It Shall Not Be Forgiven

And whosever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven.

— Luke 12:10 

God is forgiving us every day, sending from between him and us our sins and their fogs and darkness. Witness the shining of his sun and the falling of his rain, the filling of their hearts with food and gladness, that he loves them that love him not. When some sin that we have committed has clouded all our horizon and hidden him from our eyes, he sweeps away a path for his forgiveness to reach our hearts, that it may by causing our repentance destroy the wrong, and make us able even to forgive ourselves. For some are too proud to forgive themselves, till the forgiveness of God has had its way with them, has drowned their pride in the tears of repentance and made their hearts come again like the heart of a little child.

Looking upon forgiveness, then, as the perfecting of a work ever going on, as the contact of God’s heart and ours, in spite and in destruction of the intervening wrong, we may say that God’s love is ever in front of his forgiveness. God’s love is perfect, working out the forgiveness. God loves where he cannot yet forgive—where forgiveness in the full sense is as yet simply impossible, because no contact of hearts is possible, because that which lies between has not even begun to yield to his holy destruction. 

Commentary 

by Jess Lederman

 The Bible, as a friend of mine said the other day, can get in the way of our turning to God and loving Him. Am I saying that there are flaws Scripture? Not at all--the fault is in ourselves, the finite, as we approach the Infinite. We do not expect it to be easy to understand quantum thermodynamics; why do we suppose the Word of God, of Him who transcends space and time, can easily be grasped? The Truth is often best revealed in ways that take us out of our normal patterns of thought--through story and poetry and parable, rather than through the recitation of facts. 

And sometimes, the Truth is revealed in words that upset us, challenge us, even shake our faith. God takes risks in the name of love, which of course is why he gave us free will. I suspect that we are meant to wrestle with certain texts, like Jacob wrestling with the angel. Will we give up in frustration, or press on and prevail? 

My friend, like many of us, wondered whether the words of Jesus in Luke 2:10 mean that anyone who has at any time, for any reason, cursed the Holy Spirit is thereby doomed. Many have lived, at least for a time, in fear that this might be true. This sermon series, It Shall Not Be Forgiven, reminds me why I am so grateful to George MacDonald. He takes on the job of wrestling with these difficult verses, and fights his way through to Truth. 

We use the Bible to understand the Bible. God is love and light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Given that, MacDonald deduces that the only unforgivable sin is the one we hold on to, the one of which we will not repent.  Truly, the Gospel is Good News!