What is the Unpardonable Sin?

By COGwriter

Will all sins be forgiven? Can all sins be forgiven?

Because of Satanic deception (Revelation 12:9), human society being cut off from God (1 John 2:15-17; 2 Peter 1:4), and personal selfishness (James 1:14-15), all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

What is the unpardonable sin? Simply put, the unpardonable is a sin that will not be forgiven. The Bible makes clear that God is willing to forgive our sins if we confess them and repent of them (1 John 1:9). But what if that does not happen?

While the wages of sin is death in this life (Romans 6:23), there is a sin that leads to the final death:

16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. (1 John 5:16-17)

So, there is a sin that leads to death, while other sin does not. What specifically, one may ask, is the unpardonable sin that leads to death?

Some who fell away who have been associated with the Church of God and have made efforts to come back have wondered if they have committed the unpardonable sin.  Others have wondered if various sins that they committed in their lives can be forgiven. (Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son.)

A Concern Some Christians Have

From time to time I get emails from people who are concerned that they may have committed the unpardonable sin.

This is not a new concern.  Back in the Good News magazine in 1959, Al Portune of the old Radio Church of God wrote:

Fear of the Unpardonable Sin

   THE MOST destructive and terrifying thought that can enter a Christian's mind is the thought that he has been completely cut off from God by having committed the unpardonable sin.
   Think of it for a moment! How would it feel, after having known the depths of God's wisdom, after having seen the glorious reward of eternal life in God's very own family — as His Son — to live forever fulfilling His purpose throughout the endless reaches of the universe through joy and wisdom and service — having been glorified like Jesus Christ and made like Him — shining as the sun in its full strength (
Rev. 2:16), and then after having known all these things to realize you had LOST IT ALL through the commission of the unpardonable sin!

 

Cut Off from God FOREVER

   Think of what it would be like to be CUT OFF from God forever. Sin SEPARATES US FROM GOD (Isa. 59:1-2). The unpardonable sin cuts us off from God FOREVER. Cut off from God, He would never hear your voice again in prayer. No matter how long or how hard you prayed or cried out with tears, He would NEVER HEAR YOU AGAIN!
   The fear of having committed the unpardonable sin is very real. It is a fear that many of God's people have had. It is one of the most potent weapons of Satan the Devil, to make us believe we no longer have access to God — that we have been cut off forever.
   Fear of this kind can utterly destroy us, can throw us into such a fit of despair we no longer want to live. To a true Christian there is no life but service to God, and if one feels he has lost his connection with God, then there is nothing else left to live for. In this frame of mind, Satan can easily overpower us and destroy us, which is his goal.
   In order to be sure we do not fall into this destructive trap, we need to fully understand what the unpardonable sin is. We need to look into the Bible — the word of God — for the answer.

 

What Is the Unpardonable Sin?

   There is only ONE "unpardonable sin"! Let's notice WHAT it is. Jesus Christ said in Mark 3:28,

So let’s look at that:

28 "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;  29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"  (Mark 3:28-29, NKJV throughout unless in old quotes from Herbert Armstrong or otherwise specified)

Here some information that the late Herbert Armstrong wrote about this:

What Do You Mean - The Unpardonable Sin?

Herbert W Armstrong 1972

 

Can a Christian commit a SIN, AND STILL BE A CHRISTIAN? Or would this be "the unpardonable sin"? Or would it prove he never was a Christian? Thousands worry, because they do not UNDERSTAND what IS the sin that shall never be forgiven.

NOT SO LONG AGO, a professing Christian — a prominent churchman, of what denomination I never knew — was murdered for allegedly committing adultery. Many said, "That man was no Christian! No real Christian could ever commit adultery."

I never knew the man. I merely read of it in the newspapers. It is not for me to judge whether he had ever been really a Christian — or, for that matter, whether he was guilty of the alleged adultery.

But, as a hypothetical case, what if a professing Christian did commit adultery? Would that prove he never was a Christian? Or, suppose he had been a genuinely converted man, utterly sincere in his Christian life, and that he did commit the adultery. Could he still be a really converted Christian after committing the adultery? — or was the adultery, under those circumstances, "the unpardonable sin"? Would God forgive, on repentance?

THAT question I can answer!

Many Worry

Many have come to me, worried, and said: "I'm afraid I have committed the unpardonable sin."

I have replied, "You probably haven't."

But they will persist, "Yes, but I consented, in my mind, to commit that sin. Sure I was tempted — and I tried to resist it in my mind, but the more I resisted, the more I wanted to do it — until, finally, I just gave in, and consented in my mind, to do it. I did it knowingly. Wasn't that sinning willfully? Wasn't that the unpardonable sin?"

LET'S UNDERSTAND what is meant by sinning willfully, and by what is called "the unpardonable sin."

 

Many Deceived

Jesus Christ spoke of a certain special kind of SIN — popularly called "the unpardonable sin" — which "shall NOT be forgiven ... neither in this world, neither in the world to come" (Matt. 12: 31-32).

Is this sin committed only by converted Christians — or also by non-Christians?

Is every sin committed by a converted Christian unpardonable? Or can a Christian commit a sin, repent, be forgiven, and still remain a Christian?

First, we need to UNDERSTAND, more clearly than most do, what constitutes a Christian in God's sight — according to the BIBLE. I want to make PLAIN some factors you probably have never understood!

The Bible teaching does not altogether agree with the dictionary definition, nor with the popular idea that has gained general acceptance in the so-called Christian world.

Webster's Dictionary defines a Christian as: "One who believes, or professes or is assumed to believe, in Jesus Christ, and the truth taught by Him."

The BIBLE replies: "Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).

Today many professing Christians — and most of the "tracts" passed out purporting to show "sinners" how to "get saved" — how to become a Christian — quote one verse, Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Notice, this passage does NOT say, as they appear to ASSUME, "Believe ... and then thou ART ALREADY saved." It says "shall be" (FUTURE tense) saved. Assuredly this believing on Christ is necessary, yet other Biblical passages make plain that this IS NOT ALL that constitutes "being saved."

 

BELIEVERS Seek to Kill Jesus

In John 7:31, it is recorded: "And many of the people believed on Him ..." But were they really Christians? Notice, beginning with John 8:30: "As He spake these words, many believed on Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on Him, 'IF ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed ....'" But they did not actually BELIEVE HIM! They believed ON HIM — that He was a great teacher, as a man — they believed on the PERSON — like millions today. But they did not BELIEVE Him — did not believe what He said — His Message — His Gospel. To these same people, who "believed on Him," Jesus said, just a few verses farther on, "... but ye seek to kill me, because MY WORD hath no place in you ... But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God ... and if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?" (John 8:31-46.)

