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What do you mean. . . "The Unpardonable Sin"?

Can a Christian commit a SIN, AND STILL BE A CHRISTIAN?
Or would this be "the unpardonable sin"?
Or would it prove he never was a Christian?
Thousands worry, because they do not UNDERSTAND what IS the sin that shall never be forgiven.


NOT SO LONG AGO, a professing Christian — a prominent churchman, of what denomination I never knew — was murdered for allegedly committing adultery. Many said, "That man was no Christian! No real Christian could ever commit adultery."

I never knew the man. I merely read of it in the newspapers. It is not for me to judge whether he had ever been really a Christian — or, for that matter, whether he was guilty of the alleged adultery.

But, as a hypothetical case, what if a professing Christian did commit adultery? Would that prove he never was a Christian? Or, suppose he had been a genuinely converted man, utterly sincere in his Christian life, and that he did commit the adultery. Could he still be a really converted Christian after committing the adultery? — or was the adultery, under those circumstances, "the unpardonable sin" ? Would God forgive, on repentance?

THAT question, I can answer!


Many Worry

Many have come to me, worried, and said: "I'm afraid I have committed the unpardonable sin."

I have replied, "You probably haven't."

But they will persist, "Yes, but I consented, in my mind, to commit that sin. Sure I was tempted — and I tried to resist it in my mind, but the more I resisted, the more I wanted to do it — until, finally, I just gave in, and consented in my mind, to do it. I did it knowingly. Wasn't that sinning willfully? Wasn't that the unpardonable sin?”

LET'S UNDERSTAND what is meant by" sinning willfully," and by what is called "the unpardonable sin."


Many Deceived

Jesus Christ spoke of a certain special kind of SIN — popularly called "the unpardonable sin" — which "shall NOT be forgiven . . . neither in this world, neither in the world to come" (Mat. 12:31-32).

Is this sin committed only by converted Christians — or also by non-Christians?

Is every sin committed by a converted Christian unpardonable? Or can a Christian commit a sin, repent, be forgiven, and still remain a Christian?

First, we need to UNDERSTAND, more clearly than most do, what constitutes a Christian in God's sight — according to the BIBLE. I want to make PLAIN some factors you probably have never understood!

The Bible teaching does not altogether agree with the dictionary definition, nor with the popular idea that has gained general acceptance in the so-called Christian world.

Webster's Dictionary defines a Christian as: "One who believes, or professes or is assumed to believe, in Jesus Christ, and the truth taught by Him."

The BIBLE replies: "Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).

Today most professing Christians — and most of the cheap "tracts" passed out indiscriminately, purporting to show "sinners" how to "get saved" — how to become a Christian — quote one verse, Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Notice, this passage does NOT say, as they appear to ASSUME, "Believe . . . and then thou ART ALREADY saved." It says "shall be" (FUTURE tense) saved. Assuredly this believing on Christ is necessary, yet other Biblical passages make plain that this IS NOT ALL that constitutes "being saved."


BELIEVERS Seek to Kill Jesus

In John 7:31, it is recorded: "And many of the people believed on Him . . ." But were they really Christians? Notice, beginning John 8:30: "As He spake these words, many believed on Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on Him, 'IF ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed. . . .' " But they did not actually BELIEVE HIM ! They believed ON HIM — that He was a great teacher, as a man — they believed on the PERSON — like millions today. But they did not BELIEVE Him — did not believe what He said — His Message —His Gospel. To these same people, who "believed on Him," Jesus said, just a few verses farther on, ". . . but ye seek to kill me, because MY WORD hath no place in you . . . But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God . . . and if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?" (John 8: 31-46)

They "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ," just as these cheap tracts tell "sinners" to do to "be saved." Yet they tried to KILL the very Savior they "BELIEVED ON." And they DID NOT BELIEVE HIM — did not believe what He said.

There is a DIFFERENCE between "believing ON Christ," and BELIEVING CHRIST! SO here are two TRUTHS:

1) It may be hard to accept, but it's TRUE — millions who believe they are Christians actually are still unconverted, deceived, having accepted a false conversion!

2) MANY who, judged by this world's more popular "Christian" teachings, appear NOT to be Christians ARE, in actual fact, truly converted Christians IN GOD'S SIGHT!


Just What IS a "Christian"?

What, then, is a true "conversion”? WHAT constitutes a real Christian in the sight of God?

The WAY to become a Christian was given, in few words, on the very day that the New Testament Church of God began, by the apostle Peter. There were three steps. The first two, we humans must do. These do not "save" us, or make us Christians — they are merely required conditions. The third, GOD does.

They are, 1) REPENT, 2) be baptized (which is the outward action testifying to inward FAITH in Christ as Savior — Acts 8:36-37), and 3) you shall receive THE GIFT of the HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 2:38).

Now consider one additional Scripture: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have NOT the Spirit of Christ, HE Is NONE OF HIS" (Rom. 8:9).

