In the midst of last Sunday’s sermon, How Will You Respond?, we were looking at how Jesus paints a portrait of a committed follower. In Mark 3:28-29, he makes this amazing statement of the sovereign, free grace that is available to all…”Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter…” and then in verse 29 throws out this phrase which has proved anxiety-producing in the hearts of Christians over the centuries, “…but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” We took a quick tangent to explore what he meant. This quote from L.W. Hortado was very helpful:
“The idea of an unforgivable sin has haunted the minds of sensitive people in all Christian centuries, but all such anxiety is misdirected. As the context makes plain, Jesus’ warning is against disregarding his message by calling it Satanic, a quite specific deed. A person doing such a thing would have no concern about Christ’s forgiveness for it. So, the very anxiety lest one may have done something that cuts one off from Christ’s forgiveness is, ironically, evidence that one believes Christ to be sent from God, and thus proof that one cannot have committed the sin warned against here.”
We receive that as a grace from God, and it tempers us in our own judgments on the state of other people’s hearts before God. It is a mercy, I believe, that only God knows the true condition of any person’s heart. We show grace therefore and seek to point people to Jesus, trusting the Holy Spirit to convict, redeem, and restore!