The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Spirit blasphemy - unpardonable sin


Then they all went home, 8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”


I’m not sure you see the glaring hole in your logic… the Father’s unilateral forgiveness came FIRST thus precipitating the repentant response that THEN followed. Paul by the revelation of Christ understood this…

Rom 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?


Well, sure.
God’s goodness, forbearance and patience should not be despised (discounted).
Certainly God’s goodness leads us to repentance.
And once we repent, He forgives us!

Another “glaring hole” in “my” logic? I don’t think so. Rather “my” logic in both instances is impeccable.


An age is equivalent to a lifetime. Considering an average lifetime is between 50-75 years…“this age nor the age to come” would mean 100-150 years.


So Don, are you saying that Romans 2:4 says that his goodness, forbearance, and long suffering does not lead to repentance? In the beginning of the verse it says ‘Or you despise’ this is truly a commitment that Christ did these things in spite of their possible lack of understanding. :frowning_face:

The ‘Or do you despise’ is the rub… I would say the thing Christ did was beyond what any of them were ready to concede to, though for us it is a given… for the first century Jews it was life and death. The understanding of history and context is important in my view. :confused:


That verse doesn’t say that those three lead to repentance; it says that God’s GOODNESS leads to repentance. And I have already said that I believe His goodness does lead to repentance in my reply to Davo.

However, having said that, let me affirm that I have no problem at all including God’s forbearance and patience also working to lead us to repentance.


Indeed… and I understand that goodness to be forgiveness that aids repentance. It’s in the same league as reconciliation, i.e., an established reality, which once realised in repentance all many of blessing opens up. Jesus ministered forgiveness to many quite apart from any required repentance… His forgiveness being a gift.


But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Mt.6:15)

Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Matthew 6:14
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 That is how My Heavenly Father will treat each of you, unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Mark 11:26
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:12,14,15 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…

Luke 6:37,38 Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall …

Mt.21:31Which of the two did the will of the father?”

They say, “The first.”

Jesus says to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes go before you into the kingdom of God. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and you having seen, did not even repent afterward to believe him.

Lk.3:7 Then John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit worthy of repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; …


All good and important texts and certainly not contrary to what I’m saying.


How is it, in light of those texts, that you don’t have the cart before the horse?


Perhaps you can show how in your opinion I have. I’ve even specifically affirmed some of those texts you mentioned… it is Paidion who for example dismisses such as not pertinent because he renders forgiveness relative to what he considers “blunders” (his interpretation alone) believing this is grounds for not applying his rule of required repentance.


“His rule” also happens to be Jesus’ rule:
Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and IF he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17:3)

Oh yeah… I know. You think He is saying that if the brother happens to repent, forgive him. But if he doesn’t repent, forgive him anyway. But that is not what Jesus said. He didn’t say, “If your brother sins, forgive him.” He said, “If your brother sins, rebuke him.” Jesus indicated here that forgiveness is conditional upon repentance.

  1. The Greek word translated as “forgive” is “αφιημι.” In the verses quoted above, the word does not mean “forgive” in the sense that I was using the word; rather it means “pardon.” When you truly forgive a person, it is in response to his repentance, and you will have restored your relationship with that person. But you can pardon a person without his repentance, and your relationship with him will probably not be restored. For example, suppose you have a business, and one of your employees has stolen some money from your till. You confront him with it, but he denies it. He hasn’t repented (hasn’t had a change of heart and mind concerning what he has done), He doesn’t regret what he did in any way, but you decide to pardon him regardless of his attitude. You require nothing of him; you don’t demand that he repay the money or make restitution in any way. But the good relationship you previously had with him has not been restored regardless of your pardoning him.

In the New Testament, we need to differentiate between the use of the word “αφιημι” as “to forgive” and its use as “to pardon.”

  1. The word “αφιημι” is not limited to these two uses; it has MANY different meanings. If it always means “forgive,” then Matthew 4:11 would read:

Then the devil forgave Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

Indeed, consider all these meanings of “αφιημι” as given by the lexcon of the Onlne Bible Program:

  1. to send away
    1a) to bid going away or depart
    1a1) of a husband divorcing his wife
    1b) to send forth, yield up, to expire
    1c) to let go, let alone, let be
    1c1) to disregard
    1c2) to leave, not to discuss now, (a topic) 1c21) of teachers, writers and speakers
    1c3) to omit, neglect
    1d) to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit
    1e) to give up, keep no longer
  2. to permit, allow, not to hinder, to give up a thing to a person
  3. to leave, go way from one
    3a) in order to go to another place
    3b) to depart from any one
    3c) to depart from one and leave him to himself so that all mutual claims are abandoned
    3d) to desert wrongfully
    3e) to go away leaving something behind
    3f) to leave one by not taking him as a companion
    3g) to leave on dying, leave behind one
    3h) to leave so that what is left may remain, leave remaining
    3i) abandon, leave destitute


Oh yeah!? I didn’t say that either. Perhaps you DIDN’T read my post79 above where I CLEARLY state…

As can be seen… Jesus’ teaching from that text (Lk 17:3-4) is with regards to the brethren (NOT non-believers) and as such as He says if a brother repents it is incumbent upon the offended or aggrieved brother to forgive, period.

