Unforgivable or unforgiven?

ComfortingOnly those whose sins are forgiven will enter the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, for those who want to spend eternity with God, it is of utmost importance to make sure that their sins are forgiven.  However, Jesus teaches that some sins will not be forgiven, yet does not describe exactly what these sins are.  It would be unfair of God if He did not give us enough information to deduce what the sins against the Holy Spirit are.  Would we be able to work out what these sins are on the basis of what we already know?

The New Testament describes God as 3 persons; The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Father is associated with His adobe in heaven; Jesus was His representation on earth in human body; and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus called parakletos,[1] who does not have a body, therefore can communicate with everyone at any time regardless of where the person is.  He is our link that makes it possible for our sins to be forgiven. We would not even find out on our own that we have sinned if it was not for the Holy Spirit.  If we refuse to communicate with Him, we are left alone to moan and die.[2]  And here we have the answer — those who refuse to connect to the power station (the Holy Spirit) will have no electricity (forgiveness of sins).  It is not because they are not able to use electricity, but because they refuse to use it.  Hence, sins against the Holy Spirit are not sins that are unforgiveable (such do not exist), but the sins that no one ask to be forgiven.

There are other sins that will not be forgiven. Jesus describes the concepts of sin being unforgiven when a group of people came to Him and expected to enter the kingdom of God. To their surprise, and to the surprise of all that heard the story, Jesus could not take them to heaven.  Have they sinned against the Holy Spirit or not?

People who come to Jesus and claimed their merits as a title to heaven did not really see that their merits do not count.  The only merits that counts are those of Jesus Christ — priceless and holy.  Those who refuse to accept the merits of Jesus and parade with their own merits, do not follow what the Holy Spirit inspires them to do.  So, these people put a lot of effort to serve God, yet refuse the most important element of friendship with Him — humility.

I would be very disappointed if I never learned about eternal happiness in God’s kingdom, and were told at the end of my life that I would not be taken there because I have not been God’s friend.  I would also be very disappointed if I were told that I would never experience the riches of God’s love because all my efforts like performing miracles in God’s name do not count.  So, I begin to wonder, is God too strict in giving us conditions that hardly anyone could fulfil?  Why would God deny a place in His kingdom to so many otherwise good people?

God is not driven by jealousy or a lack of space in heaven when He explains who will qualify for the gift of eternal life.  The most important objective to Him is to guarantee absolute joy for eternity to all those who enter His kingdom.  It is impossible to provide absolute happiness without first guaranteeing perfect harmony.  It can exist only when all creatures follow one master plan created in God’s omniscient mind.  In turn, it is only possible when all creatures love God, because without loving Him there would be many creatures that, after long enough time, would decide to do something their own way and thus introduce chaos; and disaster.  Such disaster has taken place once in heaven, and none of angels want it again.  So, God will make sure that it does not happen again.

Those who perform miracles in Jesus’s name, yet Jesus does not know, are those who do not follow Him but do things their own way.  They would not be able to be in heaven with Jesus if they were taken there, therefore God is forced to not take them there.  Those who did not make Jesus their friend, clearly do not qualify for the gift of eternal life, because they would refuse to do anything that God would guide them to do.  So far, God has approached these people many times in their lifetime, yet they did not accept Him as a friend and lived in enmity with Him, whether open or camouflaged, fully conscious or trying to not face the idea.  Their lives may even have revealed many charity works, but after all they did not accept God as their friend.  Both cases are the result of sin against the Holy Spirit.  In both cases the sin will not be forgiven, although there are no unforgivable sin.  All sins are forgivable, just some forgivable sins will never be forgiven.[3]  It will happen only in cases when the person either refuses friendship with God, or will attempt to do things his/her own way.  Unforgiven sins are those that are not asked to be forgiven.

Is it possible to do something for people who exclude themselves from heaven?  We may be tempted to think that we can do something, like trying to convince them that they should become God’s friends.  We may stir some thoughts but we should be careful to not promote God’s cause too much.  In some cases our attempts may bring the opposite results to what we attempt to achieve, and, after all,  in fact it is the Holy Spirit who has the real power and knowledge necessary to do it right.[4]

It is very sad that in some cases those who refuse to listen to our good advice are those who are close to our heart.  In such cases we may fall into thinking that we are the reason that people refuse to become God’s friends.  But Jesus taught that people refuse to listen to us because they refuse to respond to Jesus’s call, not vice versa.  Therefore we should not worry, people do not refuse us but God.  The only thing we can do in such cases is to love everyone regardless, and not to worry that for some people we become a stumbling block on the way to God’s kingdom (although such situation is also possible).

There may be some cases where people blame our behaviour or our sin that supposedly prevented them from entering the kingdom of God.  It may be true that our behaviour or our actions are pointed at as stumbling blocks, and it may be true that we do something deliberately to lead people away from God.  And if we do it deliberately, it will be us who will not be given eternal life.  God will never refrain from giving eternal life to anybody as a punishment for someone else’s sins.  Before he world is destroyed, and before God’s kingdom ascends to our planet, everybody will accept God’s righteous judgement by kneeling down,[5] and everyone will be made accountable for his/her own decisions.[6]  So, we should not worry (although we should be concerned) if people refuse to become God’s friends.  If we put obstacles on their way, it is we who are in danger of losing the gift of eternal life.  If other people refuse to become God’s friends in spite that we love then, they do not refuse us but God.  Let us then focus on loving anyone who comes in contact with us.

