The Subtleties of Sin

Mark 3: 22-30
Heb 9:15,24-28 / Ps 98

. . . whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.
(Mark 3:29)

Trust in the goodness of the Lord,
Believe that we have been redeemed!
Those who deny Him and His Word,
The Holy Spirit they’ve blasphemed.

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons He is driving out demons.” So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 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. I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.” (Mark 3:22-30)


Is there really a sin that can never be forgiven? Yes, there is. Our Lord was quite emphatic about this. However, this does not contradict the doctrine we believe in that God is all-forgiving. Jesus Himself said, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (to die on the cross for the remission of our sins) so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God (John 3:16-18). The lines are clearly demarcated here (there are no ifs or buts about it): Either you choose to belong to the kingdom of God, or you prefer to stay in the kingdom of darkness and evil. Those who choose to believe the lies of Satan, and willfully deny the divinity of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, condemn themselves to eternal perdition. God cannot save a soul who refuses to be saved. In the Gospel version of Matthew, the author added these words of Jesus: “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters” (Mat.12:30). And He further said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mat.12:36-37).

Our Lord Jesus was not condemning those who had attributed His divine power (to cast out evil spirits) to Satan; He was only warning them that if they persisted in their unbelief, then they were in danger of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, and would inevitably condemn themselves to this unforgivable sin. This was what had happened to Satan and his minions, whose willful opposition to God’s plans had hardened their hearts forever. In fact, our Lord consistently urged the people in His time (and ours) to “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Repentance is the key to salvation from this sin.

How can we be released from the grip of sin if we are not sorry for it? Sometimes, perhaps because of the powerful influence of our peers, we may not be aware that our actions, words or even thoughts are already sinful. Sin can take on many forms. It can be in cracking irreverent jokes about matters that people hold sacred (i.e., cursing the Vicar of Christ, claiming it was in jest). Or in taking the name of God in vain. It can be as casual as spreading a malicious gossip (we’re not even sure is true) that can damage another’s good name. Sin can come in many subtle ways, just like its originator. That is why we must always be very careful to heed Jesus’s words: “You will render an account for every careless word you say.” (Matthew 12:37)

Father God, our Lord Jesus said, ‘no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man’ when He rescued the captives of Satan. Please tie up the hands of Satan, the strong man, so that the souls that he has taken possession of may escape eternal damnation. Amen.

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