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

To return to Luke 12:10: is the refusal of forgiveness contained in it a condemnation to irrecoverable impenitence? Strange righteousness would be the decree that because a man has done wrong, he shall forever remain wrong! Do not tell me the condemnation is merely a leaving of the man to the consequences of his own will. God will not take shelter behind such a jugglery of logic or metaphysics. He is neither schoolman nor theologian, but our Father in heaven. He knows that that in him would be the same unforgiveness for which he refuses to forgive man.  This would be to say that Satan has overcome, and that Jesus has been less strong than the adversary, the destroyer. What then shall I say of such a doctrine of devils as that even if a man did repent, God would not or could not forgive him?

All sin is unpardonable. There is no compromise to be made with it. We shall not come out except clean, except having paid the uttermost farthing. But the special unpardonableness of the sins we are considering lies in their shutting out God. The man who denies truth, who resists duty, who says that which is good is of Satan, or that which is bad is of God, denies the Spirit, shuts out the Spirit; and without the Spirit to witness with his spirit, no man could know himself forgiven, even if God appeared to him and said so. The full forgiveness is when a man feels that God is forgiving him, and this cannot be while he opposes himself to the very essence of God’s will.

Commentary

by James House

I would like to expand on today's reading through the use of George MacDonald's own words extracted from "The Hope of The Gospel", primarily from the first lecture therein, "Salvation from Sin:"

“He is come to free us from everything that makes life less than bliss essential. No other could be a gospel worthy of the God of men.”

“To save a man from his sins, is to say to him, in sense perfect and eternal, 'Rise up and walk. Be at liberty in thy essential being. Be free as the son of God is free.' To do this for us, Jesus was born, and remains born to all the ages. When misery drives a man to call out to the source of his life,—and I take the increasing outcry against existence as a sign of the growth of the race toward a sense of the need of regeneration—the answer, I think, will come in a quickening of his conscience. This earnest of the promised deliverance may not, in all probability will not be what the man desires; he will want only to be rid of his suffering; but that he cannot have, save in being delivered from its essential root, a thing infinitely worse than any suffering it can produce. If he will not have that deliverance, he must keep his suffering. Through chastisement he will take at last the only way that leads into the liberty of that which is and must be. There can be no deliverance but to come out of his evil dream into the glory of God.”

“Not one soul will ever be redeemed from hell but by being saved from his sins, from the evil in him. If hell be needful to save him, hell will blaze, and the worm will writhe and bite, until he takes refuge in the will of the Father. 'Salvation from hell, is salvation as conceived by such to whom hell and not evil is the terror.' But if even for dread of hell a poor soul seek the Father, he will be heard of him in his terror, and, taught of him to seek the immeasurably greater gift, will in the greater receive the less.”

“Any honest soul may understand this much, however—for it is a thing we may of ourselves judge to be right—that the Lord cannot save a man from his sins while he holds to his sins. An omnipotence that could do and not do the same thing at the same moment, were an idea too absurd for mockery; an omnipotence that could at once make a man a free man, and leave him a self-degraded slave—make him the very likeness of God, and good only because he could not help being good, would be an idea of the same character—equally absurd, equally self-contradictory.”

“Son of our Father, help us to do what thou sayest, and so with thee die unto sin, that we may rise to the sonship for which we were created. Help us to repent even to the sending away of our sins.”