 


[1]      Jn14:16–17nasb  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (παράκλητος), that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

[2]      This cheeky expression is borrowed from my friend

[3]      Mt12:31–32nkjv  „Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

[4]      Jn16:8nkjv  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

[5]      Rm14:11,12nkjv  For it is written: “as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

[6]      Ph2:10nkvj  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

3 Responses to Unforgivable or unforgiven?

  1. Yirmegail says:

    Thank you for your sharing. It would be good if you could further expand on what you mean by “promoting God’s cause” as is it not by living as how we are instructed, that we are able to make others see God’s love to all?
    Unless we share our testimonies on God’s love and grace and mercy, how would those that do not know God, learn of what He has done?

    I agree that God eventually brings about a change in a person but also believe that we are called to initiate and share the joys that we as Christians receive from God.

    1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
    1Co 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

    Thank you once more for the article. I resonate and feel it is applicable to me as I am trying to share our need for God with a particular person in my life.
    God Bless.

    • CezaryN says:

      Please accept my apologies for using this colloquialism, below I will explain what I had in mind.

      As humans, we have a tendency to take matters into our hands and begin to do things that we believe to be God’s will. We may even say that we do what God would request us to do. In such circumstances I have heard people say: “we promote God’s cause.” This is probably why I associated this expression with doing something that one believes to be God’s will, while in fact it may not be.

      When we try to convince others that they should consider friendship with God, or when we are impatient with them because they do not listen to our advice, what do we really do? Do we invite them to friendship with God or we make them feel uncomfortable about it? Are we sure that pushing people to read the Bible or attend the church is God’s way of bringing people to friendship with Him? When we become insensitive about people’s freedom to choose and push what we believe is the right thing to do (become God’s friends), our actions may bring resistance and opposite results. This is why I said that “we should be careful to not promote God’s cause too much.”

      As you assert, when people see how we live, they will figure out whether we love others or not. Sometimes it may not be enough to see what we do; often people need to know our motives. Often they inquire and learn whether we do it out of love, or we have a hidden agenda and want to achieve some specific goals. Then we have an opportunity to let them know our motivation for what we do and why (you call it ‘our testimonies’), and often we need to tell about God’s love that inspires our lives. This is how people learn about God and what He has done for us. You describe this process as sharing “the joys that we as Christians receive from God.”

      We may encourage people to get acquainted with God and explain many things they need to know; we may enjoy the process of telling them how God works in the lives of people, but it is not our task to convince them that they should do what we think. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to do it (Jn16:8). When we remind others, or make suggestions, that they should become God’s friends may cause someone to resist the influence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should be careful and kind towards people who may need more time to decide whether they need to become God’s friends. It is not our task to convince people of God’s love, therefore we should be sensitive and not take others out of their comfort zone. When they need to know something, they will ask us, and the Holy Spirit will convince them of everything they need to be convinced. This is why I said that “we should be careful to not promote God’s cause too much,” or without using the colloquialism, we should not take upon ourselves the work of the Holy Spirit and try to accomplish the task that we are not equipped to do.

      (I will use your statement again) “God eventually brings about a change in a person,” because God is the only entity that may change person’s heart and convince them of the verity of spiritual values. It may happen that God convinces a person of the truth, yet the person resists to enter friendship with Him. In that state any suggestion about the need for God may cause stronger resistance or even anger. We certainly do not want this to happen, therefore it is better to refrain from actively guiding other people to friendship with God. God will never do it, therefore it is safer for us to not take upon ourselves the work of the Holy Spirit, than to overstep someone’s comfort zone and cause resistance, which is an obstacle that God will need to overcome.

      It may happen that a person you try to guide to God resists friendship with God. Please do not get discouraged, it may not be your fault. The Bible teaches that those who accept your guidance in fact accept God (Mt10:40), and those who do not accept your guidance in fact do not accept God (Jn7:7). If God is unable to convince people to become His friends, we should not feel guilty that they refuse to do what we would like them to do. It is not you who are at fault; the person who refuses God is (sadly) at fault. I would be very sorry if this is ever to be your experience.

      People may behave almost the same, but we do not necessarily know why they act in a particular way. A person may be very kind and not expect anything in return, and another person may want to earn trust of a rich person with the aim to robbing him. Another, more subtle case, a person may do good deeds to earn salvation, and another person may do good deeds because the salvation is his/her. It may seem to be a subtle difference, but the first person wants to pay for what the God of love offers free, which is prostitution, and the other person is in love with God. These subtle differences in motivation can only be conveyed when we have a chance to speak, you call it “share our testimonies of God’s love and grace and mercy.”

      Thanks for providing me with many concepts that I used to answer your query. If my answer is incomplete, please let me know.

      Hope the above will help you in sharing your need for God with the dear person in your life.

      • yirmegail says:

        Thank you Cezary for answering with thought and compassion.

        You have verified what I had quoted –
        1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
        1Co 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase

        I also feel that every situation or opportunity we are given in sharing our testimonies is different, and I agree, it needs to be done with sensitivity. I may have been in the situation where “promoting God’s cause” may have resulted in a person accepting Christ for all the wrong reasons. I continue to journey with this person in prayer; that the Holy Spirit continues to work within this person.

        I look forward in reading more of your articles and in sharing my thoughts,

        Thanks again,
        Blessings.

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