Question from a Site Viewer
A friend of mine and I were looking at buying a Bible. We checked out several different versions. We were discussing the different versions and I said of one version, “That’s the devil’s Bible!” Later I became afraid that I may have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (the unpardonable sin). I am obsessed with it. I am so frightened and I cannot find peace.
Do not let this matter worry you for one more minute. I hardly know a believer who has not at one time or another struggled with whether they have committed the unpardonable sin. My quick answer is that if you think you have, then you haven’t. I think the question you need to answer for yourself is why are you being convicted? This is always the question we should ask when we feel we have done something wrong. Sometimes, we do right and feel convicted. Sometimes we do wrong things and do not feel convicted. The reason is that our consciences get messed up in life. Thus, we should not always trust our convictions. We should take our convictions and see them through the perspective of the Word of God. And the Spirit can assist us in conforming our consciences to the Word of God.
But back to your present problem. If you had committed the unpardonable sin, then the conviction you are feeling would not be of the Spirit because He would not be at work in your life. The Spirit of God is not a tormentor. You do not find the Spirit taking on this role in Scripture. Rather, He is the Spirit of comfort and conviction who brings us to Christ. If truly you had committed the unpardonable sin, the Spirit would have no reason to be interacting with you any longer. This was the plea of David in Psalm 51:11, for God not to remove His Holy Spirit from David’s life. In fact, God had removed His Spirit from David’s predecessor, Saul, because of Saul’s sin (1 Samuel 16:14; 15:22-23). Those who have committed the unpardonable sin do not have the Spirit of God. If you look at the relevant passages dealing with Jesus’ teaching on the unpardonable sin, Jesus is addressing people who show no signs of even entertaining the thought that what they were doing might be wrong. They were not under conviction for doing wrong. If you are under conviction, you are not in the situation of those whom Jesus was addressing and you have not committed the sin that Jesus attributes to them.
But I think it is equally safe to say that, having not committed the unpardonable sin, the conviction you are feeling is also not of the Spirit. The Spirit is not the one saying that you have done what you have not done. He is the Spirit of truth.
Accordingly, if you had committed the sin, the Spirit would not be convicting you of that sin. And since you have not committed the sin, it is not the Spirit who is telling you that you have. Your conviction, under either scenario, is not from God. Rather, it is part of a weak conscience that is damaging to your faith and your hope in God.
What you said concerning the NIV was in error. You have acknowledged that. That is what the Bible means by confession (Psalm 32:5). Now, you need to have faith in God’s faithfulness and not be unbelieving. Having confessed, you need to leave that sin behind, and focus on Christ (Colossians 3:1) and on whatever things are good (Philippians 4:8). In other words, you need to exercise self-control of your mind and not let it control you. None of us can live life by looking back. We must look forward (Luke 9:62; Philippians 3:13-14).
I want to encourage you that there have been many fine Christians who have taken issue with the various English translations we have. Some have used much stronger words in the passion of their debates than you used. God, however, looks at the heart. He understands that we are weak people, and we often say things that later we regret. I am glad that you were convicted that what you said was wrong. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. But all of this later garbage about now having no hope because of the unpardonable sin is not of God. The proper response of the believer is to understand that the One who began a good work in us is not going to abandon us because of an error He knew would occur before He brought us to Himself (Philippians 1:6). He will keep on working.
In any event, our connection to God is not so fragile that a wrong word will consign us to eternal damnation. This is not the way Scripture describes the security we have in Christ. My advice to you is to keep seeking God and serving Him. We really have no place else to turn. Seek Him always. And His Spirit will fill your heart with the joy and peace that truly is beyond understanding. Some day, you will be able to help someone else who also is down in the dumps because they think they have done something that is unforgivable. With God, there is always mercy for those who seek Him. Remember, there is a linkage between the unpardonable sin and not seeking Christ. Those who seek Him will always find Him. This is His promise (Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7-8). Those who come will not be cast out (John 6:37).
May your love for Him and worship of Him increase richly,
one who also has been redeemed,