Do you sometimes feel that as you were going through life, you made some mistakes or bad choices, and that it is so hard to get on the right path that you just might as well throw the towel in? Let me tell you, as I read the Scriptures, as I observe the power of Jesus in other people’s lives and especially as I have experienced the power of Jesus in my life……..there is great hope….you have only to embrace it. I ponder sometimes why people put so much effort, physical and emotional, into their life trying to DO IT ON THEIR OWN, when…if that same effort were applied to their relationship with Jesus….they would recognize and find the fulfillment they were looking for!
God is remarkably gracious and sometimes people just don’t realize it! God can and will forgive anything in our life if we ask for that forgiveness and try to do things the right way. Jesus does not always give a get out of jail free card (meaning that we may also suffer some of the real world consequences of our wrong), but what He does is say, “stay with me, we’ll go through this together and I can make all this muck good!”.
Interestingly enough, when I said above that Jesus can forgive anything in your life……some of you said, “Wait! Hold on…..there is one sin that can’t be forgiven…it’s in the Bible…it’s called blasphemy of the Holy Spirit!”. Well, let me tell you, out of context, many have misunderstood that passage because they did not look closely at the context! Let’s look first at the Scripture, Jesus is speaking, then let me explain:
Mark 3:28-30 (TNIV)
28 Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven all their sins and all the blasphemies they utter. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”
30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”
Look closely at verse 28. Jesus makes this incredible promise that, “People will be forgiven all their sins and all the blasphemies they utter.” The key here is that as we accept and live in relationship with Jesus; when we recognize the sin in our lives and confess it to Jesus; when we turn away from that sin and seek to do it no more, then NO sin is unpardonable!
Now that I have you thoroughly confused (because you read the next verse, verse 29), let me open up the context: Jesus next says, “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” Now I hear what you are saying as you read this, “Okay Pastor Jan, you can’t have your cake and eat it too!”
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit does not refer to a single action…it refers to an attitude. Let me share just a touch more context here…..in the days and weeks before Jesus says this, He is being dogged by the religious authorities who are seeking to show that he is not the promised Messiah. Jesus is performing great healings in people’s lives, great miracles and healings that just can’t be denied in the reality of the day….yet these people do everything they can to deny what is happening! They, in fact, accuse Jesus of harnessing Satan’s power to perform these healings! Like Satan really wants to heal people of their suffering…no, dummy, He wants to inflict more suffering! The Bible makes that clear. Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah, God in the flesh!
Those who deny Jesus’ power in this world and in the lives of people, and persistently refuse to believe that he is the Messiah are blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The key is this: In their persistent denial of Jesus in their lives, they ARE NOT doing what God’s forgiveness requires. They are not seeking a relationship with Jesus, they are not confessing their unbelieving attitude to Jesus (because they don’t believe in Him, HELLO) and they are so doggedly denying Jesus that they obviously are not turning away from their attitude (turning away from their attitude is called repentance).
How often do we see and experience Jesus working in our lives and chalk it up to “coincidence”? At what point do we start to see that there just aren’t that many coincidences in this life, they are “God-incidences”. If we persistently deny that the power of Jesus to heal people’s lives is instead some other power……then we need to be aware that we are on shaky ground…this is exactly what Jesus was talking about!
The key is this……Jesus says that those who deny His power (the power of God) can’t be forgiven……..simply because they will never ask and indeed refuse to ask for forgiveness. Excuse me for sounding facetious here, but….”DUH” !
It would be a pretty bad state of being if God kept track of our offenses. Jesus paid for our sins. When you ask for forgiveness, you are asking Jesus to do what He loves doing the most……forgiving and seeing you start on the right path. By the cross…….meaning that Jesus died for your sins…..you are fully forgiven!