Chapter 11

What is the unpardonable sin?
Mark 3:22-30 (NIV)

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22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” 23 So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no-one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. 28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”

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Mark 3:22
The blasphemous accusation

The teachers of the law from Jerusalem now build on the accusation of Jesus’ family that He is out of His mind. Worse, they say that Jesus is actually possessed by Beelzebub, the prince of demons when He casts out demons by Beelzebub. That terrible allegation is particularly grave and disastrous to make against the holy Son of God.

Mark 3:23-27
The logical answer of Jesus

Jesus responds with telling logic. How can Satan cast out Satan? He asks. Would Satan oppose himself? Would he destroy his own kingdom? His evil household would be torn apart and could not stand.

A robber of an occupied house must overcome the occupier. If the occupier is strong, that is harder. He must be bound first. Why would Satan tie himself up? That’s nonsense.

Mark 3:28-30
Jesus teaches about the unpardonable sin

The ‘unpardonable sin’ worries some Christians unnecessarily. The teaching of Matthew’s [1] and Luke’s [2] Gospels shows the unpardonable sin is the malicious, blasphemous, intentional, continuing attributing to Satan the works done by the Holy Spirit through Christ and in Christ’s people. The Holy Spirit’s work is regarded as evil and Satanic. No one believing that can have forgiveness. That sin cannot be committed accidentally. It is unforgivable because it progressively hardens the heart. The offender finally cannot sense God’s Holy Spirit convicting him. His conscience becomes so calloused and hardened that he never senses his need to repent and ask for forgiveness. He will suddenly be destroyed—beyond remedy.[3]

Anyone committing that sin never has been forgiven and never can be. He is guilty of an eternal sin. It is impossible for someone who has turned from sin to Jesus Christ to ever commit it.[4] Someone who is so conscience-stricken and anxious about having committed the unpardonable sin that he asks for forgiveness for it demonstrates thereby that the Holy Spirit is working in his life. That’s why he is convicted of sin. Clearly he is not abandoned by the Holy Spirit, who is convicting him to bring him to repentance.

Committing the unpardonable sin makes the offender so hard hearted that he cannot feel his need of forgiveness. If you feel so guilty that you determine not to repeat the sin again, you cannot have committed it! Your attitude shows real repentance—not just remorse, which is merely feeling sorry for yourself. Judas showed remorse and regret, but not repentance leading him to be forgiven and saved.[5]

To all who have repented and received Christ as their Saviour and Lord, God’s message is that the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses from all sin.[6] Rejoice in God’s complete and eternal acceptance if you know Jesus as your Saviour. If not, you need to trust Him now. The Bible says Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.[7]

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[1] . Matthew 12:22-37.
[2] . Luke 11:14-26.
[3] . Proverbs 29:1.
[4] . John 10:27-30.
[5] . Matthew 27:3.
[6] . 1 John 1:7 (NKJV).
[7] . Romans 10:13.

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Questions on Chapter 11
Mark 3:22-30 What is the unpardonable sin?

A. Based on this passage what do you notice about the ‘unpardonable sin’? How does it help also to look at other passages from the Gospels and blend them together? Mark 3:22, 30 Matthew 12:22-37 Luke 11:14-16

B. Is the unpardonable sin just a case of bad backsliding? Mark 3:29 1 John 1:7 Romans 5:10

C. How could 1 John 1:7 and Romans 10:13 help you to comfort a Christian who is really worried about having committed the unpardonable sin? 1 John 1:7 Romans 10:13