A Christian, then, (BIBLE DEFINITION) is one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells! The next (10th) verse speaks of the Holy Spirit of God dwelling IN you as CHRIST being in you — in this language: "And if Christ be in you . . ."

And the following (11th) shows how this will "save" — that is, give you the GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE — Complete "salvation" — when it says: "But IF the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."

This passage shows that the final SALVATION means being GIVEN ETERNAL LIFE at the time of, and through the resurrection. It says, of that final GIFT of being made IMMORTAL, "He . . . shall also" (AS He raised Christ by a resurrection) — and note that it is future tense — "quicken your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT which dwelleth in you."

Notice carefully! It is the Holy Spirit of God "dwelling in you" at the time of the resurrection. Or, more specifically, at the end of this mortal life. IF the Holy Spirit of God is "dwelling in you" at that time, which is the time of the second coming of Christ, (or at the time of your death, whichever comes first), THEN your mortal body will be resurrected, or CHANGED, to an immortal body — given ETERNAL life.

As long as the Holy Spirit of God dwells IN YOU, you are Christ's — that 1S, you ARE A CHRISTIAN. But (verse 9 of Romans 8, quoted above), "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" — he is NOT a Christian.

A Christian, then, in GOD'S terms, is one who has, at the moment, God's HOLY SPIRIT dwelling in him.

BEFORE this change has taken place, he is NONE OF HIS — not a Christian. IF the Holy Spirit no longer dwells in him, then he is no longer a Christian. He is a Christian while, and only while, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in him.


Millions Deceived Into False "Salvation"

Millions may profess to be Christians, but unless God's Holy Spirit, given as HIS GIFT by GRACE, is, at the moment, dwelling in them, they are NOT CHRISTIANS.

Millions may have their names written in Church membership books, and still be "NONE OF HIs" — not really CHRISTIANS at all! And millions are so deceived!

So UNDERSTAND THIS! A person is a Christian — in God's sight — ONLY while God's Holy Spirit is dwelling IN him. Not before! Not after!


Must Bear "Fruit"

Next, to UNDERSTAND, it is important you realize that God's Spirit will not remain dormant within you. You can't put a cork over it and bottle it up. The Scriptures above quoted speak of His Spirit as "dwelling" in you — and, with many other Scriptures, as "CHRIST dwelling [in Spirit, not in actual Person) in you." But the living Christ is alive, active, not lifeless or dormant.

In John 7:37-39 Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as "rivers of living water," flowing into us from Him, and then flowing out of us, in fulfilling God's Law. God's Spirit is God's LOVE — "the LOVE of God shed abroad in our hearts BY the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 5:5). God's Law is a SPIRITUAL Law (Rom. 7:14), and requires the spiritual LOVE we can receive only from God to fulfill — for LOVE is the fulfilling of the Law (Rom. 13:8, 10). Your own human (carnal) love cannot properly fulfill God's spiritual Law! And remember, God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to "them that OBEY Him" (Acts 5:32).

Now a flowing RIVER flows down a riverbed — and God's "riverbed" down which the "living water" of His Spirit flows out from us is HIS LAW, In other words, God's Spirit flows out of us by fulfilling God's Law.

In the 15th chapter of John, Jesus makes this PLAIN! We are compared to the branches on a vine — say, a grapevine. As the sap flows from the vine into the branches, producing FRUIT, so God's Spirit flows from the living Christ into us, producing the "WORKS" Of RIGHTEOUSNESS — that is, fulfilling God's LAW. But this kind of "works" is not our "works" — for that (God's Spirit — God's LOVE) which PRODUCES this fruit of righteousness comes from GOD by His GRACE, freely given. THIS IS NOT OUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS — it is not OUR "works" at all — it is GOD'S righteousness given by His grace, through His Spirit!

Now is this God-given righteousness required for salvation?

Notice this illustration of Jesus, in the 15th chapter of John.

Jesus says "I am the Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman" — that is, the owner and cultivator of the vineyard (John 15:1). Next verse: "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away." Further, "He that abideth in me, and I in him" (Christ abiding, or dwelling IN you through the Holy Spirit) "the same bringeth forth much fruit . . . If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (verses 5, 6).

In other words, the fruit of God's righteousness MUST be produced in the Christian life. And what is "righteousness" ? God says, "All thy Commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119: 172). This does not necessarily mean God will cut you off immediately, the first day or week or month you might let go by without producing active and positive fruit. There is, however, a limit somewhere along life's way where, unless you are definitely GROWING spiritually, that God's Spirit will no longer "dwell in you," and if you let that time come, you shall, like a dead grape branch, be ultimately cast into the final "gehenna fire."

But be sure of this: It is a DANGEROUS thing for a truly converted Christian to grow lukewarm and careless, and become a "passive" Christian. Perhaps most have temporary lapses in spiritual progress. But as soon as you "wake up" to such a lapse, repent immediately and seek God with your whole heart, for a CLOSER, more active spiritual walk with Him.