They "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ," just as these cheap tracts tell "sinners" to do to "be saved." Yet they tried to KILL the very Saviour they "BELIEVED ON." And they DID NOT BELIEVE HIM — did not believe what He said.
There is a DIFFERENCE between "believing ON Christ," and BELIEVING CHRIST! So here are two TRUTHS:

1) It may be hard to accept, but it's TRUE — millions who believe they are Christians actually are still unconverted, deceived, having accepted a false conversion!

2) MANY who, judged by this world's more popular "Christian" teachings, appear NOT to be Christians ARE, in actual fact, truly converted Christians IN GOD'S SIGHT! (What do you mean, the Unpardonable Sin)

 

The world does not realize how few real Christians that there are. 

It is better not to be called now than to turn against that calling. Notice:

20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:20-21)

The time will come that, "For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

Since God wants all saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and would not want humans to commit the unpardonable sin, this explains why only few are chosen in this age (Matthew 20:16) while nearly all others will be forgiven in the age to come (Matthew 12:32).  

This differs greatly from much of what passes for mainstream Christianity as the Catholics and Protestants normally teach that most who ever lived are such horrible people that God will torture them for all eternity.

Here is some of what Herbert Armstrong wrote about who real Christians are:

Just What IS a "Christian"?

   What, then, IS a true "conversion"? WHAT constitutes a real Christian in the sight of GOD?
   The WAY to become a Christian was given, in few words, on the very day that the New Testament Church of God began, by the apostle Peter. There were three steps. The first two, we humans must do. These do not "save" us, or make us Christians — they are merely required conditions. The third, GOD does.
   They are: 1) REPENT, 2) be baptized (which is the outward action testifying to inward FAITH in Christ as Saviour-
Acts 8:36-37), and 3) you shall receive THE GIFT of the HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 2:38).
   Now consider one additional Scripture: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have NOT the Spirit of Christ, HE IS NONE OF HIS (
Rom. 8:9).
   A Christian, then, (BIBLE DEFINITION) is one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells! The next (10th) verse speaks of the Holy Spirit of God dwelling IN you as CHRIST being in you — in this language: "And if Christ be in you ...."
   And the following (11th) shows how this will "save" — that is, give you the GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE — complete "salvation" — when it says: "But IF the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."
   This passage shows that the final salvation means being GIVEN ETERNAL LIFE at the time of, and through the resurrection. It says, of that final gift of being made IMMORTAL, "He ... shall also" (As He raised Christ by a resurrection) — and note that it is future tense — "quicken your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT which dwelleth in you."
   Notice carefully! It is the Holy Spirit of God "dwelling in you" at the time of the resurrection. Or, more specifically, at the end of this mortal life. IF the Holy Spirit of God is "dwelling in you" at that time, which is the time of the second coming of Christ, (or at the time of your death, whichever comes first), THEN your mortal body will be resurrected, or changed, to an immortal body — given ETERNAL life.
   As long as the Holy Spirit of God dwells IN YOU, you are Christ's — that is, you ARE A CHRISTIAN. But (verse 9 of Romans 8, quoted above), "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" — he is NOT a Christian.
   A Christian, then, in GOD'S terms, is one who has, at the moment, God's HOLY SPIRIT dwelling in him…

Just What IS Repentance?

 

   Repentance is a change of mind and ATTITUDE. It is a change from this carnal attitude of hostility toward God — of rebellion against God's Law, to the opposite attitude of love, submission, obedience, and worship of God, and reliance on Him. It is an "about-face" in attitude and intent, to THE WAY of God's righteousness.
   Repentance means that you come to really saw yourself as you ARE — as GOD sees you — as a self-centered, hostile, shrivelled-up, rotten, vile, filthy, sinning hulk of rotting human flesh, unworthy to breathe the free air God gives you! It means to be so SORRY, not only for what you have done, but also for WHAT YOU ARE — that you so ABHOR yourself that you come, emotionally broken up, throwing yourself on God's mercy, asking His forgiveness, and His redemption! It means wanting to be made righteous.
   To REPENT means a total change of ATTITUDE and HEART! A continuously repentant attitude! For God's Spirit will dwell only in such a mind!
   FAITH means to accept the living Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, RELYING on Him, in full confidence that HIS SACRIFICE of His very life for YOU is altogether sufficient to pay the penalty of your transgressions; relying on Him completely to save you from sinning, and to GIVE you righteousness and Eternal Life.
  When you receive God's Holy Spirit, you have received the very life of God. But that does not make you, as yet, an inheritor of eternal life. You are not yet immortal.
   You are then an HEIR of God — and a joint-heir with Christ. You are a BEGOTTEN child of God, not yet Spirit-BORN; that is, an heir, not yet a possessor or inheritor. Still mortal flesh and blood — not yet composed of spirit.
   But as long as God's Holy Spirit dwells in you (active, as described above), you remain an heir of God, later to inherit and share with Christ ALL that the heavenly Father has!

 

Given a New Nature

   Now we come to an ALL-important fact.
   God's Holy Spirit within you is the presence of a NEW NATURE — a DIFFERENT nature — you are now a partaker of the Divine NATURE (
II Peter 1:4). The nature that not only wants to BE GOOD — but wants to DO righteousness.
   But, mark this well! The reception of God's Divine NATURE within us DID NOT remove the old Human NATURE, with its pulls and temptations. Nor will the HUMAN nature be completely REMOVED until the resurrection, and change into SPIRIT COMPOSITION — until you are no longer composed of matter, but of spirit.

 

Many who profess Christ are not truly Christian, hence they have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit and committed the unpardonable sin (though some of their leaders might have).

Can Christians Sin and Not Have Committed the Unpardonable Sin?

Because of the apostasy that hit the old Worldwide Church of God after the death of Herbert Armstrong, people who stayed with the apostate group too long as well as others who left the Church of God entirely have wondered if they have committed the unpardonable sin.

No, if they have repented they have not. Sometimes God will allow them more time. Notice what Jesus taught:

"A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'" (Luke 13:6-9)

Jesus is teaching that while God make grant the unfruitful time to produce fruit (and this can apply to almost everyone), there are limits to the amount of time that will be granted. Do not remain unfruitful anymore.

