Again I have been worrying about the possibility of my having committed a sin which I can never be forgiven of. In Matthew 12 beside using the word "blasphemy," it uses "speaks against" as well. If a person speaks anything bad about God, how can they be forgiven? What if there really is a sin that can't be forgiven? I have read II Peter 3:9 and I John 1:9. What if there is an exception? If the former won't repent of the sin, why then does it not read instead "anyone who does not repent will not be forgiven?" Doesn't Jesus say what he means? I want to know if I can really be forgiven of the foolish things I said when I was young and never worry about this ever again. I have prayed. Worrying is a problem I have.
Let's go back over what we have already established:
- "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). God's desire is to save all people -- you are not excluded from that list. There is no hidden exception -- not without contradicting this verse -- and God doesn't contradict Himself.
- "If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death" (I John 5:16-17). Some sins are not forgiven, others are. Some sins will so inevitably lead to death that we are told not to bother praying about those. Since repentance from sins is what God wants, then the obvious conclusion is that there are some sins from which people choose not to repent.
- "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6). This verse is often misread, but it is directed to those of us who try to rescue people from sin. There are limited ways to bring a person to God and if a person knows the truth and chooses to leave anyway, there isn't anything more I or others can do to convince him to come back. He has to make his own choice.
- "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation" (Mark 3:28-29). What Jesus states is that there is one category of sin that doesn't get forgiven -- blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He doesn't state why here, just the fact that forgiveness isn't obtained. What you and numerous other people do is assume that it is because God refuses to forgive, but in holding that position you are contradicting II Peter 3:9. The lack of forgiveness must be either because of God or because of man. God states that He wants to forgive all men, if they will come to repentance. Therefore, since the problem isn't on God part, it must be on man's part. It has to be that man doesn't repent of this particular sin. Jesus didn't say, "anyone who does not repent will not be forgiven" because that implies an "if." Jesus' point is that people who do this sin don't regret it and so don't repent and ask for forgiveness. Other sins can lead to death (a lack of repentance), but this one particular sin always leads to death because to do this sin you have to have the mind-set that you will never turn back.
You stare at Matthew 12, looking for subtle nuances, without considering the other accounts. You need to take the Scriptures as a whole to get a good idea of what is being talked about. "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" (Matthew 12:31-32). "And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven" (Luke 12:10). I pointed out Mark's version because it makes it clear that the way you are trying to read what Jesus said is incorrect. Jesus doesn't say why a person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit doesn't obtain forgiveness, so you must be careful not to make an assumption that leads to contradictions to other passages in the Bible.
You've built this huge fear out of "might be," "could be," and "what if." It isn't built on what God said, but fears of what you might possibly have missed. You've allowed your fears to so dominate your thoughts that they are more real to you than what God actually did say.
The real problem that you are having is not with forgiveness, it is with worry. Worry is an unproductive emotion because nothing changes and nothing gets done. You really need to understand that God doesn't think like you or I do. He is the one who decides who is forgiven and He stated that it is based on repentance.
"Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts"" (Isaiah 55:6-9).
God is not like a man. He doesn't hold grudges. He isn't inconsistent. He isn't out to trap people in hell. The real problem is that you don't trust God to keep His word.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
Stop worrying. Start living.
Thanks for your answer.
I have worried off and on. Sometimes I have worried about the possibility of being unforgiven and sometimes I don't and stop worrying about it. Today I was not so worried about it as I have been in the past. Hopefully this worry will not come back. The thought of everlasting torment is scary. Thanks for your answer. I shouldn't worry so much, it doesn't help.