Again, in regards to BRETHREN this is indeed the case… I’ve never argued different — however, what you extrapolate from that is NOT verifiable, i.e., that God ALWAYS required of man in general repentance in order to imbibe of His favourable forgiveness.

Jesus said quite a number of times… “your sins are forgiven” without any mention of repentance in the texts — it was a gracious unmerited gift. Sometimes repentance was involved BUT the textual evidence shows this was not carte blanch.


Here I suspect that the term “brother” in context of the times referred to one’s fellow member of the Jewish race/religion. We have this habit of reading the Bible as though it were written directly to us in our time. It causes a lot of confusion.

I haven’t always, but I have come to believe Don is right about this GIVEN HIS DEFINITION OF REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS. Others will understand repentance and forgiveness in other ways. Perhaps these ways will be consistent with the original scriptures and perhaps not. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern exactly what the writer meant. However, if forgiveness requires the restoration of a loving, trusting relationship, then I can’t see how that can even happen without repentance. If every time I encounter someone, that person attacks me, how am I to have a loving, trusting relationship with him/her? What if the reason refuses to even see me? How can that bond be restored? I may offer forgiveness and beg the person to receive it but until he/she does, there is no relationship—not because I refuse it, but because the other person refuses it.


That’s a good realisation to come to Cindy.

That’s just it though… forgiveness isn’t required to be defined solely as… “the restoration of a loving, trusting relationship” — no one BEFORE coming to faith in Christ could ever claim to have been in such a thing Him — unless there’s something I don’t know… always possible.

Perhaps such is impossible so you never will, BUT THAT in no way stops you from forgiving them fully from your heart… THAT is within your purview to freely give. Some might choose to minimise your gracious forgiveness as being a mere pardon or whatever but not true forgiveness… but such an attitude probably only reflects on them.


That’s just the thing, though. As far as I can understand, this is an argument about words, while we all seem to substantially agree with the same truth. Letting go of hurt and not making a record of wrongs nor holding them against our fellow creatures, and loving one another is what we’re to do on our end. Relationships must be mutual, however, and without willingness from both parties, cannot be restored. Aside from difficulties in communication, does it matter which words the other uses to mean the same thing?

Don has some important things to say, and he works to communicate them by making a distinction between “forgiveness” (which, for him, must be received with repentance of the wrong done in order to “complete the circuit” so to speak) and “pardon.” For him, pardon seems to mean what you mean by the word “forgiveness.”

Maybe you’re young enough not to remember, but it hasn’t been so very long ago that women were expected to “forgive” their wayward and abusive husbands and continue in the relationship, repeatedly forgiving, forgiving, forgiving an unrepentant and abusive overlord. By forgiveness, it was meant that she would remain in the relationship and submit to the abuse patiently. I remember one young woman coming to our (very large, prominent) church with a broken arm and bruises on her face. The pastor publicly praised her faithfulness and forgiveness and longsuffering and assured her that her meek and obedient spirit toward her husband would be rewarded when he was saved. As far as I know, that never happened. I hope he didn’t eventually kill her.

This is one reason some folks hesitate to use just the one word: forgive: for all things related to refusing to hold offenses against the offender. Don is (if I understand him sufficiently) trying to say something more complex than can be said using only the word “forgiveness” to apply to both the case of the unrepentant and the repentant offender. The abused wife can still hold her husband in her heart and love and let go of his wrongs whilst living in a safe place and keeping herself out of the abusive situation. That is to say, she is not in an active relationship with her husband though she is not holding his abuse against him. Back in “the day,” such a woman might have been accused of not forgiving her husband and being at odds with the commands of God. That, I think we can all agree today, would be unfair to her in the extreme, yet I have seen it done.

I really do see Don’s point (though I’m sure I see it through my own lens) and his need to have distinct words to apply to two very different situations. And I don’t think that, at the heart level, we disagree much at all—any of us.




Wouldn’t that be the case with the both the unrepentant who (1) blaspheme the Holy Spirit and also those (2) unrepentant who have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit? Thus there is no difference between the two, since both are not pardoned. Yet Christ makes a difference between the two, saying group (1) shall not be pardoned, but group (2) shall be pardoned.

Secondly, is it correct or incorrect that blaspheming the Holy Spirit just once is a sin that is not pardoned according to:

“From these passages, if their intended meaning is to be understood from their surface meaning, if a person says something bad about the Father, he can be forgiven, and if he says something bad about Jesus, he can be forgiven, but if he says something bad against the Holy Spirit (and “blasphemes” and “speaks against” always appears in the aorist–so if he says something bad even once), he can never be forgiven.”

So it would not need to be an ongoing practice of continually blaspheming the Holy Spirit, but merely a one time occurence of doing so that results in one not being pardoned?

Is this comment on the mark:

“It is also interesting to note that Mark says “never has forgiveness” which in the Greek is in the “present indicative tense.” This is similar to the intent of Jesus’ words in Jn 3:18 where “he who does not believe is condemned already” – rendering the person who being in a position of continued unbelief or in this instance, constant blasphemy, as not being able to change as long as that position was being held. This thought is further strengthened as blasphemes being in the “aorist tense” means the action as having occurred at some juncture, and being in the “subjunctive mood” meaning the possibility of it reoccurring i.e., as long as they remained in that condition of heart such an action was still possible.”


It sounds to me like you just refuted universalism.