Notice something else that Jesus taught:

42 And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:42-48).

Jesus is teaching that believers were subject to being treated as unbelievers and that those who had more given to them will be held to a higher standard than those that those who received less.

Some portions of scripture basically explain what the unpardonable sin is:

31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).

1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (Hebrews 2:1-4)

Notice that the only sin not to be forgiven in the age to come is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which seems further defined as knowing and willingly rejecting/neglecting the Holy Spirit which is received after repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38).

Those who never received God’s Holy Spirit as well as those who were deceived and departed from the COG but have repented of that have not committed the unpardonable sin.

However, the following in Hebrews concerns various ones:

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)

Now while this sounds very bad, some forget that the Bible teaches the following:

13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

Mercy is one of the weightier matters of the law (Mattand mercy will triumph over judgement.

Notice also some passages from the Book of Ezekiel:

20 "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die...(Ezekiel 3:20)

24 "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die. (Ezekiel 18:24)

The above seems to be consistent with the New Testament.

Basically, the historical position of the Church of God is that those who worry about committing the unpardonable sin, most likely have not committed it as the fact that they are concerned about it shows that they have not intentionally turned their backs on God and His ways.

That being said, those passages in Ezekiel and Hebrews basically negate the idea one should sin. Notice what Martin Luther promoted:

Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger...No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day" (Let Your Sins Be Strong: A Letter From Luther to Melanchthon Letter no. 99, 1 August 1521, From the Wartburg (Segment) Translated by Erika Bullmann Flores from: _Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften_ Dr, Johannes Georg Walch, Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15,cols. 2585-2590).

It is such willful and intentional disregard for the ways of God that one should fear to fall into.

Do Christians Sin?

But do Christians sin?

Of course.

Notice what the Apostle John was inspired to write:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

So Christians do sin and Christians should acknowledge and confess our sins before God.

Now I will add here that sin has a high cost, and adultery is devastating.  Although God forgave David for it, he had problems the rest of his days because of it. 

10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' 11 Thus says the Lord: 'Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.'"

13 So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord."

And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."  (2 Samuel 12:10-14)

All sin has a cost.

Here is some more from Herbert Armstrong and Christians sinning:

War Between TWO Natures

   Notice the apostle Paul's teaching to the Gentile converts of Galatia: "This I say, then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Gal. 5:16-17).
   In
Romans 8:14, it is written: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
   I want you to UNDERSTAND this!
   When one receives God's Spirit, it opens the MIND to spiritual comprehension — spiritual KNOWLEDGE. It shows him THE WAY to live — the way of GOD'S LAW. It opens the MIND to understand God's Word — and we must live by "every Word of God" — so said Jesus.
   God's Holy Spirit never possesses one — never forces one. It enlightens one's mind — LEADS in the right way. But the individual must make the decision, and exercise WILL, to go that way.
   Now to the Galatians, Paul wrote that when we "walk in the Spirit" — that is, are LED BY the Spirit, then "YE" — that is, YE CHRISTIANS — shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The sense, here, is that IF and when you — through lack of vigilance — relax and neglect to "walk in the Spirit," you may be caught off guard and yield to the PULL of human nature, still in you, and thus fulfill the lust of the flesh — commit a SIN!
   In other words, IF, as long as, and WHEN, you WALK in the Spirit, you will NOT commit sin. But, Paul continues: "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit" — and, as the RSV translates the rest of the sentence, "the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are OPPOSED to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would" (
Gal. 5:16-17).
   What you WOULD, what you really want to do, now that you have become spiritual minded, is to DO RIGHT — go the WAY of God's Law — be LED by God's Spirit. But is it easy?

 

Did Paul Sin?

   This leads us directly to the FIGHT to be obedient the apostle Paul experienced.
   After explaining that THE WAY of God's RIGHTEOUSNESS is THE WAY of God's Law, Paul was inspired to write: "What then shall we say? That the Law is sin?"
   When God inspired that question, He knew that multiple thousands of professing clergy of today's deceived "Christianity" would be saying that God's Law is EVIL — it is BAD — it is a yoke of BONDAGE — that it is bad for us — that Jesus "nailed it to His cross" — that that "terrible Law" is "done away." So God inspired the Answer: "By no means!"
   Read the question and answer again: "What then shall we say? That the Law is sin?" And GOD'S answer through Paul: "BY NO MEANS!" (
Romans 7:7 — RSV.) Continue, (Moffatt translation): "Why, had it not been for the Law, I would never have known what sin meant."
   In other words, the Law DEFINES SIN — the definition of SIN is, "Sin is the transgression of the Law" (
I John 3:4). God does not allow MAN to decide what is sin — but God compels man to decide whether to sin. Man could never know what is sin, except by God's Law.
   Continue: "Thus I would never have known what it is to covet, unless the Law had said, You must not covet."
   Paul says further, "Wherefore, the Law is HOLY, and the Commandment HOLY, and JUST, and GOOD ... For we know that the Law is spiritual" (
Rom. 7:12, 14).
   Yes indeed — it is a spiritual Law — a Law of SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES of living — the HOLY, GOOD, SPIRITUAL WAY OF LIFE! Yet God says the carnal mind hates it — is hostile to it, not subject to it (
Rom. 8:7). According to THAT inspired Word of GOD, a vast segment of the clergy of professing "Christianity" is CARNAL minded! Tragic, but true!
   Now notice that it is NOT EASY to GO that way! It requires struggle! And why? Because human nature pulls you the other way!
   Paul continues: "But then I am a creature of the flesh, in the thraldom {bondage} of sin. I cannot understand my own actions. I do not act as I desire to act; on the contrary, I do what I detest" (verses 14-15, Moffatt translation).
   Notice, Paul is not talking about how he formerly DID, before conversion. He is speaking in the PRESENT TENSE. He is telling us of the struggle against sin that even the apostle Paul experienced.
   Continue: "For in me (that is, in my flesh) no good dwells" (verse, 18). That is, in human nature.
   Psychiatrists today reason from the false approach that human nature is essentially good. God Almighty says it is NOT good, but essentially evil. The vanity in human nature wants to be thought of as good — would like to BE good, but not to DO good. Thus it is deceptive, deceitful. It "kids itself" — to use modern slang. God says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (
Jer. 17:9.) Yes, who can know — or UNDERSTAND it? Assuredly modern psychologists and psychiatrists don't!
   So Paul says that in him — in his human flesh — his human nature — no good dwells. The ONLY good that can be in us is CHRIST in us, by His Holy Spirit.

 

What Was This OTHER Law?

