Luke 8:1-3, 19-21; Mark 3:20-35; & Matthew 12:22-50
More of Jesus, just wandering and preaching. Most interestingly, Jesus talks about a topic that strikes fear into the heart of many a young Christian.
If you want to mess with a doubting and/or impressionable young Christian, convince them they have committed the unforgivable sin. That’s messed up. Yet it’s almost a rite of passage among young Christians to worry if you have done so because it’s not super clear what it is. What sin could be so big and bad that Jesus either would or (*gasp!*) could not forgive it?
The bottom line is that there’s not much for the believer to worry about here. The unforgivable sin, blaspheming the Holy Spirit, is most commonly defined as persistently rejecting and resisting the Spirit’s declaration of Jesus’ identity as the Son of God. In other words, choosing not to believe in Jesus and/or accept His redeeming work is the only way to exclude yourself from God’s eternal company.
Delineating this as an ‘unforgivable sin’ is thus essentially articulating the doctrine of free will. Jesus is saying that He will not force us into eternal communion with Him (through forgiveness of our sins) if we do not choose either to believe in His power to do so or to accept the fact that He has done so. Without demarcating this ‘sin’ as outside the bounds of forgiveness, we’d end up with universal salvation because Jesus is powerful enough to overcome even this sin. But that would remove from us the dignity of choice which we have been given, having been made in the image of God. It would dehumanize us, which God has chosen not to do.
– Admin note: this was going to be a much longer post covering the parable of the sower, but the reading plan kind of cuts that story off oddly in the middle. So I’m postponing that topic until tomorrow.