“I am afraid I have committed the unforgivable sin.”
This statement is often made by people desperately looking for hope beyond their past sins. Meanwhile, they are confronted with certain scriptures that seem to say God cannot forgive a certain sin.
Sadly, some of these people have been spiritually abused by Christians who have used ‘the unforgivable sin’ as a club to oppress them and to keep them under fear, guilt, shame and condemnation.
If you are one of those Christians who believe someone has committed the unforgivable sin and is going to hell, then please let that person be, because according to your belief, there is nothing that you can do for that person. Better yet, read further and keep an open mind and spirit.
If you are one of those people who feel that you have committed the unforgivable sin, there is good news here for you. Your reading of this post—probably out of deep concern—is evidence that you may not have done such a thing. And even if you have done it, there is great hope for you.
Is There a Sin that God Cannot Forgive?
This is the question at issue. But before we can address it, we have to know who this God is, who can or cannot forgive a certain sin.
Almost every misunderstanding of scripture, doctrine and practice comes from a misunderstanding of who God is. The problem is when people piece together individual issues and isolated scriptures without understanding the whole.
The organizing principle of all life, scripture and doctrine is not who human beings are and what they have or have not done. The organizing principle is who God is and what He has done. All things are held together in Him.
Who is God?
God (Abba, Jesus and Holy Spirit) is love (1 John 4: 8, 16). All God is and does is love. We see this in and through the life of Jesus Christ, the full revelation of who God is—He is the Son of God and the Anointed with the Holy Spirit.
What God is and what He does are identical, without distinction. He loves us because He is Love and Lover, He saves us because He is Salvation and Saviour, He heals us because He is Healing and Healer, and He delivers us because He is Deliverance and Deliverer, He prospers us because He is Prosperity and Prosperer.
The good news is that God is never unforgiving—He forgives because He is Forgiveness and Forgiver.
So for God to be in unforgiveness would be for Him to not be who He is. That would make God a liar, yet by nature God does not change and does not lie (Hebrews 6:17-18).
God’s is and gives love, grace and forgiveness. This is unconditional—He is this and did this to us while we were still sinners and His enemies (1 John 4:6-11, Romans 5:8). His forgiveness of us does not depend on anything that we do or do not do. It is not conditioned by our confession, repentance or faith. God eternally is who He is: the I Am Who I Am.
What Christ Did
Paul tells us what God in Christ did for us and to us: “For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1: 19-20).
Forgiveness is part of reconciliation. A person cannot be reconciled and at peace and not be forgiven. Reconciliation requires that the two who were somehow alienated then be united. This is what God has done to all things in Jesus, without their choice or approval.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5: 18-21).
The message of the cross is that every sin and trespasses has not been counted. Every one (sin) and everyone (person) have been forgiven. Everyone has been reconciled to God. From God’s side, there is nothing that remains counted against any person.
We can only be ambassadors of reconciliation if we believe that every sin has been forgiven and that everyone is reconciled to God.
(continue to read part two of this article that follows)