   So Paul continues: "... the wish is there, but not the power of doing what is right" (verse 18). Continue (Authorized Version), "For I delight in the Law of God."
   Paul had changed his mind — REPENTED. He had been converted — received God's Holy Spirit, was now SPIRITUAL MINDED. God's Law was in his mandate was now "the law of his mind" — He delighted in it — said it was holy, just and good — a spiritual Law. In his now-converted spiritual mind, he desired to DO good.
   So he said, "I delight in the Law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, WARRING against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (verses 22-23).
   What was this "another law in his members"? It is also called "the law of sin which is in my members." It is simply the HUMAN Nature that was still in him. It was warring against GOD'S LAW, which was now "the law of his mind." So Paul is describing his experience AFTER conversion — WHILE God's Holy Spirit was "dwelling in" him. And this other law, which was his human nature, was bringing him "into captivity" as its slave!

Paul Did EVIL??!!

   As explained in Galatians 5:16-17, human nature"the flesh" — lusted against God's Spirit in him — against God's Law in his mind, "so that ye cannot do the things that ye would," as he wrote in Galatians 5:17.
   It was thus with Peter. It was thus with Paul. And that is the way it is with YOU if God's Spirit dwells in you.
   Paul said, "... but the evil which I would not, that I do" (
Rom. 7:19).
   So what is Paul saying? He is saying that the PULL of human nature, warring against his converted spiritual mind, did cause him to sin!
   Do not blame me, because THAT IS WRITTEN IN YOUR BIBLE! Let's become undeceived, and UNDERSTAND the TRUTH as God inspired it!
   But there is a HAPPY ENDING to Paul's experience, after all. So let's make it PLAIN!
   After Paul recounted his problem, no wonder he exclaimed, "O wretched man that I am! WHO shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Verse 24.) The Moffatt translation is more clear: "Miserable wretch that I am! WHO will rescue me from this body of death?" And his answer: "GOD WILL!"

Notice that the Apostle Paul recognized his sins. If we are sorry for or sins and if we are determined to change, we have not committed the unpardonable sin.. But when one seals one's conscience to never repent, that one cannot be forgiven.

 

Herbert Armstrong continued with:

The Happy Solution

   Then follows the wonderful 8th chapter of Romans — the "Holy Spirit chapter."
   So now we come to the HAPPY solution!
   And this is the solution for YOU, also! For you, too, have the pull of human nature to fight.
   Plainly, Paul said that he did, at times, SIN — even in his converted state. He said, "... but the evil which I would not, that I DO." And he did do it consciously — knowingly! His mind, for the moment, did consent to it! He knowingly yielded! So knowingly that he wrote of it for you and me to read!
   But he did not sin wilfully! The evil he says he DID was "the evil which I would not" (
Rom. 7:19).
   His ATTITUDE — his overall INTENTION — was to do the RIGHT of God's Law. He said, verses 21-22 of Romans 7, Moffatt translation: "So this is my experience of the Law. I desire to do what is right, but WRONG is all that I can manage. I cordially agree with GOD'S LAW, so far as my inner self is concerned."
   He had NOT deliberately DESIRED to follow a life of evil — just the opposite! His overall DESIRE — his ATTITUDE — was to obey God's Law. Yet when the pull of human nature — in a single incident — overpowered him, he was aware of what he was doing in his mind — his mind therefore of necessity did, for the moment, consent and yield.
   But THAT WAS NOT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN! It was NOT sinning WILLFULLY! And it did NOT condemn him! Nor does such an experience, if truly repented of, condemn YOU. Paul continues:
   "There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus" (
Rom. 8:1). Here again, Moffatt renders it in more modern English: "Thus there is NO DOOM now for those who are in Christ Jesus; the law of the Spirit brings the LIFE which is IN Christ Jesus, and that law has set me free from the law of sin and death." …

 

Do Real Christians Ever Sin?

   NOW we approach our final answer.
   Suppose the prominent church member, mentioned in the beginning of this booklet, was actually a truly converted man, and that he actually did commit the alleged adultery. Could he still be a Christian? If GOD had been previously using him, could God still have used him, after the sin of adultery — if he had not been murdered?
   I was mentioning this hypothetical instance to a man who is a begotten son of God. His instant, rather emphatic ejaculation was that definitely he never could have been a truly converted man of God, IF he committed adultery.
   And I am led to believe perhaps MOST people would think the same way.
   BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG!

 

Yes, Even Ministers CAN Sin!

   We need to UNDERSTAND!
   Not only could a prominent churchman, under temptation, slip and commit a sin. But even Jesus Christ was tempted probably more strongly than any other human. He, of course, never let the temptation remain in His Mind — it never conceived or gave birth to sin.
   And we need to remember — even a minister of Jesus Christ — a true one whom the living Christ USES — is JUST AS HUMAN AS YOU ARE!
   First, too many people look on a minister as a holy, superhuman, saintly, super-righteous sort of person who is surely not HUMAN. They seem to think a minister is not like other humans — that he is automatically ABOVE SIN! This can get to be a sort of WORSHIP, of making your minister "another god BEFORE the Almighty GOD." That can become IDOLATRY!
   A minister has the same human nature YOU have — and I have shown you the apostle Paul had it, too! Surely NO minister today is any more righteous than was Paul — and he had a mighty BATTLE striving against sin!
   And if we battle against EVIL spirits in HIGH PLACES — Satan and demons of HIGH RANK, and GREAT POWER — just consider how much more the forces of Satan would try to overthrow a true minister of the living Christ!
   God's ministers probably have a far tougher struggle against sin than YOU do! They NEED your prayers!
   Now as I said in the beginning, I did not know this churchman who was murdered. It is not for me to judge whether he was sincere, whether actually a converted man.
   I do not know whether he actually committed the alleged adultery.
   But I do want to make one thing PLAIN.
   IF he were a converted man, with God's Holy Spirit dwelling in him — with an abiding overall ATTITUDE of delighting in God's Law, as did Paul, of obedience to GOD — and if he actually did slip, and under a temptation you and I may not understand, yield to this INCIDENT of adultery — then IF he truly repented of it, as soon as he came back to his right senses, God WOULD HAVE FORGIVEN!
   Assuredly it was possible that he could have continued as a real Christian. Jesus DIED to forgive and BLOT OUT sins REPENTED OF!
   Most assuredly no Christian SHOULD commit sin!
   And most assuredly no one teaches more emphatically than do the editors of The PLAIN TRUTH that Christians MUST KEEP GOD'S COMMANDMENTS! No one can say that we condone sin! NEVER!!!

