not a kind of sin. It is a degree of sin. The person refuses to repent. They close their mind to the influence of the Holy Spirit. The unpardonable sin is a state of open rebellion in which the promptings of the Holy Spirit are at first ignored, then resisted, and finally rejected totally until they are no longer perceived.

3. How does the Bible describe the personality of the Holy Spirit? John 16:7, 8

Answer: When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin.

The Bible calls the Holy Spirit our “Helper” (NKJV). In three places in this passage Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as “Him” or “He” with the third-person pronoun. The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead.

4. How does Jesus describe the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Godhead? Matthew 28:19

Answer: Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

5. What is the prime function of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit? John 16:8

Answer: When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin.

6. If sin is cherished and the prompting of the Spirit rejected, what ultimately occurs? Ephesians 4:30

Answer: Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are saved.

7. When had virtually a whole generation committed the unpardonable sin? Genesis 6:3-8

Answer: And God saw that the wickedness of man was great…and every imagination of the thoughts was only evil continually.

During the time of the Flood a whole generation rejected the pleading of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, there was nothing more God could do. After He appealed through Noah for 120 years and sent His Spirit in mighty power, men and women made their final, irrevocable decision. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. The Holy Spirit leads us to repentance and confession. Whenever we resist the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we are hardening our hearts. Whenever we refuse to surrender sin the Holy Spirit points out that we are hardening our hearts.

8. How was the Bible written? 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16

Answer: Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

9. What person of the Godhead leads us into the truths of God’s Word? John 16:13

Answer: When He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.

The Holy Spirit revealed the truth of the Scriptures to the Bible writers. The Holy Spirit leads us to understand these truths. It is extremely dangerous to reject any truth in God’s Word. To do so is to resist the Holy Spirit, who leads us into truth. Since the Bible was written by men and women under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to resist any clear teaching of the Bible is to harden the heart against the influence of God’s Spirit.

10. What attitude does God desire us to have as He reveals “new” light and truth to us? John 12:35

Answer: Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you.

The Holy Spirit has revealed many truths that are new to you in these lessons. He has led you to an understanding of the truth about salvation, the second coming of Christ, the Sabbath, the state of human beings in death, healthful living, baptism by immersion, God’s true church, and much, much more. It is no accident that you have studied these lessons. The Holy Spirit has drawn you. He has revealed truth to you. He has convicted you of these scriptural truths.

11. Whom is the fullness of the Holy Spirit promised to? Acts 5:32; John 14:15, 16

Answer: …to them that obey Him.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit is given especially to those who lovingly obey God.

12. What difference does the Holy Spirit make in our lives? Galatians 5:16, 22-26

Answer: …in the Spirit…ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh; produce the fruits of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit makes a dramatic difference in our lives. Through the Spirit we are convicted of sin and led into truth. The Spirit transforms our hearts, giving us a new desire to serve God. New power flows into our lives through the Spirit, and we are resurrected from spiritual death to spiritual life.

13. What does the Holy Spirit write in our hearts and minds? Hebrews 10:16

Answer: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.

14. What gracious invitation does the Holy Spirit give us? Revelation 22:17

Answer: And the spirit and the Bride say, come…whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The Holy Spirit invites us to give ourselves totally to God. He invites us to come with all of our guilt, our weakness, and our doubts. When we come, He promises to give us a fresh new start in a new life.

* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.