First, it is NOT the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Some also call this the unforgivable sin (Mark 3:29). It is the sin the Pharisees were accused of breaking when they accused Jesus of delivering a man from a demon through the power of the Evil One and not the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:22-32).
The problem is always context. No one speaks anywhere about sinning against the Spirit. He speaks of sin in very general terms – as being against God.
Second, it is NOT a moral sin.
Catholics have come up with two categories of sin: venial sins (or lesser sins) and moral sins (sins that the Bible say bring about death). The most notable sins that the Law says brings death are murder and adultery (Leviticus 20; Numbers 18). And the O.T. Law does make a distinction between sins committed willfully and sins committed in ignorance (Leviticus 4-5; Numbers 15).
Here’s the problem: all unrighteousness is sin (I John 5”17). Minor sins are not somehow more tolerable than other sins. All sins lead to death – the curse brought on from Eden. Plus, what do we do with murderers like Paul or adulterers like David?
Finally, the sin which leads to death IS denying Christ as Lord or rejecting the Gospel.
This view makes the most sense, because at the end of life, we are not measured by how much robbing we did (e.g., the thief on the cross) or how many Christians we killed (e.g., Saul before he was converted), we are gauged by our acceptance or rejection of Christ.
In his Gospel, John wrote, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18). The sin that leads to the ultimate of spiritual deaths has to be our rejection of Jesus Christ.
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Credits: Music, and alt. and additional words – Doug Plank
Original verses – Augustus Toplady (1772)
Now why this fear and unbelief?
Has not the Father put to grief His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Now canceled at the cross?
Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us
Through Your great love
Complete atonement You have made
And by Your death have fully paid
The debt Your people owed
No wrath remains for us to face
We’re sheltered by Your saving grace
And sprinkled with Your blood
How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me
Be still my soul and know this peace
The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood
Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free
“There are certain things which have to be said over and over again, of necessity, and yet this is the marvel and the wonder of the cross, that however many times a man may preach about it, he has never finished preaching about it. There is always something fresh to say, always something new. There is a great central message that is always there, but nothing is so wonderful as to see that one thing in different ways. … During these twenty-six years in my Westminster pulpit there have been times when in my utter folly I have wondered, or the devil has suggested to me, that there is nothing more for me to say, that I have preached it all. I thank God that I can now say that I feel I am only at the beginning of it. There is no end to this glorious message of the cross, for there is always something new and fresh and entrancing and moving and uplifting that one has never seen before.”
Martyn Lloyd Jones, The Cross: God’s Way of Salvation
You can be the most influential, powerful, rich, handsome or beautiful person in the world and still be miserable. Success does not breed or equal godliness.
A modern day example of this is New England quarterback Tom Brady.
After being drafted in the 6th round of the NFL Draft and sitting out his first season, Brady has taken his Patriots to six Super Bowls, which is the most of any NFL quarterback in history. Four of those Super Bowls the Patriots have won. Brady has won two league MVP awards, been to eleven Pro Bowls and helped the Patriots win more division titles than any other team in history.
Oh, and he has also won more playoff games (twenty-two) than any other quarterback in history.
In short, Brady is a one of the greatest quarterbacks in history.
But not too long after he won his 3rd Super Bowl Title in 2004, Brady was interviewed by Steve Kroft of CBS News. One of the questions Brady was asked was this – “This whole experience – this whole upward trajectory– what have you learned about yourself? What kind of an effect does it have on you?”
Listen to this surprising answer given by Brady – “Well, I put incredible amounts of pressure on me. When you feel like you’re ultimately responsible for everyone and everything, even though you have no control over it, and you still blame yourself if things don’t go right — I mean, there’s a lot of pressure. A lot of times I think I get very frustrated and introverted, and there’s times where I’m not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me?”
Kroft then asked Brady what else there is and all Brady could come up with is family, friends and football.
Just because you achieve the kind of success that Brady has does not guarantee you will ever be fulfilled in life. What is clearly missing from Brady’s life is a genuine contentment in God’s work for his life. And ultimately, unless I have missed something, what is missing from his life is Jesus Christ.
Listen, you won’t find complete and total satisfaction in anything of this world. Not your career. Not your toys. Not entertainment. Not your favorite sports team. Not your children. Not your spouse. Nothing compares to the satisfaction that can only be found in communing with the Creator.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:11).
The OU/Texas Tech football game this weekend was a game to remember, but not necessarily for good reasons. If you haven’t heard or didn’t see the game, the following data will summarize what kind of football contest it was:
- 1,708 – the most combined yards in a NCAA football game (including all divisions and all levels)
- 1,383 – the most total yards by two players (OU quarterback Baker Mayfield and Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes)
- 1,279 – the most combined passing yards in a NCAA game
- 819 – most total yards by a single player (Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes)
- 11.2 – average yards per play (an OU record)
I don’t even remember if either team punted. I felt sorry for the scoreboard operator who must have felt like his finger was constantly pushing a score update button. I wondered how many extra calories the “1st down marker” guys got running back and forth as the teams went up and down the field.
The final score was 66-59. If you are a fan of offense, you may have felt like Christmas came early. But if you love defense or just good football, you would have either been bored (as I was), upset at the lack of defense, or embarrassed to call yourself a fan of either team.
In short, the game was a debacle.
The “scoring at will” reminds me of what it’s like to be unable to have victory over sin. I say unable, because the unbeliever may accomplish good things, but he is still in bondage to sin (John 8:34; Rom 7:24; II Tim 2:26). He “sins at will.”
Watching this football game and expecting each team to score every time it has the ball is a lot like seeing an unbeliever and expecting them to choose to dishonor God. I am not surprised by the immoral behavior of those who aren’t Christians. I am not shocked when someone who doesn’t believe in God supports abortion or the homosexual agenda. Those individuals will not seek to live their lives for the glory of God (I Cor 10:31).
The good news is that no one has to live such a lifestyle. No one must remain in bondage to sin. No one needs to live a life where others expect them to waste is making immoral decisions that displease God. No one has to “sin at will.”
Jesus Christ is the Great Deliverer who cancels the power of sin and death (Rom 8:3-4).
If you are a reader of this blog and choose sin more often than not, it could be that you haven’t acknowledged Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Perhaps you haven’t repented of sin, trusted in Christ’s life and death as perfect atoning for your sins, and pledged your life to follow Him.
If you haven’t come to Jesus in this manner, today is the day to end a hopeless, doomed life without Christ. Today is the day of salvation (II Cor 6:2).
Kevin DeYoung’s upcoming animated short story, entitled The Biggest Story, has a 1-minute trailer I encourage you to watch (especially with your kids). This has received some pretty good reviews so far and I am anxious to see it.