 

Now UNDERSTAND!

   The apostle John had been three-and-a-half years with Jesus. He wrote under Jesus' inspiration. He said:
   "This then is the Message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you ..." (
I John 1:5). This is the inspired Message direct from Christ! Continue:
   "IF we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (verse 6). The "we" here refers to real Christians. In verse 19 of chapter 2 he speaks of NON-Christians: "THEY went out from us, but they were not of us." His language is plain.
   If WE profess to be Christians — if we SAY we have fellowship "with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (verse 3) — yet if we are living in darkness — if our lives are going the way of SIN — we are liars. He is not talking here of one who, under temptation, commits an act of sin, and then repents. He is talking directly of those followers of the FALSE PROPHETS who teach that GOD'S LAW is DONE AWAY. If you say you are a Christian because you BELIEVE IN CHRIST, or worship Christ — yet DO NOT KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, you WALK in "darkness." You then do NOT have any fellowship with Christ, and if you claim to be a Christian, you are a LIAR! (
I John 2:4.)

 

Difference Between an Act and an Attitude

   He is not talking about AN ACT of sin, repented of — but about an attitude and a life of continuously living in sin!
   We must, as a continuous WAY OF LIFE, "walk in the light" — that is, THE WAY of obeying God's Commandments. THEN "we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (verse 7). The word "cleanseth" here is from the original Greek word "katharizo" which is in the Greek present tense which denotes action or repeated in present time. It does not say, the blood of Christ "did cleanse us, when we were first converted." But, rather, does NOW cleanse us who were, in the past, converted.
   The following verses make this meaning clear. Notice verse 8:
   "If WE" (who are already Christians) "say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
   Here again, notice the tenses. John does not say, "If we Christians say we did not sin, before we were forgiven and converted." He is not talking about past sins, committed before repentance and conversion. THOSE sins God has forgiven in the past and no longer remembers. He is speaking here of the present. "If we, NOW, say that we NOW have no sin."
   Now continue, "If WE confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to CLEANSE US from all unrighteousness" (verse 9). This is speaking of any sins a Christian may commit, after he has been converted. IF we confess, and REPENT, Jesus, our High Priest, alive in heaven, will FORGIVE, and, more, CLEANSE us of all unrighteousness.
   What is "righteousness"?
Psalm 119:172 — keeping ALL God's Commandments. If WE, who are already Christians, confess and REPENT of any sin we might, unhappily, commit (though we certainly SHOULD NOT SIN!!), the living Christ not only will forgive, but will CLEANSE US from doing it anymore!
   Next verse: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us" (verse 10). In other words, "If WE CHRISTIANS say we CHRISTIANS have not sinned."
   The next verse continues right on, though it is in chapter 2.
   "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not" (chapter 2, verse 1). Or, "I write this to you CHRISTIANS, that you who are already Christians will not sin." Then he continues, "And IF any man sin, WE — [we Christians] — have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: and He is the propitiation for OUR sins" (verses 1-2). And he continues, same verse, to show he is NOT talking about forgiving sins of people "in the world" repenting and just BEING converted: "and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
   Plainly that says that Christ is the propitiation NOT ONLY for the sins of the whole world — the UNconverted — BUT, ALSO, for OURS — speaking of converted Christians.
   In the very next verse John shows how WE Christians know that we know HIM — "IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS." That is, if that is OUR WAY of life — OUR ATTITUDE — our DESIRE — our INTENTION. We may stumble and fall down once in a while, along THAT WAY. We are "BABES IN CHRIST" and babies fall down sometimes, learning to WALK. But our "WALK" is THE WAY of keeping God's Commandments!
   In verse 4, he speaks of the FALSE Christians. "He that saith 'I know Him,' and keepeth not His Commandments, IS A LIAR, and the truth is not in him." That is, the one who never professes to keep God's Commandments, yet professes he is "saved by grace."

 

The FINAL CONCLUSION

   Now we are ready to MAKE PLAIN what IS the "unpardonable sin"- -that sin that can never be forgiven, in this world of the next!
   SALVATION means being BORN into God's KINGDOM, changed from a flesh-and-blood mortal HUMAN, to a Spirit-composed, life-inherent, IMmortal son of God the Father — the Father of the divine Family. That change will come at the time of Christ's return. This salvation depends upon God's Holy Spirit dwelling in one at the END of the ROAD — end of your life — or, as Paul characterized it, the end of the race.
   SIN is the transgression of GOD's LAW. We naturally have a carnal mind, hostile to God's Law, resentful of authority over it. All have sinned!
   When one REPENTS of sin and sinning — comes to a CHANGE of mind and attitude in regard to sin, and BELIEVES in Jesus Christ as His Savior not only from past sins, but from SINNING — God has PROMISED His Holy Spirit. This GIFT from God, of the presence within of His own immortal life, effects a change in the MIND. It becomes spiritual-minded — comes to the ATTITUDE of desiring to GO THE WAY of God's Law — of loving God, being submissive to God's authority, wanting God's righteousness. No longer SELF-centered, but GOD-centered.
   He thus starts his WALK down that road, to the end of his life. It is the WAY of God's Commandments, as a WAY of LIFE. At the end of that road is ETERNAL LIFE — his LIFE GOAL, which he now desires above all else!
   God's Spirit dwelling in him is the divine LOVE of God which fulfills God's spiritual Law. Through God's Spirit, God by grace has GIVEN him the spiritual EQUIPMENT to walk that WAY. It is a WAY of overcoming, and of GROWING in character — in the knowledge of Christ and of God's WAY. God's Spirit dwells in one actively, flowing into him from God, flowing on out in LOVE to God, and LOVE to neighbor.
   BUT, as he WALKS this WAY of life, HE IS A "BABE IN CHRIST," actually learning to walk spiritually, just as a human baby must learn to walk physically. He must TRY not to fall, yet he is bound to fall down a few times along the road, learning to walk spiritually.
   If, through former HABIT, or being overcome by temptation of the PULL of the flesh — of his human nature — or other cause, he encounters an INCIDENT of committing a sin, for which he is afterward truly sorry — and for which he REPENTS — all the while his INNER Spirit-begotten MIND still in the ATTITUDE of DESIRING to continue on GOD'S WAY, then he has an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ our High Priest — to FORGIVE that sin.
   THAT IS NOT AN UNPARDONABLE SIN!
   Even though, in that incident, under temptation or neglect of prayer and Bible study, he does yield KNOWINGLY, his mind, for the time being, ASSENTING to the deed. This is doing it, for the moment, WILLINGLY, but it is NOT willful sin.
   The determining factor is this: As long as God's Spirit is DWELLING IN him, he is in contact with God, and still his ATTITUDE is right. And as long as God's Spirit does dwell in him, he is ON THE ROAD to ETERNAL LIFE. He may, on occasion, stumble and fall down. But he continues, so far as his overall ATTITUDE is concerned, on this ROAD to LIFE.
   NOW I have shown that God will forgive such an incident of sin in a Spirit-begotten Christian.
   You may ask, "But would God forgive if he ever sins AGAIN?" As long as his INTENTION — his overall ATTITUDE and desire — and effort — is to WALK WITH GOD, going GOD'S WAY, God will forgive. Jesus said we must forgive, not just once, not twice, or seven times, but seventy TIMES seven. IS God LESS forgiving than He expects us to be?

