My mom sent me an email and related how the discussion of these two topics came up in her Sunday School class. Her questions were: 1) What is the unpardonable sin? 2) Can the unpardonable sin be commited today? 3) Are the unpardonable sin and the sin unto death the same thing? I’ll try to answer these questions in as short a post as possible…
What is the unpardonable sin? (Matt 12:32-32; Lk 12:10) Simply put, the unpardonable sin is when a person rejects Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In Mt 12:22-24 the Pharisees knew that Jesus did His work by the power of God, but they chose to reject Him and thus they rejected God. The sin of the Pharisees was not attributing God’s work to Satan, but a willful rejection of God. The unpardonable sin is only cemented in a person’s life upon their death. Sin is described by Jesus in John 16:8-9 as not believing in Him, and is in reference to The Holy Spirit’s conviction of that sin. UNBELIEF in Christ as savior is the sin that condemns people to hell… NOT attributing God’s work to Satan!
Can the unpardonable sin be committed today? By definition Christians CANNOT commit the unpardonable sin. Only unbelievers can commit it. And only upon their death are the consequences of the unpardonable sin implemented. Up to that point, any and every sin (Including unbelief) can be forgiven by God… as is proven by the theif on the cross. When a person trusts Christ as savior their unbelief is forgiven.
Is the unpardonable sin and the sin unto death the same thing? (Acts 5:1-11;1 Cor 11:29-32; 1 Jn 5:16) They are different. It is possible for Christians to commit the sin unto death. Christians can be so involved in sin that God chooses to end their life and bring them home to Him. Only God makes this decision. And today only God can say if a person has commited the sin unto death. No one alive can make that assessment. Paul did as an Apostle in 1 Cor 11 (“Some of you are weak, some are sick, and some of you have died.”).
What is the sin unto death? Looking closely at the three texts linked above, the common theme seems to be that if people’s conduct is either bringing disrepute upon the Church (Ac 5) or causing division in a church (1 Cor 11), it is possible that God ends their life to protect the reputation of Christ (Ac 5) and/or the health of the church (1 Cor 11). The 1 Jn passage could be God’s mercy to prevent the same instances mentioned above or keep Christians from doing themselves harm were they allowed to continue living. There is at least one instance in the New Testament of the sin unto death being committed by an unbeliever as found in Acts 12:21-24.
Word Of Caution! Do NOT try to determine, decide, or assign to anyone the unpardonable sin or the sin unto death. Keep this in mind, If God were fair He would end all our lives because that is what we deserve. Only because of His mercy, grace, and forgiveness does He allow any of us to take another breath. All sin is serious no matter how “small” it seems to us because it is a slap in the face of God! It is to God’s glory and love that sin is dealt with both harshly and lovingly… at the same time.
Mom… hope this answered your questions. I love you tremendously!