The Unforgiveable Sin

Mark 3: 22-30
2 Tim 1: 1-8 / Psa 96

. . . whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.
(Mark 3:29)

Those who see evil even in good
Trap themselves forever in their sin;
Like the scribes who never understood
‘Twas the Holy Spirit they blasphemed.

And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out demons.” And He called them to Him, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3: 22-30)


It is possible that Jesus was not actually condemning the scribes for ascribing His power to cast out demons to Satan. More likely, he was warning them not to make the mistake of committing this sin by thinking or telling others, “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out demons.” In fact, Jesus called their attention to this, and took the trouble of explaining to them why they were mistaken: by the simple logic that if His expelling the evil spirits was a satanic act, then Satan would have been defeating himself. Their opinion of him was as flawed as a thief trying to enter and plunder the house of a man who was more powerful than him.

What is the sin of blasphemy? Why is it an “eternal sin” that can “never have forgiveness?” A person who commits blasphemy has made up his mind that the works of the Holy Spirit are evil, and that conversely, sinful acts are permissible and even good. This person, obviously, no longer has any faith in God, and as long as he does not change his convictions, will never be able to receive forgiveness from God. It is an eternal sin, because the person who blasphemes has doomed himself into eternal damnation. By attributing the works of God to the devil, the person who is guilty of blasphemy has hardened his heart and has willfully taken the side of Satan. He has forfeited all chances of salvation.

The sin of blasphemy can also be committed by cursing the name of God or desecrating what is sacred, especially the Holy Eucharist. Uttering profanities against a priest or a religious man or woman is also an act of blasphemy. However, these can “be forgiven the sons of men” as Jesus has said, if only the sinner repents and receives the sacrament of reconciliation. Otherwise, he would be allowing the evil one to enter and subdue him. Many people have been ensnared by the devil into the greater sin of blasphemy because they did not consider it wrong to speak profanities, make curses or talk irreverently or sacrilegiously. Jesus cautions us to guard our mouths, for the evil one can make them become portals of sin and division. Let them instead be portals of peace and blessings, that speak only of love and the goodness of our Creator.

Bless our lips, dear God, keep them pure and holy, so that we may never speak ill of others or profane Your holy Name. May we give praise to You all the days of our lives. Amen.

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