 

WILLFUL Sinning

   WHEN one receives the Holy Spirit by God's grace, this Spirit dwelling in him is tentative and conditional SALVATION. But IF one again changes his mind — changes his LIFE'S GOAL — takes his eyes completely off the Goal of God's Kingdom, and fixes them PURPOSELY on going back to THE WAY of worldliness and sin — IF he changes his WAY of life back to the CARNAL WAY of the world, leaving the ROAD he was traveling with CHRIST — THEN he has set his mind on determined, premeditated, deliberate WILLFUL SIN!
   IF he decides he no longer WANTS to go GOD'S WAY, deliberately and intentionally changes his OVERALL ATTITUDE, and desires, and CHOOSES the world and its ways — deliberately chooses a life of rebellion, comes to have contempt and disregard for God's Law, then that man either has done or is in danger of doing despite to God's Holy Spirit which a merciful and loving God had GIVEN by grace!
   SUCH A MAN is surely in grave DANGER of BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT!
   This is not a mere stumbling while ON THE WAY — on GOD'S WAY — the WAY of His LAW fulfilled by His HOLY SPIRIT — the way to Eternal Life. This is not an incident of sin. A man may stumble over an INCIDENT of sin again and again, while WALKING the WAY of God, with God's Spirit still dwelling IN him. Always he will repent — because his ATTITUDE is, simply, that he DESIRES, more than anything in life, to SUCCEED along this WAY he has chosen — to OVERCOME, to GROW spiritually, to receive ETERNAL LIFE. He may find the road hard, difficult, beset with temptations and spiritual pitfalls. He will most certainly suffer persecution. But his overall WILLFUL purpose, ATTITUDE and life-GOAL is to be submissive to God, to RELY on God, to be OBEDIENT to God, to LIVE for God, and to enter the Kingdom of God.
   What most people do not understand is the difference between an incident of a sin committed — even though there be REPEATED such incidents of stumbling, always repented of — and one's overall ATTITUDE, or desired, deliberate, willful, and fixed PURPOSE!
   The one who changes that overall ATTITUDE from one of submissive yielding to God to one of hostile rebellion — the one who changes his life's call from wanting God's RIGHTEOUSNESS, and ETERNAL LIFE, to wanting SELF-centeredness and willfully going the WORLD'S WAY, is in an altogether different category than the one whose call is the Kingdom of God, but who stumbles in an incident of sin — or even many such incidents.

The Prodigal Son

 

If Christians sin and can repent is there no cost to sin?

 

There is always a cost to sin. Jesus taught there was.

In the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15, God the Father is pictured as receiving back a repentant son. (I Tim. 2:9-10 - Christian women should not wear jewelry. Difficult Scriptures. Worldwide Church of God)

Does this parable have applicability today?

 

Let's look at the parable of the prodigal son:

11 Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."'

20 "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.

25 "Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.'

28 "But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.' (Luke 15:11-30)

The story of the prodigal son shows that many types of sins will be forgiven. He was foolish, wasteful, lustful, etc., yet forgiven upon repentance. Most look at this parable and see that someone who was a major sinner gets forgiven. And that is what most people remember about this parable. But notice the next two verses:

31 "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'" (Luke 15:31-32)

There are a couple of points to mention about the above. Notice that all the Father had, the faithful son now has. The faithful son would be wealthy. Period. Notice also that all should be glad when someone returns back to the family of Christians.

Yet, also notice that the prodigal son did not get wealth back. He only got a job and he got to be in the household. He was not "growing in grace and knowledge" as he should have (cf. 2 Peter 3:18), and that prevented him from moving forward as he should have. He did not develop the type of character he should have (see also Building Character: Going on to Perfection and/or watch a related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character). Spiritually, he will have to try harder to attain what he likely already would have.

On the physical side, it is possible that the prodical son got one or more diseases to plague him the rest of his life. And, he tarnished his reputation and this is not something he would ever be able to completely erase.

There is a cost to sin, but upon repentance sins can be forgiven.

Notice also something Jesus said:

14 Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:14, KJV)

So try to avoid sin, lest a worse thing befall you. Do not deceive yourself and think that you can drop out from living the way of truth for a time and that is fine. Notice also the following:

33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)

Paul is teaching to not be like the world. He also specifically warned against falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1).

The Two Ways to Commit the Unpardonable Sin

 

Getting back to the writings of Herbert Armstrong, he continued with a discussion about how one can commit the unpardonable sin:

TWO Ways Into Unpardonable Sin

   I want to be even more specific. I want every reader to UNDERSTAND. And I feel very few DO fully understand this question.
   There are at least TWO ways in which a Spirit-begotten Christian may LOSE the gift of God's Holy Spirit.
   1) By deliberate choice. This may come from wrong reasoning; from wrong desire thought out to a final fixed, permanent decision as to his WAY OF LIFE; or, from allowing resentment in his heart toward either God or some person who may have wronged him. To allow resentment to embitter him, until he comes to change his whole life course, turning from God.
   I cannot put too much emphasis on guarding against harboring resentment. It is spiritual POISON — deadly spiritual poison. If ever you begin to feel resentment against some injustice, go PRAY, asking God to remove it QUICKLY. Do not let it well up inside you — never harbor it. If you do, you will become as "hooked" with it as a dope addict becomes "hooked" with heroin! It is that serious!
   God warns you, "Follow PEACE with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (
Heb. 12:14-15). Your bitterness may not harm the other fellow — but it may destroy YOU!
   2) The converted Christian can lose the presence of God's Spirit by CONTINUED NEGLECT. Neglect of prayer, neglect of Bible study, neglect of spiritual fellowship with God's people. Or, by continuing too close a friendship with unconverted people — letting participation with them in material interests, pleasures, sports, entertainments, cause NEGLECT of spiritual interests. Don't misunderstand. A certain amount of diversion can be healthy. And you cannot avoid all contact with unconverted people. But never let it DOMINATE in your interest and heart.
   To the Colossians, God says through Paul: "Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God" (
Col. 3:1). That is, instead of seeking an interest in television shows, or popular materialistic interests, actively seek more knowledge of Christ — more of the UNDERSTANDING that comes from GOD, in the Bible. Make this your MAIN interest. Never let occasional diversion compete with it as your overall interest.
   The passage continues: "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (verse 2). Make the SPIRITUAL things your dominant all-absorbing BIG interest — until you LOVE the receiving of new spiritual knowledge, and set your affection on it. Digging out new spiritual TRUTH in the Bible is the most exciting interest there can be in life. It's not dry, dull, uninteresting, boring. It's exciting, thrilling — and also profitable and uplifting!

