Sunday, November 06, 2005


As a child I lived in constant fear of committing the “Unpardonable Sin.” Every time I failed I prayed real hard that I had not crossed the line.

One kind friend told me, “If you are worried about having committed the unpardonable sin that means you have not.” Those words settled me down a bit because I stayed worried.

Later as an adult I became very secure in my relationship with God but I still probed around for the answer to what that sin is.

Matthew 12: 31,32
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

It said “all manner of sin” except speaking against the Holy Spirit. I had used the Lord’s name in vain—wasn’t that an act of “speaking against the Holy Spirit”?

The answer came so very clear. The terminal act of speaking against the Holy Spirit is to reject His drawing us to Jesus—the forgiving Savior.

I knew that was it.

The only sin God will not and cannot forgive is the sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit and not asking for forgiveness of our sins!

In a way, that means every sin that we do not ask God to forgive is an “unpardonable sin.”

The days of my youth would have been a lot less troubled had I known this then.

How magnificent God’s plan of salvation is!


"Why I am not a Christian" is the title of a book written by Bertrand Russell

"I would be a Christian if I had never met one," is a troubling statement of the great Gandhi.

These two indictments of my faith have demanded my attention and probed my deepest beliefs for many years. They have forced reevaluation-and reaffirmation-of what I believe and what shapes my life.

I have read some of Russell's book about why he is not a believer. He missed the point.

What I read was a clearly written critique of failures by the church and individuals. Some of them were gut-wrenching-but there was no failure of the Gospel. How foolish to think that pointing out the faults of people struggling toward the ideal somehow diminishes or discredits the Sent One, the Son of God.

I've studied Gandhi's life. In the formative years of his youth he lived in South Africa. He had a compelling quest in his heart to know God. Sadly, church leaders abused his spirit so profoundly he wanted nothing to do with Christianity.

Yet he cherished the principles the Bible teaches. Thus his statement, "I'd be a Christian if I had never met one."

Gandhi went to India and led a nation in countrywide resistance to oppression. The Biblical message of non-violence was the foundation of his movement.

The oppressor was vanquished in shame.

It has been harder for me to deal with Gandhi's statement than Russell's litany of human failures.

I must always deal with questions I hear in my own spirit.

"What if Ghandi had met me?"
"Are there others that have met me and decided not to be Christians?"
"Does my life encourage others to follow Jesus?"

Perhaps you'd like to join me in this prayer.

"Lord, please help me to never be the cause of another one to turn from you. Rather, help me to live the way and communicate the things that your Holy Spirit can use to draw people to you."