 

NOT the World's Way

   Remember it is a WAY OF LIFE. It is not the way the world is living. It is a different ATTITUDE altogether. Jesus said we must live by every Word of God — that is, the WHOLE BIBLE! Since the world lives a different way — travels a different ROAD, if you get interested in, absorbed in, and walking down that road, you certainly will no longer be walking with the living Christ down the spiritual road, with God's LIFE — His Spirit — dwelling in you!
   Remember, Jesus tells us it is "he that shall endure unto the END, the same shall be saved" (
Matt. 24:13). He means the END of this Spirit-LED road, which every Christian must travel — if LED BY the Holy Spirit. That is LIFE'S road. So it means the remainder of your life.
   You cannot travel down TWO different roads, leading in opposite directions, at the same time. Once you have started traveling with the living Christ on GOD'S road that leads to eternal life, if you allow materialistic interests to dominate, they may soon lure you back on the carnal road of this world.
   And then what?
   If you leave THE WAY that God's Spirit is leading, then God's Spirit may leave you — no longer dwelling in you! You will commit sins, but you will not be sorry — and you will probably not repent!
   So UNDERSTAND! Salvation is from sinning! It comes as God's GIFT — by grace.
   "Works" do not earn or produce it. "Works" determine the degree of "reward," or office, or glory, in God's Kingdom, IF you are born into that Kingdom, by grace!
   To be "saved" — to inherit eternal life in God's Kingdom — you must still be traveling THAT WAY at the end of your life! Stumbling — falling down — on that road, repented of, DOES NOT PUT YOU OFF THAT ROAD! But to deliberately change roads, to willfully go back on the world's road, or to let the false glamor and glitter of the world's road begin to dominate your life, may bring you to a place where you are unable to REPENT and get back on GOD'S WAY. You may never WANT to get back on the right road, traveling with the living CHRIST!

Jesus warned that some who let the cares of this life get in the way of their salvation:

14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. (Mark 4:14-20)

Herbert Armstrong also wrote:

Important!

 

   Yet I am persuaded that anyone who does seriously REPENT, and earnestly SEEK Jesus Christ, may find Him, and forgiveness, and get back on the right road.
   But don't take chances!
   Remember Esau. He "found no place of repentance, though he sought it with tears" (
Heb. 12:17). It was too late! The Birthright had already been confirmed to Jacob! And Judas found it was TOO LATE to move time back and prevent betraying the very CHRIST — after Jesus was crucified! Judas "repented himself," — but it was TOO LATE. He "went out and hanged himself."
   DON'T take chances on it being TOO LATE for YOU!
   Probably it is NOT "too late" yet! Don't delay repenting and getting back to Christ!

 

How About NON-Christians?

   So far, we have treated only with the case of converted Christians, who have actually received the precious GIFT of God's Holy Spirit.
   But can a NON-Christian commit an unforgivable sin?
   Let me say, first, MANY have supposed they had been converted, but who, actually, NEVER WERE!
   I knew a man who thought he had repented, and was baptized. Others thought he had been really converted — that is, had received God's Holy Spirit. His attitude seemed changed. He now had the same attitude toward the world in general that spirit-minded people do. He certainly could see what was wrong with this world. He was disgusted with it. He was accepted among spirit-minded people as one of them.
   But very soon he turned the other way. His Christian friends wondered if he had committed the unpardonable sin. Then it came to mind, they didn't remember ever hearing him expressing any disgust with his own self. The WORLD was wrong — but was he? Had he, after all, ever come to any real REPENTANCE — or only a little of the sorrow that people of the world experience?
   HAD he, after all, received the Holy Spirit? Were there any FRUITS of it? Very doubtful. He seemed still to be SELF-centered, more concerned with self than going God's WAY.
   Such a person might have had no more than a FALSE "conversion," like multiple MILLIONS in the world today. If so, he certainly had NOT committed an unforgivable sin!
   IF such a one DOES come to real repentance, and real heartrending DESIRE to be God's son, to go GOD'S way henceforth, and to find salvation, HE can!
   Those deceived with the popular FALSE "salvation" of this world's "Christianity" are not necessarily yet CONDEMNED!

 

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit

 

   Now notice what Jesus said about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. There had been brought to him a demon-possessed, blind and dumb man. Jesus healed him. The man then saw and spoke. The people were amazed! But the Pharisees (Matt. 12:24) and the scribes which had come up to Galilee from Jerusalem (Mark 3:22) accused Jesus of being Satan possessed, and casting out demons by Beelzebub (Satan).
   These hypocritical scribes and Pharisees knew their accusation was a lie! Just before this, they had been holding a council, plotting to discredit — and to MURDER — Jesus! (
Matt. 12:14.) They accused Jesus falsely, attempting to discredit Him in the eyes of the people.
   The modern "Pharisees" of this world's organized but deceived "Christianity" — resisting the same true Gospel of the Kingdom of God, now being heard by the MILLIONS worldwide today through this Work of God, use the same tactics against us! They falsely accuse us of being what they are — false prophets. They deliberately misrepresent what we teach. They falsely say we teach what we do not — and that we do not teach what we do!
   Jesus had been casting out demons. The crowd was awed! Many were beginning to believe! These religious leaders said to the crowds, "He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of demons casteth out demons" (
Mark 3:22).
   To these scribes and Pharisees — and to the crowds — Jesus replied:
   "Verily I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: BUT he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but IS IN DANGER OF eternal damnation" (
Mark 3:28-29).
   Now what does "blaspheme" mean?
   The Greek word, in which it was originally written, means "intentional indignity offered to God or sacred things."
   With these scribes and Pharisees, it was intentional. And they KNEW it was false. To say a thing like this in ignorance of the true facts, or impulsively in emotional anger without thinking, would be different. But these religious leaders knew their accusation was false! Their blasphemy was deliberate, premeditated, intentional. They had just been counselling together on HOW to discredit Him, and to murder Him.
   So, this unforgivable sin is one committed deliberately, knowing they are wrong, after thinking it over, and doing it intentionally, willfully. Jesus said they were IN DANGER OF damnation in gehenna fire, the final, second death!
   And this sin was committed by unconverted men!
   No ordinary sin, even by a Christian, is unforgivable. Jesus said plainly that ALL sins, and blasphemies — against even GOD — even against Jesus Christ — will be forgiven on repentance. It is ONLY premeditated, thought-out, planned, deliberate, intentional, willful indignity, insult, false accusation against God's HOLY SPIRIT that is unforgivable.

 

Sinning WILLFULLY

   Now, finally notice the two passages in the book of Hebrews, speaking of sinning WILLFULLY, and being IMPOSSIBLE to repent.
   These, actually, have already been explained at great length in this booklet. So now we come to these Scriptural passages themselves.
   Notice: "For if we sin WILLFULLY after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of GOD, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and HATH DONE DESPITE UNTO THE SPIRIT of grace?" (
Hebrews 10:26-29.)
   I have fully explained in this booklet the meaning of WILLFUL sinning. This passage refers only to those who have become truly converted — received God's Holy Spirit. The "WE" refers to converted Christians. None can, in fact, come to the real "KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH," until they have received the Holy Spirit to open their minds to that spiritual TRUTH (
I Cor. 2:9-11, 14).
   But notice, this sinning WILLFULLY is connected with doing "despite to the SPIRIT of grace" — certainly dangerously close to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
   However, as explained above, most sins committed by begotten children of God are NOT in this category!
   The other passage is this:
   "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift" — the Holy Spirit — "and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, IF they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance: seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame" (
Heb. 6:4-6).
   Actually, if you understand one phrase here, it is self explanatory. That is this: "For it is IMPOSSIBLE ... IF they shall fall away, TO RENEW THEM AGAIN UNTO REPENTANCE."
   Now there may be degrees toward "falling away." How shall we know how far is here meant? By the next words: whenever it becomes IMPOSSIBLE to renew one to repentance — well, he has "fallen away — "completely!
   Remember, God grants repentance (
Acts 11:18; 5:31). Yet of course God never forces repentance on one. When one has come to the place where he WON'T — can't — has totally, completely, lost all desire to repent — is UNABLE to repent — he has "fallen away."
   And of course this is NOT speaking of UNCONVERTED people — those who never had been converted — but only those who had been.
   The TEST is this: IF and WHEN one really does DESIRE to repent — does feel completely disgusted and abhorrent of himself — does DESIRE to repent and get back into God's grace — HE CAN!
   What about the "backslider" — as some phrase it? If he at any time becomes willing to repent — comes to DESIRE to repent and return to God's WAY, the gracious, merciful, all loving GOD will forgive — and will grant full repentance.
   God inspired James to close his book with this important admonition:
   "My brothers, if anyone of you goes astray from the truth and someone brings him back, understand that he who brings a sinner back from the error of his way saves the man's soul from death and hides a host of his own sins" (
James 5:19-20 — Moffatt translation).
   That's the final answer. If he's committed the unpardonable sin, he won't want to. If he wants to — if he does REPENT, and WANTS the contact reestablished with God — HE CAN!
   And how about one never yet truly converted — or one who thought he was, but had only a false "conversion" and backslid? Well, whenever he is willing to really REPENT, and WANTS to find Christ — HE CAN — if he just WILL!
   How WONDERFUL are the ways of GOD!

Christians are not strive not to sin:

1... Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! (Romans 6:1-2)

Christians also should strive for perfection:

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

 

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, (Hebrews 6:1)

Just because someone probably has not committed the unpardonable sin, does not mean that they should not improve and should not heed correction. (Proverbs 12:1; 13:18; 15:10; 2 Timothy 3:16; Galatians 6:1-3).

 

Jesus taught:

13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Matthew 5:13)

34 "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Luke 14:34-35)

Notice He was speaking to Christians. And that Christians who lose is are bit for nothing. He is talking about Christians who have commited the unpardonable sin, apparently through neglect.

 

Christians need to not be neglectful and not drift away:

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:17-18)

1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)

Do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

 

Willful sin is the problem. It is not that we never sin, but we are to strive for perfection (Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 6:1).

 

Willfil sin is a fully conscious and determined act and attitude to never repent of sin. The willful sinner is intractable. He or she has a conscience seared to do evil. This kind of sinner will not truly entertain the thought of repenting and desiring to return to God’s way of life (cf. 1 Timothy 4:2). The incorrigibly wicked are not blinded like the rest of the world; they have a "knowledge of the truth."

 

They basically know the effect of Christ’s sacrifice, yet they profane/blaspheme it. Those that will not repent will be destroyed (Malachi 4:3; Revelation 20:14-15).

 

For those who have not blasphemed and partaken of the Holy Spirit, there clearly remains an age to come (Matthew 12:32; Ephesians 1:10-13;21) where even infamous sinners will have an opportunity (cf. Matthew 10:15;11:22).

Until that age to come, God has called just a few now to live on the earth to support His work and to show that living God’s way of life can be done by true Christians with God’s help. 

Notice that God is willing to forgive all iniquities for those who will respond to Him:

25 "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. 26 Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted (Isaiah 43:25-26).

The 'unpardonable sin' is to knowingly reject God and His way and to not repent of that.

Because mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13), relatively few have committed the unpardonable sin. But do not risk doing so through neglect.

Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son.

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Does God's plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. ArmstrongThis article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the real Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith.  Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah's Witnesses?
SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White.
Five Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Continuing Church of God The genuine Church of God is not related to the Mormons and this article explains five differences.
Being Separate: What Did Herbert W. Armstrong and the Bible Teach About Where Not to Fellowship? Some believe that it is acceptable to attend groups called COG, but who are not actually. What did Herbert W. Armstrong and the Bible teach about this.

Thiel B. What is the Unpardonable Sin? www.cogwriter.com 2009/2010/2012/2013/2014 0726

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